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Rhodiola rosea - L.

Common Name Rose Root
Family Crassulaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Crevices of mountain rocks and on sea cliffs[17].
Range Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and N. America, including Britain, further south on mountains.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Rhodiola rosea Rose Root

Rhodiola rosea Rose Root


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Rhodiola rosea is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 1 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Sedum rhodiola. S. rosea. (L.)Scop.

Plant Habitats

 Ground Cover; East Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root  Shoots  Stem
Edible Uses:

The young succulent leaves and shoots are eaten raw or cooked like spinach[2, 52, 62, 85, 172, 183]. A slightly bitter taste, we find them unpleasant on their own though they can be used as a small part of a mixed salad[K]. They can be made into a sauerkraut[257]. Stems - cooked and eaten like asparagus[183]. Root - raw or cooked[106, 183, 257]. It was fermented before being eaten by the N. American Indians[172].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Adaptogen  Antidepressant  Stomachic  TB

Though little known as a medicinal plant, rose root has been used in traditional European medicine for over three thousand years, mainly as a tonic. Modern research has shown that it increases the body's resistance to any type of stress by regulating the body's hormonal response. Its use has been shown to have a protective effect upon the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain. It improves neurotransmitter activity by inhibiting their enzymatic destruction and preventing their decline caused by excessive stress hormone release. Rose root also enhances the transport of serotonin's precursors into the brain and studies have shown that use of this herb can increase brain serotonin by up to 30%[255]. The root is adaptogen. It has an enhancing effect upon physical endurance and sexual potency. A decoction of the flowers has been used to treat stomach aches and intestinal discomfort[257]. The raw flowers have been eaten in the treatment of tuberculosis[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Agroforestry Uses: Plants can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 30cm apart each way[208 ]. Other Uses: An extract of the root is used in cosmetic preparations as an antioxidant, astringent and skin conditioner[1243 ]. The dried root smells strongly of roses. They may be used to distill rose-water[245 ]. Ornamental.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground cover  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a fertile well drained open loam in a sunny position[83, 200]. Tolerates fairly damp conditions but prefers a raised well-drained spot[83]. Established plants are drought resistant[190]. This species is extremely polymorphic[200]. Plants often self-sows when they are growing in a suitable position[83]. They can self-sow to the point of nuisance[K]. The dried root has a rose scent[1, 83]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. An evergreen. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a sunny position in a greenhouse in spring. Do not let the compost dry out. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 4 weeks at 10°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in early summer of the following year. Division in August to October[200]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings taken in the growing season[200]. Basal shoots in early summer are easiest. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

TEMPERATE ASIA: Altay, Buryatia, China, Chita, Gansu Sheng (central), Gorno-Altay, Habarovskij kraj, Hebei Sheng, Hokkaidô, Honshu, Irkutsk, Japan, Jilin Sheng, Kamcatskij kraj, Kazakhstan (southeast), Kemerovskaja oblast, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Magadanskaja oblast, Mongolia, Respublika, Russian Federation, Shanxi Sheng, Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Tyva, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu, Yakutia-Sakha,Russian Federation. NORTHERN AMERICA: Greenland, United States, Alaska, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, North Carolina, Canada, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, , EUROPE: Finland (north), United Kingdom (U.K.), Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic (east), Germany (south), Poland (southwest), Slovakia, Russian Federation, Karelia, Komi, Arkhangelsk, Neneckij avtonomnyj okrug, Murmansk, Perm, Ukraine (west), Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy (north), North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Spain (northeast), France (s. & e.),

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Rhodiola rhodanthaQueen's Crown, Redpod stonecropPerennial0.4 4-8  LMHNDM10 
Rhodiola tibetica Perennial0.3 5-9  LMHNDM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

marie   Fri Mar 14 10:38:02 2003

More complete List of Scientific Articles about Rhodiola rosea you can find on http://www.anti-aging-guide.com/Rhodiola_scient.html. Please, tell me, where I can find full info. about cultivation of this plant?

Link: http://www.anti-aging-guide.com/Rhodiola_scient.html

robert d. highfield   Mon May 30 15:42:38 2005

hello, i have used rhodiola rosea capsules, 500 mg daily for about one month. i was taking lexapro. i stopped yesterday, the lexapro. i feel much better, less anxiety, and not depressed. i also used cialis and other ED drugs. now i don't need them, either. it is so good. i can't say enough good things about this herb. thanks for your site. andplease, where can i get seeds, and plants to grow my own? thanks doug highfield at [email protected]

C Holtl   Wed May 3 2006

There is a herbal seed website called Richters that you can google and order seeds from. I have not planted mine yet, hopefully they will grow plentifully

robert neil   Mon Oct 16 2006

hello i am very interested in buying rhodiola rosea but have read that there are a lot of copycat products out there, can you give me any advice on where to get the right product. thanks. robert neil.

