- Golden root
- Rose root
- Hong Jing Tian
- Rose root extract
For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
How It Works
Rhodiola may improve physical and mental performance by reducing fatigue caused by stress, but additional studies are needed. It may also interact with some prescription medications.
Rhodiola is used in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and Asia as a stimulant, to improve performance, and to reduce fatigue and depression. Although some pilot studies in humans suggest benefit, more well-designed studies are needed. In addition, drug interactions are not well documented, and rhodiola may interact through some pathways the body uses to metabolize prescription medications. Therefore, patients should ask their doctor before taking rhodiola supplements.
Limited data in humans suggest that rhodiola may improve anxiety or mild to moderate depression. Further research is needed.
Preliminary studies suggest that rhodiola can reduce fatigue under stressful conditions.
Preliminary studies suggest rhodiola may improve exercise capacity and mental performance.
Do Not Take If
- You are taking antidepressants: Rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects of these drugs. In addition, there was a case of fast and irregular heartbeat in a young woman who took rhodiola along with her antidepressant for 3 days.
- You are taking drugs for high blood pressure: Rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects.
- You are taking CNS stimulant drugs: Rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects.
- You are taking CYP3A4 substrate drugs: Lab studies suggest rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects.
- You are taking CYP2C9 substrate drugs: Rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects of these drugs, including phenytoin and warfarin.
- You are taking P-gp substrate drugs: Lab studies suggest rhodiola may increase the risk of side effects.
For Healthcare Professionals
Rhodiola is a plant used in traditional medicine in Eastern Europe and Asia to enhance physical and mental performance, stimulate the nervous system, and reduce depressive symptoms. Although Rhodiola rosea extract and its key constituent salidroside have been researched, data in humans are limited.
In vitro studies suggest that salidroside may have neuroprotective (8) (9) and anticancer effects (10). Animal data suggest benefits with rhodiola on cognitive function, but most studies were determined to have a high risk of bias (24).
In humans, preliminary data suggest rhodiola supplementation may improve physical endurance (1) and mental performance (2) (3), and reduce fatigue (4) (5) and stress (19) (20). Other small studies suggest it may improve symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (6) and mild to moderate depression (7). In one study, it was better tolerated and had fewer side effects than sertraline, although it was also less effective (22). A systematic review evaluating rhodiola trials determined that higher reporting quality and better methodological quality are needed (25).
In patients with breast cancer receiving epirubicin, a small study suggests that salidroside may have cardioprotective effects (11), but larger confirmatory studies are needed.
Mechanism of Action
In vitro studies suggest that salidroside, a key constituent, confers neuroprotective effects via NO pathway inhibition (9), induces antioxidant enzymes thioredoxin, heme oxygenase-1, and peroxiredoxin-I; downregulates proapoptotic Bax protein; and upregulates antiapoptotic Bcl-XL proteins (8). Rhodiola constituents may also have synergistic antioxidant activity (17) and potential antidepressant effects may be due to inhibition of monoamine oxidases A and B (13). In human breast cancer cells, salidroside induced cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis via mechanisms as yet unidentified, but independent of the estrogen receptor (10).
In animal models, rhodiola exhibits dose- and time-dependent Th1 and Th2 cytokine modulation effects (16).
- CYP3A4 substrates: In preclinical studies, rhodiola inhibits CYP3A4 and can affect the intracellular concentration of drugs metabolized by this enzyme (12) (21). Clinical relevance is yet to be determined.
- CYP2C9 substrates: Rhodiola modestly inhibits CYP2C9, and may affect drugs metabolized by this enzyme, particularly those with a narrow therapeutic index such as phenytoin and warfarin (23).
- P-glycoprotein substrates: In preclinical studies, rhodiola was shown to inhibit P-gp activity and can interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs (12) (21). Clinical relevance is yet to be determined.
- Antidepressants: Rhodiola has MAO inhibition activity and may increase the serotonergic side effects (13).
- Antihypertensives: Rhodiola has MAO inhibition activity and may increase the hypotensive side effects (13).
- CNS Stimulants: Rhodiola has MAO inhibition activity and may enhance the hypertensive effect (13).