Rhodiola rosea (Golden Root, Roseroot, Aaron's Rod) is a plant in the Crassulaceae family that grows in cold regions of the world. Rhodiola rosea may be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression. Pilot studies on human subjects showed that it improves physical and mental performance, and may reduce fatigue. Rhodiola rosea's effects potentially are related to optimizing serotonin and dopamine levels due to monoamine oxidase inhibition and its influence on opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins, although these specific neurochemical mechanisms have not been clearly documented with scientific studies. Rhodiola is included among a class of plant derivatives called adaptogens which differ from chemical stimulants, such as nicotine, and do not have the same physiological effects.
In Russia and Scandinavia, Rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. Such effects were provided with evidence in laboratory models of stress using the nematode C. elegans, and in rats in which Rhodiola effectively prevented stress-induced changes in appetite, physical activity, weight gain and the estrus cycle. Rhodiola has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, Rhodiola rosea extract SHR-5 exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate in healthy subjects (Darbinyan et al., 2000; Spasov et al.,2000b; Shevtsov et al., 2003) and burnout patients with fatigue syndrome (Olsson et al., 2009). Rhodiola significantly reduced symptoms of fatigue and improved attention after four weeks of repeated administration (Olsson et al., 2009). Olsson, E.M.G., von Schele, B., Panossian, A.G., 2009. A randomized double-blind placebo controlled parallel group study of SHR-5 extract of Rhodiola rosea rment for patients with stress related fatigue. Planta medica 75,105-112.oots as treat