E   Mon Oct 2 2006

Seriously, this is my favorite plant/adaptogen. I've been using it for about 6 months now, taking a short break from it after every month of use (as is often recommended when taking adaptogens), and it's just awesome. I started taking it as a weight-lifting supplement, and it's just amazing in that field. It helped me gain muscle so much faster than I would have otherwise, and it helps you recover quicker and lets you exert more while working out. Plus, it gives you more energy all around, which is great, cause otherwise I feel chronically fatigued (well, I do all the time, anyway, but that's the life of a highschooler. At least now I don't fall asleep in class anymore). It's an amazing plant, and I don't get why the medicinal usage rating is only a 3. It improves you in every way, basically. I plan to start growing it myself so that I can harvest the root. I recommend this plant to everybody! Unless you have high blood pressure or something else. Talk to your doctor first, read up on the specifics of Rhodiola: http://www.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/articleview.asp?a=2333 That's probably the best source of information on Rhodiola. I read all of that before I started taking it, and I checked over all the information about me that I got from my sports physical, so I was sure that it was safe for me to use. Not that there are any real dangers of taking Rhodiola, as time has proven to me. Quite the opposite. It's wonderful. I'm just saying, know your body and what you put in it. It pays to be careful. E

Herbalgram: A Phytomedicinal Overview Probably the best source of information on Rhodiola and its effects

,arc   Sun Oct 29 2006

i have just started taking Rhodiola rosea, as i suffer from anxiety and depresion... for the 1st week or two it made me feel quite strung out for an hour or two after taking it.. very much like speed. i know this feeling as ive takin alot of extacy , coke and speed over a long period of time. however... ive been feeling a lot better after taking them...i dont feel as nervous or anxcious. ive tryed a few suppliments and this seems to be the best by far.. long may it continue

Rob   Mon Dec 18 2006

Robert, you can buy naturally grown Rhodola Rosea root powder here: http://www.oceanwavevibrations.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=10

robert neil   Thu Dec 28 2006

thanks rob but unfortunatly found the tea form very unpleasant tasting, can anyone recommend a good quality tablet form of rhodiola and whereto buy it. thanks again. robert.

Eric   Sun Feb 4 2007

Does anyone know where I can buy live rhodiola rosea plants in the US? Any online vendors? Thanks!

marc   Sun Oct 29 2006

i have just started taking Rhodiola rosea, as i suffer from anxiety and depresion... for the 1st week or two it made me feel quite strung out for an hour or two after taking it.. very much like speed. i know this feeling as ive takin alot of extacy , coke and speed over a long period of time. however... ive been feeling a lot better after taking them...i dont feel as nervous or anxcious. ive tryed a few suppliments and this seems to be the best by far.. long may it continue

Anne Evans   Thu Jan 11 2007

My son, aged 12 has had severe behaviour problems since he was 18 months old, 4 months ago I gave him Rhodiola rosea which I purchased from Healthy Direct, the transformation is truly amazing we both have a life now.

Healthy Direct 0800 107 57 57

Bill Flemming   Thu May 3 2007

Rhodiola has changed my life. I researched it and tried several brands, varying in price from $9 a bottle to about $35. The absolute best is Artic Root, by Swedish Herbal Institute (www.proactivebio.com). By the way, only the cold-weather grown plants develop these characteristics. All the other plants, grown in China or USA, just don't have the strength.

ProActive BioProducts Inc. Swedish Herbal Institute Rhodiola

Bill Flemming   Sat May 5 2007

I like the Arctic Root brand of Rhodiola. I did some research, and found most of the clinical trials were for this brand, "Swedish Herbal Institute."

Swedish Herbal Institute - ProActive BioProducts Inc. Arctic Root details

dano   Sat May 5 2007

try Scottish supplier, seed or plant: google poyntzfield nursery co uk love the ideas of growing it. Nice and sustainable to grow your medicine. Im sure it makes people think about issues like.....what a herb in fashion does to the natural habitats its from?

herbaculture herbal medicine meets permaculture

Norma   Sun May 27 2007

I bought a live Rhodiola rosea plant from The Basement Shaman website. They sell other good herbs also.

The Basement Shaman They sell live plants, dried herbs, and seeds.

Elinor   Wed Jun 13 2007

I started taking rhodiola rosea on Sunday 10th June 2007. Can anyone tell me how long before I start to feel the effects as I am still fatigued, and feeling really low.

