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Plant Family: 



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Rhodiola rosea is native to cold climates and likes high altitudes and seaside cliffs: experts believe it may have been first native to mountainous regions of China and the Himalayas, but it now grows in arctic, coastal, and mountainous regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  Rhodiola can often be seen growing in the rockiest of rocky soil. This environment produces a sturdy, thick root that is traditionally used across particularly Scandinavian, and Slavic regions as an adaptogen to help the body cope in cold, high-altitude, stressful or difficult places, and increase energy, focus, and productivity (Brown et al, 2002).  


Parts Used/Collection:



Herbal Actions: 

  • Adaptogen

  • Antidepressant

  • Antioxidant

  • Antiviral

  • Immune system stimulant

  • Nervine

  • Mild central nervous system stimulant

  • Antiarrhythmic

  • Cardioprotective

  • Neuroprotective

  • Tonic



Postpartum Herb 

Fatigue, anxiety, depression, unstable mood, desire for enhanced physical endurance, stress, male and female infertility, insomnia and other sleep disturbances, anemia of pregnancy, clouded/slow mental capacity, memory, productivity. 



Avoid rhodiola in clients who are bipolar, manic, or paranoid. It can cause insomnia in sensitive people.


Plant Constituents: 

Flavinoids, Rosavins, and Salidroside


System Affinities:



Drying, Warming, Stimulating (long-term). Sometimes can be considered cooling.



Safe to use during pregnancy and postpartum


Personal Experience: 

Steeped in a tea. It was slightly bitter and pleasant; cloudy and light earthy flavor. It gave me a slight boost of energy.



  • Alternative Medicine Review. (2004). Monograph: Withania somnifera.

  • Brown, R. P., Gerbard, P. L., Ramazanov Z. (2002). Rhodiola rosea: A phytomedicinal overview. HerbalGram. 2002; 56:40-52.

  • Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, VT. pp 604-605.

  • Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone


Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

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