Roseroot Side Effects: The Most Important Questions and Answers

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In an increasingly hectic world, it is not always easy to keep your balance. More and more people are affected by everyday stress and fall into depression. Therefore, medication is often resorted to, which, however, very often has strong and long-lasting side effects.

Roseroot is a medicinal plant, a so-called adaptogen, which has a long use in traditional Chinese medicine. It is said to help against depression, boost performance, prevent sleep disorders and cause stress reduction. However, whether this miracle plant is free of side effects or whether there are a few things to consider when using it is to be illustrated in the following article.

the essentials in brief

  • Rhodiola is generally classified as a non-risky drug. Studies have reported very few side effects.
  • When using roseroot, the side effects that occur can usually be attributed to incorrect intake. Therefore, particular attention should be paid to the dose and the time of day of application.
  • Side effects can also occur when rhodiola is taken with another medication. Therefore, an expert opinion should always be obtained in such cases.

Rhodiola side effect: What you should know

In the following paragraphs we will cover those areas of roseroot that you should definitely know about.

What is Roseroot?

Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) is a medicinal plant that grows on high mountains in Europe and Asia. It has long been used in Asian and Eastern European traditional medicine and is known for its positive influence on the physical and mental condition. Roseroot is an adaptogen. This term is used for botanicals that are known for their stress-relieving effects.

How does roseroot work?

It is commonly used to relieve stress and fatigue. Above all, it can be used for mental illnesses such as burnout or depression, which has also been proven by clinical studies. But the miracle root not only helps against mental illness, but also against insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches and a decline in work performance.(1)

There are several ingredients in roseroot, such as salidroside, rosavin, rosarin and rosin. These substances have also been observed to increase levels of serotonin, known as the happiness hormone.(2)

Who is Roseroot suitable for?

Taking rhodiola is suitable for people who often suffer from exhaustion, listlessness or tiredness. People suffering from stress-related burnout can also be helped with the rose root preparation.(3)

Although rhodiola is not classified as dangerous by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the plant remedy should not be taken by pregnant women, children and young people, as there are no studies on this.(7)

In addition, the root is also ideal for people who want to strengthen their mental performance, physical fitness or just general well-being. Rhodiola is recommended among other students or students who wish to achieve greater concentration and motivation in their studies.(8)

What side effects can occur when using roseroot?

Studies show that there are generally no major side effects from rhodiola intake. It is therefore classified as not particularly risky. Only slight, isolated side effects have appeared in a few studies. The test persons noted slight drowsiness, cold extremities, slight gastrointestinal complaints,(4) dizziness or dry mouth.(10)

high mountains

Roseroot grows on moist soil in high mountains. The plant can be found from the fell region to the alpine zone. (Image source: Superidol/unsplash)

However, a prerequisite for a good course of rhodiola therapy is to read the package insert carefully and use it accordingly. The dose and the time of ingestion are of great importance.

How must roseroot be dosed so that no side effects occur?

In order to ensure the desired effect and avoid side effects, care should be taken to ensure the correct dose and duration of intake. How high the dose should ideally be has already been investigated in some studies. (9) Overall, the dosage of roseroot as a dietary supplement should be between 200 mg and 600 mg per day. However, it is important to consult the package leaflet or get an expert opinion so that the desired result can be achieved without side effects.

In the case of an overdose, the symptoms could even worsen. In addition, side effects can occur when rhodiola is taken in conjunction with antidepressants. In these cases, a doctor should always be consulted.(2)

However, the dosage should be adjusted to the rosavin content, as this differs from product to product.

Rosavin - proportion dosage
1% 400 mg to 1000 mg/day
2% 200 mg to 500 mg/day
3% 150 mg to 400 mg/day
5% 100 mg to 300 mg/day

Can rhodiola have a negative effect on the psyche?

In general, rose root extract does not have a negative effect on the psyche. It actually has a positive affect on the psyche as it alleviates anxiety and depression.(10)

Man sits outside in the afternoon

Rhodiola is a herbal remedy used to reduce mild depression or stress. No serious side effects have been registered. (Image source: Jude Beck/unsplash)

Proper intake is a prerequisite for a positive effect on well-being. No caffeinated drink or sugar should be consumed after consuming roseroot. In rare cases, this could lead to feelings of anxiety or hyperactivity.

