“Every herbalist has their favourite plant. Mine is Rhodiola rosea.” Chris Kilham

Effects of Rhodiola rosea


Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as golden root, is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the family Crassulaceae. Rhodiola rosea emits a rose-like fragrance from its freshly cut roots; this characteristic fragrance earned it the generic name ‘rosea’ (1) (2). This ancient plant goes by many names in various regions such as orpin rose, king’s crown, lignum rhodium, and artic root (1) (2). The name “arctic root” refers to how it naturally grows in the arid areas of the wild arctic and in cold mountainous regions of Europe and Asia.

The effects of Rhodiola rosea have been extensively researched, it has been discovered to have numerous health benefits, such as elevating mood, reducing fatigue, and enhancing cognitive performance. Rhodiola rosea root has been used for centuries in traditional medicine as ‘adaptogens’ because it increases your body’s natural resistance to stress (2) (3).

History of its use dates back to 77 AD when the Greek physician Dioscorides discovered the medical benefits of Rhodiola rosea. It was widely used for activating the neurological system, alleviating depression, eliminating exhaustion, boosting work performance, and preventing high altitude sickness (4) (5) (6). This article will highlight 4 incredible effects of Rhodiola rosea on your cognitive function. Let’s get it started!


May prevent mental fatigue and enhance clarity

Modern research demonstrates that Rhodiola rosea enhances stress resistance at both the cellular and systemic levels by alleviating symptoms of burnout and preventing mental fatigue. Thus, improving mental clarity and concentration capacity (7) (8).

A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial assessed the effects of Rhodiola rosea supplementation on the performance and concentration levels of healthcare students during an exam period. Results demonstrated that daily supplementation with Rhodiola rosea resulted in substantial improvements in mental fatigue, psychomotor function, and general well-being (7) (8) (9) (17).

May improve cognitive function

Chronic stress can permanently damage brain structure and function. It is imperative therefore for us to find ways to protect our brains from these detrimental effects. Recent studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of Rhodiola rosea (7) (9).

In an open study of 128 participants, treatment with Rhodiola rosea was found to effectively reduce symptoms of asthenia including fatigue, irritability, and insomnia in 64% of candidates (1).

Multiple studies have demonstrated the amazing effects of Rhodiola rosea on cognition. Consistent treatment with Rhodiola rosea was found to effectively enhance mental performance resulting in increased volume and standard of work during stressful periods preceding events that required high mental demand, for instance final examinations (1).

Salidroside has been identified as the bioactive constituent protecting neurons from stress-induced cell death, restoring damaged neurons, and aiding in the growth of new neurons (18) (19).

May enhance mood

Numerous studies have demonstrated the potent anti-depressive effects of Rhodiola rosea mainly in patients with mild to moderate depression (6)(11). Depression, commonly known as major depressive disorder, is a mental condition that negatively affects an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. One cause of depression may be an imbalance of neurotransmitters which affects mood regulation (20) .

Anti-depressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are frequently prescribed by physicians to address these chemical imbalances. However, these drugs often come with many unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea, fatigue, confusion, convulsion, decreased libido, and sexual dysfunction (12) (13).

The therapeutic effects of Rhodiola rosea compares well with some of the potent pharmaceutical drugs used to treat depression with the critical advantage of having close to zero adverse side effects. Furthermore, as a natural remedy it positively regulates the body’s production of neurotransmitters that affect mood, restoring balance and boosting general well-being (12) (13) (14).

May reduce anxiety

Anxiety is categorised as an uncomfortable state of mind, including sensations of threat and fear which varies in severity. Most people experience different levels of anxiety at certain moments in their life. However, it becomes a disorder when feelings of anxiousness persist daily and affects routine life. This can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health (21).

Studies have demonstrated that Rhodiola rosea extract can ease anxiety and promote calmness. The antioxidant effects of Rhodiola rosea extract also prevent oxidative stress by keeping levels of free radicals in check (11)(13).

Notably, other studies indicate improvements such as enhanced mood, reduced anxiety and increased concentration capacity started as early as 3 days after daily supplementation. The anxiolytic effects of Rhodiola rosea appear to be from its ability to regulate monoamine neurotransmission in brain regions responsible for mood and stress management (14)(15)(16).

A promising study found that Rhodiola rosea extract can alleviate symptoms of patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This study included 10 adult patients. They were each treated with 340mg of Rhodiola rosea extract for 10 weeks. At the end of the treatment periods, results indicated that improvements in GAD symptoms were substantial and comparable to trials of certain mental health drugs (10).


Rhodiola rosea is a potent herb rooted in ancient wisdom. It has a long history of use by traditional healers in Europe and Asia (1). This golden root has been studied for decades. Modern research show that it delivers numerous benefits, such as improving the body’s response to harmful stressors, alleviating symptoms of depression, reducing anxiety, enhancing mood, and boosting cognitive function.

