Rhodiola rosea

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Rhodiola rosea
Rhodiola rosea a2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Rhodiola
Species: R. rosea
Binomial name
Rhodiola rosea

Sedum rosea (L.) Scop.
Sedum rhodiola DC.
Rhodiola arctica Boriss.
Rhodiola iremelica Boriss .
Rhodiola scopolii Simonk.
Sedum scopolii Simonk.
Золотой Корень, Solotoy Koren

Rhodiola rosea (commonly golden root, rose root, roseroot, western roseroot, Aaron's rod, Arctic root, king's crown, lignum rhodium, orpin rose) is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. It grows in cold regions of the world, including much of the Arctic, the mountains of Central Asia, scattered in eastern North America from Baffin Island to the mountains of North Carolina, and mountainous parts of Europe, such as the Alps, Pyrenees, and Carpathian Mountains, Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. It grows on sea cliffs and on mountains[2] at altitudes up to 2280 meters.[where?][citation needed] Several shoots grow from the same thick root. Shoots may reach 5 to 35 cm in height. R. rosea is dioecious – having separate female and male plants.


Rhodiola rosea is from 5 to 40 centimetres (2.0 to 15.7 in) tall, fleshy, and has several stems growing from a short, scaly rootstock. Flowers have 4 sepals and 4 petals, yellow to greenish yellow in color sometimes tipped with red, about 1 to 3.5 millimetres (0.039 to 0.138 in) long, and blooming in summer.

Rhodiola rosea in flower during the spring in the UK
A young Rhodiola rosea growing in a sunny border
Rhodiola rosea sprouting new growth during the spring after winter dormancy


The first time that R. rosea is described was from Dioscorides in De Materia Medica.

Western North American plants formerly included in R. rosea are now treated as Rhodiola integrifolia and Rhodiola rhodantha.[3]



The aerial portion is consumed as food in some parts of the world, sometimes added to salads.[4]

Herbal medicine[edit]


In Russia and Scandinavia, R. rosea has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life.[5][6] The plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called hóng jǐng tiān (). The medicine can be used to prevent altitude sickness.[citation needed]

Health effects[edit]

Withering flower

Research regarding R. rosea efficacy is contradictory. While some evidence suggests that the herb may be helpful for enhancing physical performance and alleviating mental fatigue, methodological flaws limit accurate assessment of efficacy. A rigorously-designed well reported RCT that minimizes bias is needed to determine true efficacy of R. rosea for fatigue.[7]

R. rosea is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. In fact, the FDA has forcibly removed some products containing R. rosea from the market due to disputed claims that it treats cancer, anxiety, influenza, the common cold, bacterial infections, and migraines.[8]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Scientists have identified about 140 chemical compounds in the subterranean portions of R. rosea.[9] Rhodiola roots contain phenols, rosavin, rosin, rosarin, organic acids, terpenoids, phenolcarbonic acids and their derivatives, flavonoids, anthraquinones, and alkaloids.

The chemical composition of the essential oil from R. rosea root growing in different countries varies. For example, rosavin, rosarin and rosin at their highest concentration according to many tests can be found only in R. rosea of Russian origin; the main component of the essential oil from Rhodiola growing in Bulgaria are geraniol and myrtenol; in China the main components are geraniol and 1-octanol; and in India the main component is phenylethilic alcohol. Cinnamic alcohol was discovered only in the sample from Bulgaria.[10]

Although rosavin, rosarin, rosin and salidroside (and sometimes p-tyrosol, rhodioniside, rhodiolin and rosiridin) are among suspected active ingredients of R. rosea, these compounds are mostly polyphenols. There is no evidence that these chemicals have any physiological effect in humans that could prevent or reduce risk of disease.[11]

Although these phytochemicals are typically mentioned as specific to Rhodiola extracts, there are many other constituent phenolic antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, quercetin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid and kaempferol.[12][13]

Dried R. rosea root


  1. ^ "Rhodiola rosea - Plants For A Future database report". www.pfaf.org. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  2. ^ Stace, C.A. (2010). New flora of the British isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 9780521707725. 
  3. ^ Moran, Reid V, in Flora of North America. volume 8. pages 164-167.[1]
  4. ^ Saratikov A.S. (1974). Golden Root (Rhodiola Rosea) (2nd ed.). Publishing House of Tomsk University. p. 158. 
  5. ^ Azizov, AP; Seĭfulla, RD (May–Jun 1998). "[The effect of elton, leveton, fitoton and adapton on the work capacity of experimental animals].". Eksperimental'naia i klinicheskaia farmakologiia 61 (3): 61–3. PMID 9690082. 
  6. ^ Darbinyan, V; Kteyan, A; Panossian, A; Gabrielian, E; Wikman, G; Wagner, H (Oct 2000). "Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue--a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.". Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology 7 (5): 365–71. doi:10.1016/S0944-7113(00)80055-0. PMID 11081987. 
  7. ^ Ishaque S, Shamseer L, Bukutu C, Vohra S (2012). "Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review". BMC Complement Altern Med (Systematic review) 12: 70. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-70. PMC 3541197. PMID 22643043. 
  8. ^ See for example, Letter, dated April 21, 2005, Food and Drug Administration
  9. ^ Panossian, A., Wikman, G. (2010). "Rosenroot (Roseroot): Traditional Use, Chemical Composition, Pharmacology, and Clinical Efficacy". Phytomedicine 17 (5-6): 481–493. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.02.002. 
  10. ^ Evstavieva L., Todorova M., Antonova D., Staneva J. (2010). "Chemical composition of the essential oils of Rhodiola rosea L. of three different origins". Pharmacogn Mag. 6 (24): 256–258. 
  11. ^ Boudet AM (2007). "Evolution and current status of research in phenolic compounds". Phytochemistry 68 (22–24): 2722–35. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.06.012. PMID 17643453. 
  12. ^ Yousef GG, Grace MH, Cheng DM, Belolipov IV, Raskin I, Lila MA (Nov 2006). "Comparative phytochemical characterization of three Rhodiola species". Phytochemistry 67 (21): 2380–91. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.07.026. PMID 16956631. 
  13. ^ Liu Q, Liu ZL, Tian X (Feb 2008). "[Phenolic components from Rhodiola dumulosa]". Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi (in Chinese) 33 (4): 411–3. PMID 18533499. 

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