Rhodiola Rosea: Review of Nootropic Benefits, & Uses

Updated on August 17, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

In this Rhodiola review, we looked at what it is, along with its benefits, safety, suggested dosage, and potential side effects. We also looked at how the herb works with the human body, went through some user experiences, and included a frequently asked questions section at the end.

Feeling run down and stressed?

Rhodiola Rosea is a natural herb that can help reduce fatigue and stress while enhancing physical and mental performance. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants to feel their best.

You can find Rhodiola Rosea in many forms, including capsules, powders, and liquids.

Let's take a closer look at the benefits of the herb, as well as dosage recommendations and side effects down below.

Rhodiola Rosea Review Summary

Rhodiola Rosea, also known as "golden root" or "arctic root", is a perennial herb that grows in cold regions of Europe and Asia. Rhodiola Rosea has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat various conditions, including fatigue, anxiety, depression, and anemia. It is generally considered safe, but there have been some reports of side effects, such as nausea, headache, and dizziness.

Rhodiola Rosea is a popular nootropic that offers a variety of health benefits, including improved mental performance, memory, and focus. It also helps to protect the brain from age-related damage.


  • Improves mood
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases energy levels and reduces fatigue
  • Improves mental clarity and concentration


  • Not the ideal nootropic for people on blood-thinning medications

What Is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea, or R. Rosea, is a perennial flowering plant that grows in cold mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. The root and above-ground parts of the plant are used to make medicine.

Rhodiola Rosea has been used in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine for centuries to treat various conditions, including; Raynaud syndrome, altitude sickness, fatigue, anxiety, anemia, and major depression disorder (1).

It’s also been traditionally used as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body cope with stress. It contains active ingredients such as; Phenols, Rosavin, Rosin, Rosarin, Organic acids, Terpenoids, Phenolic acids and their derivatives, Flavonoids, Anthraquinones, Alkaloids, Tyrosol, and Salidroside.

For that reason, Rhodiola Rosea has become a popular herbal nootropic for people looking to take their productivity and mental performance to the next level without having to rely on harsh stimulants.

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Work?

Rhodiola Rosea Review

Rhodiola Rosea works by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. It also helps to protect the brain from age-related damage by reducing oxidative stress (2).

Rhodiola Rosea is also being used to help the body adapt to physical, chemical, and biological stressors. Extracts from this plant have been shown to modulate certain responses of the HPA axis as well as key mediators such as Heat shock proteins (Hsps ) and the stress-activated c-JUN N-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1) (3).

Hsps is a class of proteins that are produced in response to stressful conditions, such as heat or oxidative stress. They play a role in protecting cells and tissues from damage which makes them important for both stress tolerance and aging (4).

JNK1 is a protein that is activated in response to stress and has been linked to cell death, inflammation, and insulin resistance (5). When this protein is overactivated, it can lead to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

According to a study done on rats, Rhodiola Rosea has also been shown to work on the same pathway as β-endorphin, which is an endogenous opioid peptide that plays a role in stress relief, pain management, and regulating blood pressure (6).

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Work In The Brain?

The way Rhodiola Rosea works in the brain is not entirely known. However, according to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (7), it is thought to be due in part to the herb's ability to influence levels of monoamines. Monoamines are neurotransmitters that include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the cerebral cortex, brainstem, and hypothalamus.

Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is activated by low oxygen levels. This protein is involved in regulating glucose metabolism, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis. This means that when HIF-1 is activated, it helps the cells adapt to low oxygen levels by producing more energy. A study published in 2018 showed this effect in Acute Mountain Sickness (8).

According to Van Diermen et al., it was demonstrated that Rhodiola Rosea has potent anti-depressant activity by inhibiting MAO-A and may also find application in the control of senile dementia by their inhibition of MAO-B.

This mechanism of action is thought to be responsible for the nootropic effects of Rhodiola Rosea.

What Is Rhodiola Rosea Used For?

Rhodiola Rosea has been used as a dietary supplement in healthy populations, such as athletes, to improve the body's natural resistance to both physical and behavioral stresses for combating fatigue and depression.

According to a 2018 study, it has also been shown to improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration as well as support healthy adrenal function (9).