If you want to think clearer under stress, concentrate longer on complex tasks and improve your general sense of well-being, as one of nature’s best brain booster – Rhodiola rosea can benefit you.

Intentionally formulated into Brain Focus by BesaPure®. Our Rhodiola rosea was meticulously extracted for precise ratios of bioactive compounds while maintaining natural composition for optimal potency. Discover how Brain Focus by BesaPure® can help you think clearer, concentrate better and enhance cognitive health. No synthetic vitamins, minerals or artificial ingredients. We get all we need from nature.


Related articles: 9 Popular Herbal Medicines: Expert Herbalist Guide


  1. Khanum, F., Bawa, A. S., & Singh, B. (2005). Rhodiola rosea: A versatile adaptogen. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 4(3), 55–62. https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2005.tb00073.x
  2. Kelly, G. S. (2001). Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen. Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutic, 6(3), 293–302. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11410073/
  3. Anghelescu, I.-G., Edwards, D., Seifritz, E., & Kasper, S. (2018). Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 22(4), 242–252. https://doi.org/10.1080/13651501.2017.1417442
  4. Bystritsky, A., Kerwin, L., & Feusner, J. D. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 14(2), 175–180. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2007.7117
  5. Noreen, E., Buckley, J., & Lewis, S. (2009). The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on exercise performance and cognitive function. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(sup1), P14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-6-s1-p14
  6. Mao, J. J., Xie, S. X., Zee, J., Soeller, I., Li, Q. S., Rockwell, K., & Amsterdam, J. D. (2015). Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 22(3), 394–399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2015.01.010
  7. Rhodiola Rosea: Dosage, Dangers, And Benefits For the Brain. – For Care Education and Research. https://fcer.org/ [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 23]; Available from: https://fcer.org/rhodiola-rosea/
  8. Wal, A., Wal, P., Rai, A. K., Tiwari, R., & Prajapati, S. K. (2019). Adaptogens With a Special Emphasis on Withania somnifera and Rhodiola rosea. In Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance (pp. 407–418). Elsevier. Available from: https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1107573426
  9. Skarpanska-Stejnborn, A., Pilaczynska-Szczesniak, L., Basta, P., & Deskur-Smielecka, E. (2009). The influence of supplementation with Rhodiola rosea L. extract on selected redox parameters in professional rowers. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 19(2), 186–199. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.19.2.186
  10. Bystritsky, A., Kerwin, L., & Feusner, J. D. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 14(2), 175–180. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2007.7117
  11. Cropley M, Banks AP, Boyle J. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms. Phytother Res [Internet]. 2015 Dec 1 [cited 2022 Sep 24];29(12):1934–9. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26502953/
  12. Amsterdam, J. D., & Panossian, A. G. (2016). Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 23(7), 770–783. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.009
  13. Lu, Y., Deng, B., Xu, L., Liu, H., Song, Y., & Lin, F. (2022). Effects of Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on exercise and sport: A systematic review. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9, 856287. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.856287
  14. Edwards, D., Heufelder, A., & Zimmermann, A. (2012). Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms–results of an open-label study: Rhodiola Rosea for subjects with life-stress symptoms. Phytotherapy Research: PTR, 26(8), 1220–1225. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.3712
  15. Olsson, E. M., von Schéele, B., & Panossian, A. G. (2009). A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Medica, 75(2), 105–112. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0028-1088346
  16. Panossian, A., Wikman, G., & Sarris, J. (2010). Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 17(7), 481–493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2010.02.002
  17. Spasov, A. A., Wikman, G. K., Mandrikov, V. B., Mironova, I. A., & Neumoin, V. V. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine, 7(2), 85–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0944-7113(00)80078-1
  18. Zhang, B., Wang, Y., Li, H., Xiong, R., Zhao, Z., Chu, X., Li, Q., Sun, S., & Chen, S. (2016). Neuroprotective effects of salidroside through PI3K/Akt pathway activation in Alzheimer’s disease models. Drug Design, Development and Therapy, 10, 1335–1343. https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S99958
  19. Zhang, L., Yu, H., Zhao, X., Lin, X., Tan, C., Cao, G., & Wang, Z. (2010). Neuroprotective effects of salidroside against beta-amyloid-induced oxidative stress in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Neurochemistry International, 57(5), 547–555. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2010.06.021
  20. Delgado, P. L. (2000). Depression: the case for a monoamine deficiency. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 6, 7–11. https://www.psychiatrist.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/12384_depression-case-monoamine-deficiency.pdf
  21. Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., & Pierce, G. R. (1990). Anxiety, Cognitive Interference, and Performance. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality; Corte Madera, CA, 5(2), 1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/846c7a6338343b9628083381082c8066/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1819046