Can an allergic reaction occur when taking rhodiola?

The tolerability of Rhodiola rosea is normally very good. Undesirable side effects are very rare in studies. An allergic reaction is not very common, but cannot be ruled out.

Especially in the case of special intolerances or health problems, the use of roseroot should always be discussed with an expert!

Can rhodiola use cause insomnia?

When using roseroot, the package leaflet should always be consulted. If taken incorrectly, this could lead to side effects!

No major side effects related to insomnia have been noted in any of the studies on rhodiola. In fact, quite the opposite is true: studies have shown that regular intake of rhodiola reduces insomnia.(10)

However, Rhodiola rosea generally has a very stimulating effect, which is why the supplement should never be taken before bedtime. This could well lead to insomnia. Ideally, it should be taken half an hour before breakfast or lunch.

Can rhodiola cause an upset stomach?

In rare cases, an upset stomach may occur. Especially in the case of a kidney or liver disease, the use of rose root preparations should be avoided, or an expert opinion should be obtained.

Can there be an interaction if rhodiola is taken together with another medication?

Under no circumstances should Rhodiola rosea be taken with any other antidepressant unless a doctor prescribes it. This could lead to serotonin syndrome.

tablets and capsules

To prevent unwanted side effects, rhodiola should never be taken with other medications without a doctor's recommendation. (Image source: freestocks/unsplash)

If rhodiola is taken together with other adaptogens, such as ginseng or St. John's wort, they can interact. The effect and, above all, the side effects could be increased as a result.

What alternatives are there to roseroot?

If rhodiola treatment is not an option for you, despite the minor side effects, you do not need to despair! There are many other preparations that have a similar effect to rose root. In the following, some of them are briefly introduced and their possible side effects are also described.

  • Sertraline : Sertraline is a drug that has a similar effect to rhodiola. However, side effects are not uncommon with this use.
  • Mirtazapine : Mirtazapine is also a drug and can be used to treat severe depression, sleep disorders and feelings of anxiety. The drug requires a prescription and is not free from side effects.
  • St. John's wort : St. John's wort is also used for burnout and depression.
  • Siberian ginseng: It also belongs to the group of adaptogens and is a well-known home remedy. To avoid unwanted effects, the plant should not be taken if you have high blood pressure.
  • Maral root : The root helps against depression, exhaustion, tiredness, nervous weakness, muscle weakness and lack of concentration.
  • Valerian : Valerian has a calming and sleep-inducing effect. However, it can cause digestive problems and hypersensitivity.
  • Lavender : Lavender oil also has a relaxing effect, which is already caused by the smell.
  • Yoga: However, it is not always necessary to use preparations to reduce stress. Sometimes physical activities like yoga are enough.

In order to ensure a better understanding of the individual extracts, they are therefore explained in more detail:


Sertraline is a drug and is used in depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders and anxiety disorders. Whereas rhodiola has almost no side effects, there are some with sertraline: gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, fatigue, blurred vision and weight gain.

Compared to rosearoot, sertraline has a greater antidepressant effect. However, rhodiola has fewer side effects and is usually better tolerated.(6)


Mirtazapine is a medicine that must be prescribed by a doctor. It helps against depression and insomnia. The antidepressant effect has been proven by studies.

The most common side effects are increased appetite, weight gain and dry mouth. However, unlike other drugs, mirtazapine has no sexual side effects.(11)

Johannis herbs

St. John's wort (Hyperisum perforatum) is also a well-known home remedy due to its mood-enhancing effect and has a long tradition of combating mild depression and burnout. In addition, St. John's wort is used for gastrointestinal problems as well as for inflamed skin, such as sunburn.

Some side effects can also occur with St. John's wort, but these are not very common. These include sensitivity to sunlight, allergic skin irritation, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems.

Siberian ginseng

Just like roseroot, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is considered an adaptogen. This means that it also has a positive effect on the human organism and helps to reduce this stress. In addition, the plant extract is used to reduce tiredness and weakness.

When using Siberian ginseng, however, it should be noted that the plant preparation is not taken in the event of elevated blood pressure. This could lead to unwanted side effects such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, nervousness and headaches.

maral root

Maral root (Rhaponitisum carthamoides) also has adaptogenic properties and helps against depression, exhaustion, tiredness, nervous weakness, muscle weakness and poor concentration. In addition, it is considered to promote fertility, strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation. No significant side effects were recorded in the studies either.