Some of the clinical applications of Rhodiola Rosea include:

  • The treatment of fatigue, anxiety, and depression
  • Used for better cognitive function
  • Reducing the negative effects of stress
  • Improve physical performance (likely due to its ability to reduce fatigue)

Some athletes use it as a supplement to help them train harder and for longer periods of time without the negative effects of overtraining. Rhodiola Rosea is also being used off-label by students to help them study for exams, as it can improve focus and concentration.

Now that we know, what Rhodiola Rosea is used for, let's move on and take a closer look at the benefits of this popular herb.

What Are the Side Effects of Rhodiola Rosea?

Like all supplements, Rhodiola is not without potential side effects.

The most common side effect is mild gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea or upset stomach.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth

While generally considered safe for most people, Rhodiola should be used with caution in those with pre-existing medical conditions or who are taking other herbs, extracts, or medications like antidepressants.

As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.

What Are The Benefits Of Rhodiola Rosea For Cognition?

According to scientific evidence, the benefits of Rhodiola Rosea for cognition are:

  • Improved mental clarity and brain function
  • Better focus and concentration
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels
  • Improved mood, energy levels, and exercise performance
  • Helps prevent fatigue and symptoms of depression

The benefits are attributed to the plant’s adaptogenic properties, which help the body cope with stress. Rhodiola Rosea is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

Where To Buy Rhodiola Rosea Online?

Rhodiola Rosea can be bought online from a number of reputable retailers. However, as with any supplement, it is important to do your research to ensure you are buying a quality product.

We recommend Pure Nootropics' 500 mg capsules as a reputable source for Rhodiola Rosea. They also offer free domestic shipping on orders over $40 and free FedEx over $80.

You can buy Rhodiola Rosea from Pure Nootropics right here:

What Do People Say About Rhodiola Rosea On Reddit?

Let's take a closer look at what some people on Reddit have been saying about Rhodiola Rosea.

"From my experience with this herb, I believe that everyone here should add it to their noot stack. Finding the right dosage is, however, very essential to reap its full benefits. I was shocked (yeah, I was truthfully shocked!) how immensely powerful this herb felt after having a go at a full gram. What it essentially does is obliterate fatigue, mind, and body, enhance endurance, significantly heighten concentration, mood, and empathy (not MDMA-like obviously), and best of all, that was at the expense of having zero side effects. Cool, huh?" - u/Weevle

"I'm able to be positive with little to no effort. I wake up in the morning happy, not grumpy. Tasks that once ruined my entire mood aren't fun, but they don't drag me down anymore either. I don't look forward to running out of it (because I know I should cycle it, to avoid wearing the benefits completely out), but I'm glad to know there seems to be something that can get me through my days without addiction, withdrawal, or any discernible side effects at all. Has anyone else in the sub noticed such a drastic change due to rhodiola?" - u/eatmydonuts

"Decided to try a noot once again, and chose Rhodiola Rosea. Wow wow wow wow. There are three VERY noticeable effects for me: Number 1 is improved memory. I've been recalling information that I've learned/memories so quickly. Recalling names of people or things is significantly improved. Number 2 is mood. I'm more apt to laugh at things than I usually am. Last night I was reading comments under a youtube video and was just giggling. Happier mood overall. I feel more smiley. Number 3 is increased energy. I have more energy throughout the day, mental and physical." u/pineapple_bloom

How Do You Take Rhodiola Rosea For Cognitive Enhancement?

Rhodiola Rosea is best taken orally in divided doses of 100 to 200 mg 2 or 3 times daily with meals. For best results, it is recommended that you take Rhodiola Rosea for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Some people may experience a mild increase in energy and mental alertness within the first week of taking Rhodiola Rosea.

However, the full benefits of Rhodiola Rosea may not be experienced for 4 to 6 weeks of regular supplementation.

Some people cycle Rhodiola Rosea, taking it for 6 weeks and then taking a break for 1 to 2 weeks to prevent the body from becoming tolerant to its effects. However, this is not necessary for everyone.

According to clinical trials, a positive effect of Rhodiola Rosea on physical performance reported doses of 200 mg/day and 680 mg/day, and those reporting a positive effect on mental fatigue and cognitive enhancement reported doses between 100–576 mg/day (10).