Elyse   Wed Jun 13 2007

I've just bought Rhodiola rosea under the impression it would help me sleep ! after more research it seems to have the opposite effect ! I took the first doses yesterday and whilst I did sleep, I felt my mind was racing and dreams were strange (not nightmares). I'm hoping I can benefit from the anti-stress and anti-de depressant qualities of the supplement. Does anyone know much about helping with weight loss, there are claims that it aids fat burning ?!

Elysa   Fri Jun 15 2007

I've only taken RR for three days but have noticed I have more energy and am more alert I have to take it really early in the morning though as it really messed up my sleep when I took it at night. I read somewhere it may have fat-burning properties, anyone know anything about RR and weight loss (combined with dieting) ?

Edna Mac Donald   Thu Sep 6 2007

h HOaven't used it yet. But all the hoopla really has me, so I want to grow it in my side yard, but I'll also need to know what it likes to have added to the soil to make it feel at home so it develops as it would in its native habitat. I guess I can find it someplace in an herb book, but I also need to know what it looks like. Is it the weed with pumpkin shaped leave sparecely situated on generously long stems with seeds cupped in a tiny gree cup which we kids used to call little moom seeds? I used to find them when weeds grew around, and only find them very rarely where gardeners haven't intervened with nature. There's another weed I eat the seeds of when I find it and that is one that makes little heart shaped flat seeds that are enticing. Do you know what that one is?

Edna Mac Donald   Thu Sep 6 2007

Thanks for your immediate and kind response. The garden weeds of which I ate their seeds for sure must indeed have their virtue, now learned not Rhodiola Rosea for true.

Linda   Sat Nov 17 2007

Don't let anyone tell you there is a "fat burning element" to this wonderful herb! The reason that many companies include this in their diet formulas is that there is a HUGE stress reduction with the product and this means less belly fat, etc. But, no "fat burning" takes place. The best brand we have found is the Swedish stuff, Arctic Root®. It is the only one containing the SHR-5 that you read about (Rhodiola type that is actually an herbal medicine in Sweden, and clinically tested like any other medicine).

Swedish Herbal Institute Brand Swedish "Arctic Root®" source

Jenny F.   Fri Jan 4 2008

It is amazing how much misinformation is on this site about things like weight control and improved sleep with Rhodiola. This herb is amazing, but it does NOT do those things. Instead, it is a mental clarity stimulator, an energizer and a mood enhancer. I've been taking Arctic Root brand for years. I couldn't live without it. You can't grow Rhodiola in the States and expect it to work. The best plants are always from extreme cold weather areas, such as Sweden.

Arctic Root A company selling Arctic Root in the USA

Antomar   Wed Feb 13 2008

I read at the www.safealternativemedicine.co.uk that the real rhodiola has to vave a minimum of 3% rosavins, 1% rosidias and 1% salidroside. Where can I find a formula with this ingreddients???


Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sat Feb 16 2008

The figures Antomar is quoting are for an effective medicinal dose from tablets, capsules etc. These medicines are usually made from a mixture of the dried plant plus extra extracted medicinally active ingredients to ensure that you obtain a standardized dose. It is a very good idea, when taking herbs in this form to ensure that there is an adequate content of the active ingredients, and this is best ascertained by contacting individual suppliers and asking them. There are many companies supplying this herb in tablet or capsule form, so it should not be too difficult to obtain in the form you require. The alternative is to obtain the dried herb and use that, although, like all natural products, the quantities of active ingredients will vary from sample to sample.

Dr. Kimberly Osborne, DC   Tue Aug 26 2008

A great place to get this adaptogen is from Univera. You must find a distributor in order to gain access to the website. There lead product is a complete cell renewal formula. If you want or need more information, I can be contacted through my website. I will leave that contact as well. Hope that helps.

Rockford Wellness and Diagnostic Center

Jim.W   Wed Jan 9 2008

Hi, I haven't tried this yet but I'm looking for a natural remedy for anxiety ans panic attacks. Is this a suitable thing to take, or could it cause my symptoms to worsen? Does it affect the heart rate at all as well?

Heather Van Stryland   Thu Jan 24 2008

Hi, I want to grow Rhodiola Rosea at our Alberta farm. I was wondering when is the right time to plant it, how to plant it, and where to plant it.

Linda Holt   Wed Mar 5 2008

Thank you for your site I have learned a lot of things I didn't know and I feel enlightened Thanks again Linda Holt

amy   Mon Mar 10 2008

I've found that 15 drops a couple of times per day of Herb Pharm's Rhodiola rosea helps me focus & be wakeful all day. I buy it from Whole Foods grocery.

