Rhodiola Rosea: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Updated on March 20, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Exploring the cognitive enhancement and nootropic effects of Rhodiola Rosea.

Looking for a natural way to treat burnout and anxiety symptoms?

Or better, prevent yourself from experiencing it to begin with.

Discover the multifaceted world of Rhodiola Rosea in our comprehensive article.

This herbal supplement, known for its adaptogenic properties, has sparked interest for its potential to enhance mental and physical performance, including exercise endurance and energy levels.

Delve into the science behind Rhodiola Rosea and explore how its extract, rich in bioactive compounds like rosavin and salidroside, positively impacts your well-being.

Join us in uncovering the therapeutic and nootropic potential of Rhodiola Rosea, its safety profile, and its place in solving the fatigue experienced in today’s fast-paced society.

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea (also known as Rosavin, Rosenroot, Rhodiola Rhizome, Golden Root, and Arctic Root), is a medicinal herb. It’s native to the cold, arctic regions of Europe and Asia, in the Rhodiola genus, and is an anti-fatigue nootropic and adaptogenic compound.

It should not be confused with other species of Rhodiola or similar-sounding herbs like Rosa damascena or Rosmarinic Acid.

The adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola Rosea are associated with its ability to reduce stress and fatigue and increase mental performance, especially under stressful conditions.

These benefits are attributed to its root, which typically contains 1-3% active compounds, primarily rosavin and salidroside. The usage of this natural nootropic in traditional and herbal medicine dates back centuries, known for its health benefits in promoting healing, treating anxiety and stress, and improving physical and mental strength.

Rhodiola Rosea contains active ingredients such as phenols, rosavin, rosin, rosavin, organic acids, terpenoids, phenolic acids and their derivatives, flavonoids, anthraquinones, alkaloids, tyrosol, and salidroside, primarily harvested from its native habitats in cold regions of Europe and Asia.

Its effects include anti-aging, longevity-promoting properties, and potential anti-cancer effects, although more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.(1)

Additionally, Rhodiola, while not a substitute for standard treatment, is known to complementarily improve symptoms of ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Regarding exercise performance, Rhodiola may enhance physical endurance, appearing to have ergogenic properties, enhancing strength and power, reducing perceived exertion, and improving endurance and speed in some studies.(2) However, more research is needed to recommend specific dosages for exercise performance.

Rhodiola also demonstrates neuroprotective effects, possibly due to its antioxidative properties, and it appears to protect against neuronal damage induced by various stressors, including those that impact cognition.

Additionally, Rhodiola has been observed to increase serotonin levels in the brain, suggesting serotonergic activity.

These findings, supported by various clinical studies and research, indicate that Rhodiola is a powerful, natural cognitive enhancer, effective in both stressful and non-stressful conditions.


  • Enhances cognitive function, such as focus, mental stamina, and memory under stress
  • Ability to reduce fatigue symptoms, increase endurance, energy levels, and muscle strength
  • Neuroprotective effects that prevent cognitive decline
  • Relieves anxiety and stress to promote a feeling of well-being


  • Requires consistent use for the maximum benefits to be experienced
  • More clinical studies are needed to fully understand long-term efficacy and safety

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action of Rhodiola Rosea, while complex and still under scientific investigation, involves several key processes, such as the following:

  1. Stress Response Modulation: Rhodiola influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, helping to regulate the body’s stress response. It may modulate cortisol levels, a key stress hormone.
  2. Neurotransmitter Interaction: Rhodiola is thought to positively affect mood and stress response by modulating the levels and activity of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
  3. Antioxidant Defense: Rhodiola has strong antioxidant properties, protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage.
  4. Neuroprotection: It protects neuronal cells from damage, potentially through both direct antioxidative effects and indirect mechanisms like enhancing the body’s overall stress resilience.
  5. Anti-Fatigue Effects: Rhodiola reduces mental and physical fatigue, likely by affecting neurotransmitter levels (such as serotonin) and reducing cortisol, a stress hormone.

Nootropic Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has been researched for its nootropic benefits, particularly its impact on cognition and memory.

Here’s a closer look at the key nootropic effects of Rhodiola Rosea.

1. Cognitive Enhancement

Rhodiola Rosea improves overall cognitive function, particularly under high pressure. This allows users to stay focused, even when in an overly stimulating environment.

This nootropic effect extends to improving mental focus and concentration, due to the protection Rhodiola Rosea provides to the central nervous system and heart, even in non-stressed states.(3)

2. Learning and Memory Enhancement

Rhodiola shows an ability to improve memory function and learning capacity, especially in stressful conditions or when memory is impaired by certain toxins.

There is clinical evidence to support that Rhodiola works to enhance memory in a dose and time-dependent manner.(4)

3. Neuroprotection

Rhodiola Rosea exhibits antioxidative properties that protect neurons against various stressors and damage.

This effect on cognition prevents cognitive decline and promotes overall brain health.(5)

4. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Rhodiola Rosea demonstrates adaptogenic effects that help reduce stress and fatigue, enhancing cognitive function under stress.

This effect also indicates that Rhodiola Rosea may be a mood stabilizer or antidepressant for people with depression, anxiety disorders, and/or ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactive disorder).(6)

5. Increases Serotonin Modulation

Rhodiola Rosea’s effects on serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation, are of particular interest.(7)

This is especially in relation to sertraline, a commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for depression and anxiety disorders.

