For a review of the botanical Rhodiola rosea, we recommend “Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview,” published in HerbalGram 2002;56:40-52 (American Botanical Council).
Known as a medicinal botanical for at least 2000 years, Rhodiola rosea derives from a plant typically found at high elevations in Asia and Europe. Traditionally, the botanical has been used to increase physical endurance, longevity, resistance to altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, and nervous system disorders.
Since the 1960s, Rhodiola rosea has found a place in medical and pharmacological texts, especially in Russia and Scandinavia. It’s described as a stimulant to combat fatigue, a remedy for psychiatric and neurological conditions, and a means to relieve fatigue and to increase attention span, memory, and work capacity in healthy individuals.
The authors of the 2002 Herbalgram review include two practicing M.D.s (Richard P. Brown, Assoc. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Patricia L. Gerbarg, Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at New York Medical Center) who have used Rhodiola rosea in treating more than 150 patients with conditions including “depressive syndromes, mental and physical fatigue (secondary to psychiatric and medical conditions), memory loss and cognitive dysfunction from a variety of causes, sexual dysfunction, and menopausal-related disorders.” The authors also advocate additional research to confirm and define the benefits of this botanical for treating depression, disorders of memory and cognition, attention deficit disorder, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disorders (infertility, premenstrual disorder, menopause), sexual dysfunction, and disorders of the stress response system (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder). They also note continuing interest in studying the herb’s application to sports performance and aviation and space medicine (enhancing physical and mental performance while reducing stress reactions).
Read the full review at:
See also NYBC’s entry for Rhodiola rosea at