Rhodiola Rosea - What Is It? Benefits, Facts, Consumption and Tips

Rhodiola Rosea -  What Is It? Benefits, Facts, Consumption and Tips
  • Name: Rhodiola Rosea
  • Also known as: Arctic root, golden root, Aaron’s rod, rose root, kings’s crown
  • In use since: 77 AD
  • What is it? A perennial herb that grows in cold, mountainous regions
  • What does it claim to do? Reduce stress-related effects
  • Is there research to support these claims? Yes, there is a lot of clinical research, but there is no definitive consensus on the matter. Our research has shown the extract to be a powerful stimulant and neurological booster for those with anxiety and stress.


The Rhodiola Rosea Root is a member of the Crassulaceae family, which can be found almost all around the globe. This plant family is characterized by succulent leaves and their medicinal healing powers. The Rhodiola Rosea Root itself is a perennial flowering plant which thrives in the wild nature of the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. Hence two of its many nicknames ‘Arctic root’ and ‘hóng jǐng tiān’.

Most people know the plant as a decorative succulent, but have forgotten that for generations the root was actually used in Eurasian traditional medicine to treat anxiety and depression. While the leaves and roots used to be eaten raw or cooked, nowadays mostly only the root’s extracts are consumed.

Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract is also available and is a more pontent form of the substance. Extract contains the most potent components of Rhodiola Rosea and is easily absorbed by the body. It also means we can control the precise potency. This article will further discuss its possible health benefits.

Rhodiola Rosea in medicine

Numerous cultures have used Rhodiola Rosea in medicine, especially in the countries where it grows and where there has been close trade.

For example, the Vikings would drink horn cups of Rhodiola Rosea before raids and in Greenland today, the Inuit people mix the leaves of Rhodiola Rosea with whale blubber for a vitamin boost. They know the power of Rhodiola Rosea, and because of its significant effects, the Inuit people have passed their knowledge of it down for generations.

Elsewhere, Russia, Scandinavia, Sweden, and Iceland are known to have used Rhodiola Rosea in medicine for at least several thousand years, and in Chinese culture it is considered to be one of the best natural adaptogens.

Today, Rhodiola Rosea is used all over the world to treat stress. The internet has made consumers more informed than ever and people’s research into the best natural remedies for stress and mental fatigue always brings them to Rhodiola Rosea. This is because overall, it has a very positive reputation and is published in several journals.

Rhodiola Rosea history

Our records show that Rhodiola Rosea has been used medicinally since 77 AD. We know this because the Greek physician, Dioscorides, recorded it in his research as ‘Rodia Riza’. It’s part of the work ‘De Materia Medica’.

The name Rhodiola Rosea is a more modern name, given to the herb by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, who renamed it Rhodiola Rosea in 1749, some 1,672 years later. This was to better reflect the herb’s rose-like fragrance.

The traditional use of Rhodiola Rosea involves mashing up the root with water and eating it in small quantities as a paste. The modern scientific method is to extract the potent elements of Rhodiola Rosea. This is the technique Smart Complex uses. To obtain the same effect by consuming the whole herb, one would have to eat a lot of root.

What does Rhodiola Rosea do? †

In Eurasian traditional medicine the root’s extract, which is referred to as Aaron’s rod, has long been employed as a natural tonic. Natural tonics like this one are also known as adaptogens in medicinal terms. Adaptogens – consisting of a select group of herbs - focus their healing powers on the body’s physical, chemical or biological needs. The term ‘adaptogens’ is therefore derived from the verb ‘to adapt’. The natural substance increases the body’s resistance to stress – or as the term suggests: it helps the body ‘adapt’ to stress in non-specific ways.

The effects of taking Rhodiola Rosea are felt within just a few hours. These effects have a positive impact on tackling feelings of fatigue and burnout brought on by stress and anxiety.

In terms of ‘sensation’, taking Rhodiola Rosea doesn’t make you feel any different to normal. But the effects on fatigue and burnout are clear - Rhodiola Rosea reduces these to a great extent. We know this from clinical studies (those involving real people and not a lab), which show that Rhodiola Rosea improves the symptoms of stress, fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety within just a few hours of ingestion.

What are the benefits of Rhodiola Rosea? †

1. Decreases stress

Early studies on the health benefits of the R. Rosea root were poorly controlled and generalized claims. However, these studies have aroused the curiosity of many researchers. The results of new studies show significant improvements in symptoms of stress, such as fatigue and anxiety, in a matter of days.

You can consult some of these studies via the links below:

2. Fights mental fatigue

Not only studies on stress have mentioned the root’s health benefits, researchers also studied how the root’s extract helps alleviate stress-related fatigue. Studies as such show that Rhodiola Rosea root has a positive effect on symptoms of fatigue and stress, as well as on overall mood, attention and concentration.

You can consult some of these studies via the links below:

3. Treats depression and reduces anxiety

Depression and anxiety both negatively affect a person’s thoughts and feelings. These negative effects are caused by an imbalance of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Although a natural substance such as R. Rosea root won’t be able to fully treat severe cases of depression or anxiety, certain studies have shown some promising results in treating mild cases of these illnesses.

You can consult some of these studies via the links below:

4. Boosts brain function and increases cognitive performance

A study, performed in 200, found that Rhodiola Rosea boosted the brain function of practicing physicians and reduced fatigue. Another study, performed 3 years later in 2003, found that Army Cadets experienced the same benefits as the physicians in the earlier study.

Another study performed in 2000, found that the Rhodiola Rosea extract reduced student’s feelings of fatigue during their exams.

You can consult these studies via the links below:

5. It works quickly

If you read the 2017 study mentioned above, you will note that the positive effects on fatigue symptoms were observed within just 1 week. Furthermore, if you read the 2012 study mentioned previously under ‘reduces stress’, you will note that the positive effects on stress were observed after just 3 days of treatment. Whether taken in high or low doses, there are clinical studies that demonstrate Rhodiola Rosea extract to be a powerful remedy.

Tips on how to dose and use the root’s extract

This rose-smelling root’s extract is best to be consumed on an empty stomach, in a dose of 400-600 mg per day. Of course, optimal dosage depends on the individual taking the extract. When the root’s extract is intended to be consumed for other reasons than improving overall health, different dosages will be recommended depending on the intended purpose. It is best to then consult a professional health specialist, such as a certified doctor.

The extract can be consumed in the form of capsules, dried powder, liquid extract and tablets. Due to its slightly stimulatory effects, the extract is best not be consumed right before bedtime but rather during the day to enhance physical performance, attention and overall mood.

Because this product has a natural origin, being a herb, it is regulated as food by the United States and Drug Administration (FDA).

Risks and side effects

Most studies on the use of R. Rosea agree on the side effects being mild. However, they may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems (see tip on use)
  • Dry mouth
  • Jitteriness

    When experiencing side effects, or when consuming the extract while having a disease or illness, please consult a doctor of pharmacist.

    Links to studies and claims

      Warning and footnotes

      † This claim has not been evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A food supplement is not a substitute for food. A varied and balanced diet is important. EU legislation prohibits the advertising of food supplements (or their ingredients) in their advertisements unless such claims have been approved by the European Commission. Our website provides only general information that should not influence the reader's decision to buy and/or use food supplements. If you have a specific disease or are taking additional medication or supplements, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new supplements. The information in this article is not the author's personal opinion. This information is not intended to advertise foods or supplements. This information should not be construed as a recommendation for treatment or other health problems. We encourage decisions regarding personal health to be made personally, taking into account different sources of information. If you notice any inaccuracies or have any comments, complaints or advice about the content submitted, please contact us by e-mail.