Rhodiola for Improving Stamina, Performance, and Memory

Rhodiola may enhance memory and speed up recovery after traumatic brain trauma

Posted Jun 08, 2019

Rhodiola rosea, also called 'Golden root,' improves stamina and performance, may enhance memory in healthy adults and speed up recovery following traumatic brain injury

The herbal Rhodiola rosea was the object of intense research interest in the former Soviet Union because of its use as an adaptogen and performance enhancer in elite athletes, soldiers, and cosmonauts. In traditional Russian society, the herb is prepared as a tea, it is widely consumed and is believed to contribute to improved general health and longevity.

Information on the diverse medical benefits of golden root has only recently been available in Western countries, but the herbal is already in widespread use in many Western European countries and North America. Different bioactive constituents of R. rosea including salidroside, rosavins and p-tyrosol probably contribute to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective effects (Nabavi et al 2016). Mental health benefits include improved memory, increased mental stamina, and a general calming effect, are related to increased dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain.

Findings of open studies suggest that a standardized preparation of R. rosea taken at doses of 500 mg/day improves overall mental performance and stamina in normal healthy individuals (Spasov et al., 2000), and may accelerate return to normal cognitive functioning following traumatic brain injury. Findings of animal studies support that R. rosea has cognitive enhancing effects however to date placebo-controlled human clinical trials on R. rosea in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have not been done (Al Noor Ahmed 2015). 

Few safety problems

There are no reports of toxicity or serious drug–drug interactions between R. rosea and other natural products or synthetic drugs. However, it is prudent for individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder to avoid using this herb because of case reports of possible mania induction (Saratikov & Krasnov, 1987) (please see full reference below).


Saratikov, A. S., & Krasnov, E. A. (1987). Clinical studies of Rhodiola. In A. S. Saratikov & E. A. Krasnov (Eds.), Rhodiola rosea is a valuable medicinal plant (golden root) (pp. 216–227). Tomsk, Russia: Tomsk State University