Engelie Brand   Fri Apr 11 2008

I will appreciate if you share your experience of any sexual effects of Rhodiola. And if you can comment on dopamine related symptoms. I am treating a patient with Persistent SSRI Sexual Disorder.

John Rixey   Wed Dec 10 2008

If you're into the benefits of this fantastic adaptogen, check out Hummingbird Tea (hummingbirdtea.com)

Hummingbird Tea Tea with Rhodiola Rosea AND Yerba Mate

ERic Marsella   Fri Jan 23 2009

Another, much more common root with medicinal effects is ginger root. An essential ingredient in natural methods of treating inflammation. Natural nutritional supplements are by far the best method of consuming these roots.

Nutritional Supplements - Doctors Natural

Patrice Michener   Sun Mar 8 2009

I have been taking RR for 4 days now and have found a tremendous difference in my mood and energy. I suffer from depression and ansiety attacks. I feel great!! no other modern medicine has been able to do this for me. and no side effects--thank goodness. I think that the wieght loss may come from the increased energy that you gain. I will post again and let you know how the wieght loss is going as I have struggled with that as well all my life.

Bill Flemming   Fri Jun 5 2009

I posted above about the Rhodiola rosea product I have been using. I wanted to update and let people know that there is a new and even better product. It's called Mind, Body & Spirit, and it is the most remarkable R. rosea that I have tried. The company that makes it is a bit internet naive, so you have to order it by phone, but the link to the company is below. It's a Siberian blend, packed into a cute little green capsule made entirely from chlorophyll. I like it because my son simply mixes it with juice, Bill

FRANKLIN D. TURNEY   Sat Jun 13 2009


Leo Aerts   Sat Jun 20 2009

I live in Flanders - belgium and have plants from seeds purchased in the Us: http://www.horizonherbs.com/

Martin   Sat Aug 15 2009

I was picking rhodiola today in mountains. Right now i'm drinking tea made from fresh roots. Later on i'll make a tincture. The tea has the most perfect rose smell i have ever smelled before and it has good taste too. Does anyone know, the dosage of a fresh root to make a tea out of it ? Thanx

suzy   Fri Nov 6 2009

I am looking to buy live Rhodiola plants for a photo shoot in NY Nov 16, 2009. Could anyone direct me to or have any plants to sell. Cost is not an issue.

Gordon Haverland   Mon Nov 30 2009

To Heather Van Stryland (and others in western Canada). Alberta Agriculture should have information on growing Rhodiola, especially since a processing plant has now opened in Alberta. BC Agriculture has also started presenting information on this plant.

doris   Tue Dec 22 2009

I want to ask the persons that have been lucky with rhodiola. What's the dosage that you have been using? I tried 600 mg a day (for anxiety)and made me really tired, sleppy and numb. I doubt i have been using too much.

   Jul 26 2010 12:00AM

I realise this is now 2010 and the so no one may be reading this discussion anymore, but I noticed this year that both Holland and Barrett, and also Solgar now sell a variety of Rhodieola Rosea that is lighter in colour and less pungent than Holland and Barrett used to be. I subjectively experience that the herb is not as active as it was, I don't get a lift like I used to from it. A herbalist I spoke to said new laws are coming in next year where each supplier will have to have a licence, so suppliers may be changing the strengths now ahead of the game perhaps, or I think perhaps normal supply has been used up due to increasing demand and so suppliers are selling stuff not from cold countries but from warmer grown areas, so the strength is less. I have been told to look at Viridian as a brand that has a strong version, but have not tried this yet. I think probably I will try Swedish Herbal Institute brand if I can get it. I found taking it along with 500mg of Tyrosine on an empty stomach first thing in the morning worked best for me. Tyrosine increases dopamine and the Rhodeola I think stops the dopamine from being re-absorbed so quickly: I take it for Chronic fatigue/depression. But don't think therefore you should mix it with other anti-depressants... I have also experimented and added other (legal Holland and Barrett sourced)herbs to this in SMALL doses (minimum recommened daily dose on bottles)...such as Ashwaganda, licorice root, glutamine, carnitine, CoQ10, and when combined this worked very well if I was very stressed but needed to keep going, but I guess I should only really add these for emergencies. Cutting out caffine long term is sensible to stop stressing the adrenal glands I read, but caffine seems to work when added with all these herbs. I do notice a "come-down" when I stop, but I notice this for caffine anyway, as I am dependant on caffine, like most westerners are.

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