Rhodiola: Main Image © Martin Wall

How It Works

Rhodiola contains a number of potentially active compounds, including phenylpropanoids (rosavin, rosin, rosarin),; phenylethanol derivatives (salidroside [also known as rhodioloside], tyrosol); flavonoids (rodiolin, rodionin, rodiosin, acetylrodalgin, tricin); monoterpenes (rosiridol, rosaridin); triterpenes (daucosterol, beta-sitosterol); and phenolic acids (chlorogenic, hydroxycinnamic, and gallic acids). The presence of rosavin distinguishes the species R. rosea from other rhodiolas, and many products are standardized to rosavin content to ensure that they contain the proper species.

There are numerous animal and test tube studies showing that rhodiola has both a stimulating and a sedating effect on the central nervous system (depending on intake amount); enhances physical endurance; improves thyroid, thymus, and adrenal function; protects the nervous system, heart, and liver; and has antioxidant and anticancer properties.2

How to Use It

Rhodiola has a more stimulating effect at lower amounts, and a more sedating effect at higher amounts. In medical treatment, the usual amounts taken are 200 to 600 mg per day of a standardized extract to at least 3% rosavins and 0.8 to 1% salidroside.3 The nonstandardized amount would be 1 gram three times daily of the root, the amount for the alcoholic extract (40% alcohol) is 5 to 40 drops two to three times per day (with a weight to volume ratio of 1:1 to 1:5 ). Rhodiola is usually taken before meals.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.