Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2012 May 29;12:70.
doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-70.

Rhodiola Rosea for Physical and Mental Fatigue: A Systematic Review

Free PMC article

Rhodiola Rosea for Physical and Mental Fatigue: A Systematic Review

Sana Ishaque et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. .
Free PMC article


Background: Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea) is grown at high altitudes and northern latitudes. Due to its purported adaptogenic properties, it has been studied for its performance-enhancing capabilities in healthy populations and its therapeutic properties in a number of clinical populations. To systematically review evidence of efficacy and safety of R. rosea for physical and mental fatigue.

Methods: Six electronic databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs), evaluating efficacy and safety of R. rosea for physical and mental fatigue. Two reviewers independently screened the identified literature, extracted data and assessed risk of bias for included studies.

Results: Of 206 articles identified in the search, 11 met inclusion criteria for this review. Ten were described as RCTs and one as a CCT. Two of six trials examining physical fatigue in healthy populations report R. rosea to be effective as did three of five RCTs evaluating R. rosea for mental fatigue. All of the included studies exhibit either a high risk of bias or have reporting flaws that hinder assessment of their true validity (unclear risk of bias).

Conclusion: Research regarding R. rosea efficacy is contradictory. While some evidence suggests that the herb may be helpful for enhancing physical performance and alleviating mental fatigue, methodological flaws limit accurate assessment of efficacy. A rigorously-designed well reported RCT that minimizes bias is needed to determine true efficacy of R. rosea for fatigue.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Risk of bias assessment in included studies.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 14 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Khaidaev Z, Menshikova TA. Medicinal plants in Mongolian medicine. Ulan-Bator, Mongolia; 1978.
    1. Saratikov SA, Krasnov EA. Rhodiola rosea is a valuable medicinal plant (Golden Root) Tomsk State University Press, Tomsk, Russia; 1987.
    1. Magnusson B. Beauty: herbs that touch us. Berndtssons, Ostersun, Sweden; 1992. pp. 66–67.
    1. Alm T. Ethnobotany of Rhodiola rosea (Crassulaceae) in Norway. SIDA. 2004;21(1):321–344.
    1. Brekhman I, Dardymov IV. New substances of plant origin which increase non-specific resistance. Ann Rev Pharmacol. 1969;9:419–430. doi: 10.1146/ - DOI - PubMed

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources