Rhodiola: botanical image of the rhodiola plant


Rhodiola rosea

Family: Crassulaceae

Description: An unusual perennial shrub having unisexual flowers (not on the same plant). This may be due to the cold environment which is its habitat. The flowers have 4 petals, yellow/green in colour and occasionally tipped in red. Multiple roots grow from the same dense root and reach up to 35cm in length. The young stems maybe eaten like asparagus and the young leaves added to salads if you like the bitter taste.

Habit and cultivation: Grows in Alaska, Siberia and Northern parts of Europe, including UK. Grows in the cracks of mountain rock and cliffs by the sea. Thrives in open exposure to the harsh elements in sandy soil and is pollinated by bees and flies.

Actions (known for): Adaptogen, tonic, anti-tumour, hepatoprotective and restorative, anti-depressant.

History: Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named this herb in 1725 and prescribed it for headaches, hysteria and hernias. Both the Vikings and ancient Sherpa used rhodiola to improve their strength and resilience. As early as 77 AD, Dioscorides experimented with this herb, and the ancient Chinese sent representatives to Siberia in search of the root in order to treat colds and flu.

Parts used: Root and rhizome.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Rosavin, tyrosol, salidroside and rhodiolaside.

Indications: Physical and mental fatigue, improves concentration when stressed, improves physical and mental stamina, possibly assists in male sexual function and adjuvant cancer treatment.

Dosage: Liquid extract (1:2): 20-40ml per week.

Cautions for therapeutic doses: Dizziness and dry mouth.

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