Rhodiola for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Rhodiola ( Rhodiola rosea ) is a plant of the Crassulaceae family. Known for being a plant adaptogen with slimming properties, it is useful against stress, nervousness and tachycardia. Let’s find out better.

Properties of rhodiola

The roots of rhodiola have an adaptogenic, anti-stress action, favoring learning and memory skills in general , well known in Siberian folk medicine. These properties have been scientifically proven and are attributable to the presence of phenylpropanoid glycosides, in particular salidroside and rosavidine, whose chemical structure is similar to that of syringin (eleutheroside B), one of the active ingredients of eleutherococcus. Salidroside also confirmed an anabolic effect, which increases working capacity and organic performance. Rhodiola produces an increase in the plasma concentration of beta-endorphins able to prevent hormonal changes indicative of stress.

Rhodiola is used to relieve stress and feelings of physical and mental fatigue and to improve mood

The plant has slimming properties, due to the stimulation of some lipases capable of accelerating the release of fats from the storage tissues (lipolysis) to transform them into brown fat, so as to be easily synthesized, ie “burned” to produce energy. Furthermore, rhodiola is able to increase the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system by about 30%, a hormone capable of removing the obsessive desire for carbohydrates and carrying out a sedative-anti-anxiety action, greatly reducing anxious hunger. The glycosides contained in the root are also capable of increasing the levels of dopamine , a substance capable of transmitting to the CNSa sign of satiety.

Soviet studies have shown that, acting as a stimulant on the female hormonal system, it is indicated in case of amenorrhea, as well as significantly improving fertility. On the male side, it promotes functionality and sexual performance in 70% of men suffering from erectile dysfunction or premature ejacu|ation. In Siberia, rhodiola is recommended as an aphrodisiac for those suffering from sexual disorders.

How to use


300 to 500 mg of dry extract, in the form of tablets or capsules divided into two subdoses in the morning upon awakening and in the early afternoon. 

Contraindications of Rhodiola

At dosages between 1.5-2 grams of extract (over five times higher than those recommended) it can cause irritability and insomnia. If you buy it in the form of an extract in herbal medicine and do not exceed the recommended doses, it does not cause problems of this type. Before taking it, therefore, it is mandatory to seek medical advice.

Description of the plant

Plant 5 to 35 cm tall whose numerous fleshy stems arise from a robust rhizome. The leaves are flattened, lanceolate and serrated.

The flowers, gathered in terminal inflorescences, have a yellow, orange or red color and a pleasant scent, which recalls that of the rose, to which it owes its name. Rhodiola plants are dioecious, that is, there are male plants and female plants.

The habitat of Rhodiola

Plant that grows on the sandy, rocky, cold and dry soils of the Siberian slopes, spontaneous in the northern European (Scandinavia and Lapland) and North American (Alaska) mountainous areas.

It grows at high altitudes (3300-5400 m.) In the inaccessible and rocky areas of numerous mountain ranges. It can also be found in the Alps and the Pyrenees. It prefers normal, well-drained and sun-exposed soils.


Called in the areas of origin Rhosenrot which means: “golden root” the use of rhodiola has a legendary history. In Siberia there is a saying that those who regularly drink its infusion will live for more than a century. The root, used to improve physical performance and immune resistance and in general to improve the state of health, was given in the form of a bouquet to couples before marriage to encourage the birth of healthy children and since it was considered a powerful stimulant, it was part of the formulation of different love potions .

The Chinese emperors , who used the root to cure a variety of ailments and diseases. To improve their adaptation to high altitude, the populations of Tibet integrated it into their diet while the Siberians used it to increase resistance to low environmental temperatures.

The first scientific studies on Rhodiola date back to the first half of the last century, when several scientists, mostly Russian, began to observe the effects that this indigenous plant had, but only in the early 1960s did information on the benefits and properties of Rhodiola have been made public to the Western world.

Schuessler SaltAustralian Flower Essences and Remedies

Leave a Comment