Valerian is known for its calming and sleep-inducing effects. Valerian is therefore often used to combat sleep disorders, test anxiety or severe irritability.

Side effects can also occur, such as digestive problems and hypersensitivity. Most often, valerian is taken in the form of drops and in combination with other medicinal plants, which also have a calming effect.(5)


Due to its healing properties, lavender has a long tradition that dates back to ancient times. Just like valerian, lavender has a calming and relaxing effect on the user. It also helps to reduce stress and insomnia.

The lavender oil already has an effect based on the smell. A few drops of lavender oil can be put on the pillow to ensure a more comfortable sleep.


Now we would like to introduce another method for stress reduction: namely yoga. In the case of slight everyday stress, it is not absolutely necessary to take something right away. Banal things like going to the sauna, taking deep breaths in and out, or a yoga session can help. This method is not only good for your health, but is 100% free of side effects.

During yoga, the messenger substance gamma-aminobutyric acid is released, which reduces feelings of fear and panic. In addition, yoga affects the nervous system, which not only calms the body, but also stimulates digestion.

Since the choice for psychological treatment can be very large, it has now been shown in detail using the examples. In order to ensure a better illustration, a table of all the preparations mentioned is shown below and their effects and side effects are listed.

medicine Effect possible side effect
Roseroot helps against stress, exhaustion, loss of appetite, insomnia and headaches Drowsiness, cold extremities, slight gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness and dry mouth
sertraline Helps against depression, obsessive-compulsive syndrome and anxiety disorders Gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, tiredness, blurred vision and weight gain
mirtazapine helps with depression, anxiety and insomnia weight gain and dry mouth
Johannis herbs helps against mild depression, burnout, gastrointestinal problems and skin inflammation Sensitivity to sunlight, allergic skin irritation, tiredness and gastrointestinal problems
Siberian ginseng helps against stress and fatigue if you have high blood pressure, side effects such as tiredness, insomnia, nervousness and headaches could occur
maral root helps against exhaustion, tiredness, nervous weakness, muscle weakness and lack of concentration -
valerian helps against sleep disorders, test anxiety or severe irritability digestive problems and hypersensitivity
lavender helps against stress and insomnia -
yoga helps against everyday stress -


The roseroot can shine as a medicinal plant with many areas of application. In addition, various studies have shown that it does not involve a particularly high risk and that side effects only occur in rare cases. In order to prevent such side effects, you should definitely pay attention to the dose and the time of daily intake.

However, Rhodiola is not the only medicinal plant that helps against stress, depression and fatigue. There are countless other preparations that have a similar effect. It should therefore be looked at individually which is the most suitable remedy for his condition.


  1. Kasper S, Dienel A. Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms. Neuropsychiatrist Dis Treat. 2017 Mar 22;
  2. Kelly G. Alternative Medicine Review, Rhodiola rosea: A Possible Plant Adaptogen. 2001;
  3. Panossian A, Wikman G, Sarris J. Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. phytomedicine. 2010 Jun;
  4. Aslanyan G, Amroyan E, Gabrielyan E, Nylander M, Wikman G, Panossian A. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study of single dose effects of ADAPT-232 on cognitive functions. phytomedicine. 2010 Jun;
  5. Bent S et al. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine, 2006, 119, 1005-1012
  6. Mao JJ, Xie SX, Zee J, Soeller I, Li QS, Rockwell K, Amsterdam JD. Rhodiola rosea versus sertraline for major depressive disorder: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. phytomedicine.
  7. EMA, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC), 27 March 2012, Community herbal monograph on Rhodiola rosea L.,
  8. Mosharrof AH, Yonkov D, Petkov VD, Kambourova T, Todorov I, Alova L. Effects of meclofenoxate on learning and memory--dependence on the experimental conditions. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1986;12(3):7-14. PMID: 3101398.
  9. Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol'skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work . phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):95-105. doi: 10.1078/094471103321659780. PMID: 12725561.
  10. Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):175-80. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.7117. PMID: 18307390.
  11. Anttila SA, Leinonen EV. A review of the pharmacological and clinical profile of mirtazapine. CNS Drug Rev. 2001 Case;7(3):249-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00198.x. PMID: 11607047; PMCID: PMC6494141.
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