Herbal Ergogenics: Rhodiola Rosea - Mind And Muscle

guy doing pushupsRhodiola rosea is also known as Roseroot and Golden Root. Rhodiola rosea is a perennial plant growing in cold climates which has been traditionally used for it adaptogenic effects. The main active constituents of Rhodiola rosea are a group of compounds called rosavins, which are what the herb is typically extracted for.

Rhodiola rosea root is well known for its ability to reduce fatigue and balance mood in cases of anxiety, moodiness, or depression. The mood boosting capabilities of Rhodiola rosea are well documented, and may be due to the ability of Rhodiola rosea to inhibit MAO A and MAO B, balance serotonin levels, and increase levels of certain endorphins. Rhodiola has also been show to prevent stress induced changes in the body such as loss of appetite due to stressors such as cold and illness. In addition to its ability to reduce mental fatigue, Rhodiola rosea may also reduce physical fatigue and act as a mild central nervous system stimulant to increase physical energy levels and reduce fatigue in response to athletic training.

The most typical use of Rhodiola rosea is to balance mood and reduce mental fatigue, but it definitely shows some promise as an ergogenic aid, especially for longer duration activities such as endurance training. Rhodiola is included in many sports supplements and also supplements for general health purposes. Rhodiola rosea may also be purchased as a single ingredient either as a whole herb or as a extract standardized for rosavins.


1. Mattioli L, Funari C, & Perfumi M. (2009). Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. extract on behavioural and physiological alterations induced by chronic mild stress in female rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 23(2), 130-42.

2. Chen QG, Zeng YS, Qu ZQ, Tang JY, Qin YJ, Chung P, Wong R, & Hagg U. (2009). The effects of Rhodiola rosea extract on 5-HT level, cell proliferation and quantity of neurons at cerebral hippocampus of depressive rats. Phytomedicine : International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 16(9), 830-8.

3. Kelly GS. (2001). Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen. Alternative Medicine Review : a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic. 6(3), 293-302.

4. Panossian A, Wikman G, & Sarris J. (2010). Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine : International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 17(7), 481-93.

5. van Diermen D, Marston A, Bravo J, Reist M, Carrupt PA, & Hostettmann K. (2009). Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 122(2), 397-401.

6. Walker TB, & Robergs RA. (2006). Does Rhodiola rosea possess ergogenic properties? International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 16(3), 305-15.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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