Regarding the combination of Rhodiola rosea and sertraline, caution is generally advised. Sertraline, as an SSRI, works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. If Rhodiola also increases serotonin levels, using them together could potentially lead to an excessive accumulation of serotonin.

6. Support of Neurogenesis

Rhodiola supplements support neurogenesis, particularly in reducing oxidative stress in stem cells.

The benefits of enhanced neurogenesis include potential improvements in cognitive functions, memory, and overall brain health.(8)

7. Anti-Fatigue Effects

This natural nootropic helps reduce mental and physical fatigue, possibly by affecting brain energy metabolism and neurotransmitter levels.

Uses of Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is used for various purposes, primarily due to its adaptogenic properties. These uses include:

  • Stress Reduction: Helps the body adapt to and manage stress.
  • Fatigue Alleviation: Reduces physical and mental fatigue.
  • Cognitive Enhancement: Improves memory, focus, and overall brain function.
  • Mood Improvement: Can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Exercise Performance: Enhances physical performance and endurance.
  • Antioxidant Support: Offers protection against oxidative stress.
  • General Well-being: Promotes overall health and vitality.

Where to Buy Rhodiola Rosea

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Rhodiola Rosea Dosage

The recommended dose of Rhodiola Rosea supplementation can vary based on the specific health goal and individual factors. Generally, a dose range of 200-600 mg per day is common, often divided into two doses.

Some studies have used higher doses for specific conditions.

It’s important to start with a lower dose and adjust as needed.

Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects & Safety

Rhodiola Rosea, though not evaluated by the FDA for safety, is generally considered safe and well-tolerated when taken in recommended doses.

However, potential adverse effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache

These are typically mild and not common.

Here are some notes on this effective nootropic’s safety profile:

  • Due to limited research, Rhodiola Rosea’s safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not established.
  • Rhodiola may interact with antidepressants, blood thinners, and immune suppressants. Always consult with a healthcare provider before use if you’re taking other medications.
  • Long-term safety data is limited, so it’s recommended to use Rhodiola under professional guidance and not exceed recommended dosages or usage durations.


As we conclude our journey through the world of Rhodiola Rosea, it’s clear that this ancient herb holds a modern-day promise.

With its adaptogenic qualities, and potential to alleviate stress, enhance cognitive function, and boost physical endurance, Rhodiola Rosea emerges as more than just a supplement; it’s a testament to nature’s power in supporting our health and well-being.

While further research is underway to unlock its full potential, Rhodiola Rosea stands as a beacon of hope for those seeking natural ways to enhance their mental and physical performance.

Remember, balance and moderation are key, and consulting with healthcare professionals ensures a safe and beneficial experience with this remarkable herbal ally.


How long does Rhodiola Rosea take to work?

The onset of effects from Rhodiola Rosea can vary, but some individuals may notice benefits within a few days, while for others, it might take several weeks.

What is the elimination half-life of Rhodiola Rosea?

Specific data on the elimination half-life of Rhodiola Rosea is limited. However, the half-life of its active components like salidroside might give some indication, though this can vary based on individual metabolism.

Should you cycle Rhodiola Rosea?

Cycling Rhodiola Rosea is often recommended to maintain its effectiveness and prevent tolerance. A common cycle is 3 weeks on, and 1 week off, but this can vary.

Can I stack Rhodiola Rosea with other nootropics?

Yes. When stacking Rhodiola Rosea with other nootropics for synergistic effects, consider the following combinations: caffeine supplements, L-Theanine supplements, B vitamins, Ginkgo Biloba extracts, and Ashwagandha.

How should I store Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture to maintain its potency.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Li, Yonghong et al. “Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention.” Current pharmacology reports vol. 3,6 (2017): 384-395. doi:10.1007/s40495-017-0106-1 ↩
  2. Tinsley, Grant M et al. “Rhodiola rosea as an adaptogen to enhance exercise performance: a review of the literature.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 131,3 (2024): 461-473. doi:10.1017/S0007114523001988 ↩
  3. Panossian, Alexander, and Georg Wikman. “Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity.” Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 3,1 188-224. 19 Jan. 2010, doi:10.3390/ph3010188 ↩
  4. Ma, Gou-Ping et al. “Rhodiola rosea L. Improves Learning and Memory Function: Preclinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 9 1415. 4 Dec. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01415 ↩
  5. Bernatoniene, Jurga et al. “Phenolic Compounds of Rhodiola rosea L. as the Potential Alternative Therapy in the Treatment of Chronic Diseases.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 24,15 12293. 31 Jul. 2023, doi:10.3390/ijms241512293 ↩
  6. Cropley, Mark et al. “The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 29,12 (2015): 1934-9. doi:10.1002/ptr.5486 ↩
  7. Amsterdam, Jay D, and Alexander G Panossian. “Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant.” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology vol. 23,7 (2016): 770-83. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.009 ↩
  8. Ivanova Stojcheva, Emilija, and José Carlos Quintela. “The Effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea L. Preparations in Alleviating Various Aspects of Life-Stress Symptoms and Stress-Induced Conditions-Encouraging Clinical Evidence.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 27,12 3902. 17 Jun. 2022, doi:10.3390/molecules27123902 ↩