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Rhodiola rosea


Rhodiola rosea is a plant that grows in the mountains of Europe and Asia. The root has been used to ease feelings of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Rhodiola rosea can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


200 milligrams twice daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Anxiety —may ease symptoms A1
  • Depression —may improve sleeplessness and help stabilize mood B1-B4
  • Mental fatigue —may increase ability to focus C1, C2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take rhodiola rosea in small doses for a short time, but it may cause lightheadedness, dry mouth, or excessive salivation.C2 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Anxiety

A1. Cropley M, Banks AP, et al. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms. Phytother Res. 2015 Dec;29(12):1934-1939.

B. Depression

B1. Darbinyan V, Aslanyan G, et al. Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nord J Psychiatry. 2007;61(5):343-348.

B2. Dwyer AV, Whitten DL, et al. Herbal medicines, other than St. John's Wort, in the treatment of depression: a systematic review. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Mar;16(1):40-49.

B3. Ross SM. Rhodiola rosea (SHR-5), Part 2: A standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea is shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Holist Nurs Pract. 2014;28(3):217-221.

B4. Mao JJ, Xie SX, et al. Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15;22(3):394-399.

C. Mental Fatigue

C1. Olsson EM, von Schéele B, et al. 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 Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-112.

C2. Ishaque S, Shamseer L, et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 May 29;12:70.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/30/2020