Rhodiola is a plant used in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and Asia to enhance physical and mental performance, stimulate the nervous system, and fight depression. Rhodiola rosea extract and its key constituent salidroside have been esearched, although studies in humans are limited.
In vitro studies indicate that salidroside from rhodiola may have neuroprotective (8) (9) and anticancer effects (10).
Supplementation with rhodiola has been shown to improve physical endurance (1) and mental performance (2) (3), reduce stress-induced fatigue in humans (4) (5), and improve stress symptoms (19). However, additional, well-designed studies are needed to determine the true efficacy of rhodiola (20).
Preliminary data also suggest that it may be effective against generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (6), and in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (7).
A small study showed that salidroside may have cardioprotective effects in patients with breast cancer receiving treatment with epirubicin (11), but more data are needed to confirm this effect.
Because rhodiola inhibits cytochrome P450 enzymes, p-glycoproteins and monoamine oxidase, it may interact with certain prescription drugs.