If you're just starting out with Rhodiola Rosea, it's best, to begin with a lower dose of 100-200 mg per day and increase gradually as needed. That way, you can find the sweet spot for you with the least amount of trial and error.

It's also worth noting that the effects of the herb are determined by the amount of salidroside and rosavin included (range from 1-5%), which means the dosage also depends on the quality of the extract used.

What Are The Side Effects Of Rhodiola Rosea?

The side effects of Rhodiola Rosea are generally mild and short-term. They may include headaches, stomach upset, or drowsiness which will go away on their own in time with use. Caution should be used if you take any prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Pregnant women and those who are nursing should not take Rhodiola Rosea. If you have any medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before taking Rhodiola Rosea.

That being said, Rhodiola Rosea is generally considered safe for most people when used in appropriate dosages.

What Nootropics Are Similar To Rhodiola Rosea?

There are a few nootropics that share some similarities with Rhodiola Rosea. They are all herbal extracts that have adaptogenic properties and can help the body cope with stress.

Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is considered to be one of the most powerful adaptogens and is known to help the body cope with stress.

Panax ginseng is another herbal extract that has adaptogenic properties. It is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and is said to help improve cognitive function and boost energy levels.

Bacopa monnieri is an herb that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as well. It is known to improve memory and cognitive function.

These 3 nootropics share similarities with Rhodiola Rosea regarding their adaptogenic properties and benefits for cognitive function and stress relief. However, they all have different mechanisms of action and potential side effects that you must be mindful of if you want to combine (stack) them.

What Brain Supplements Can Rhodiola Rosea Be Stacked With?

The most popular nootropic to stack with Rhodiola Rosea is Bacopa Monnieri. Combining these 2 herbs provides powerful brain benefits, including enhanced memory, focus, and concentration.

If you're looking for the best foundation stack, we highly recommend looking at NooCube. This nootropic blend contains 250mg of Bacopa monnieri extract as well as other powerful nootropic ingredients that work synergistically to help support optimal brain function.

Other popular nootropics to stack with Rhodiola Rosea include:

  • Piracetam
  • Aniracetam
  • Oxiracetam
  • Pramiracetam

These racetams are highly effective cognitive enhancers that work by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain.

Interested in NooCube? Find it right here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some frequently asked questions about Rhodiola Rosea.

How Long Does It Take For Rhodiola Rosea To Work?

Rhodiola Rosea works within hours for most people, while others may not notice any effects for several days or weeks. It is important to be patient and consistent with your dosage for the best results.

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Make You Feel?

Rhodiola Rosea makes you feel more energized, focused, and motivated. It can also help to reduce anxiety and stress levels. If you feel any negative side effects, reduce your dosage or stop taking it altogether.

What's The Half-Life Of Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea stays in your system for at least 4-6 hours after supplementation and will be completely excreted within 2-3 days. The half-life of Rhodiola Rosea is relatively short, so it is best to take it multiple times throughout the day.

Is Rhodiola Rosea Legal In The United States?

Rhodiola Rosea is legal in the United States. It is not a controlled substance and does not require a prescription to purchase. It's a natural supplement that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

Is Rhodiola Rosea Safe?

Rhodiola Rosea is safe for most people to take. However, it is important to start with a lower dosage and increase gradually as needed. If you take any medications or have any medical conditions, please consult with your healthcare provider before taking Rhodiola Rosea.

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Affect The Body?

Rhodiola Rosea affects the body by increasing energy levels, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving cognitive function. It works by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

What Are The Different Types of Rhodiola Rosea?

The different types of Rhodiola Rosea include Rhodiola Rosea, Rhodiola Crenulata, Rhodiola Quadrifida, and Rhodiola Sacra. These are all different species of Rhodiola that have similar effects on the body and brain.


Natural compounds like Rhodiola Rosea have been used by humans for centuries. It is known to have adaptogenic properties and help the body cope with stress.

Studies show that Rhodiola Rosea Extract is generally considered safe for most people to take in appropriate dosages of 200-680 mg/day. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant or nursing.

Rhodiola Rosea can be taken on its own or stacked with other nootropics for enhanced benefits and efficacy. If you're looking for the best foundation stack, we recommend NooCube. This nootropic combination contains 250 mg of Bacopa monnieri extract and other potent nootropics that help maintain optimal brain function.