Rhodiola Rosea is Adaptogen that Balances High Cortisol

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018

Medical Review by Gerardo Sison, PharmD

Rhodiola Rosea (rose root, arctic root) is a herb that cultivates in the harsh conditions of Siberia and northern Asia.

Many herbalists and doctors claim that it’s the most beneficial herb for human health that we’ve discovered so far…

For example there’s 7 peer-reviewed human studies which all show that it notably reduces fatigue, 4 studies showing that it increases subjective well being, 4 studies that show how it improves cognition, and 2 studies showing that it reduces muscle damage (source).

Those are some impressive results from a single herb…

But what about testosterone?

Rhodiola Rosea and Testosterone Levels

rhodiola rosea supplementRhodiola Rosea like I said above has seven studies backing up the fact that it significantly reduces the feelings of fatigue in humans.

This, in theory, means that it should also lower the stress hormone cortisol, which is known for suppressing testosterone.

And the theory is supported by these studies, which all found out that Rhodiola Rosea supplementation reduced high cortisol levels (study, study).

Those are some good news, as chronically high cortisol secretion is known for its destructive testosterone lowering effects on the male body.

I have explained how this happens several times before on this website but if you’ve missed it, then here it goes again:

Your balls produce this enzyme called 11ßHSD-1 which normally protects your testosterone molecules from the destructive effects of cortisol, but in the times of prolonged stress and chronically elevated cortisol, there’ simply too much of the stress hormone for 11ßHSD-1 to handle. Thus most of your testosterone molecules will be destroyed before they even leave the gonads.

Needless to say, a herb that lowers high cortisol levels (a condition that most of us have due to bad diets and stressful life) is in theory always beneficial for your testosterone production.

Sadly the testosterone boosting effects of Rhodiola are not that well covered in the medical literature.

But I did find something:

There’s this rather mysterious study mentioned in a patent filed back in 2000. It shows that when a group of healthy men took 2 grams of Rhodiola extract for a full month, their testosterone levels increased by 70% when compared to placebo. The patent was approved in 2002 but there’s no sight of the now patented product on the market (Rhodiola Crenulata).

UPDATE: There appears to be the first brand of Rhodiola Crenulata on Amazon now. 


Rhodiola Rosea notably decreases the effects and feelings of fatigue in human studies, few studies also show that it significantly decreases cortisol levels which should, in theory, be pro-testosterone.

To support that theory there’s one rather mysterious study linked to a patent that was filed back in 2000 for a product called Rhodiola Crenulata, which showed a 70% increase in testosterone levels after the subjects took 2 mg’s of the product for a month.

All-in-all I’d say that it’s very plausible that Rhodiola Rosea would increase testosterone levels. After all, it does decrease cortisol and it’s filled with phytonutrients linked to increased testosterone levels (apigenin, organic acids, alkaloids, quercetin, and terpenoids).

If you decide to try Rhodiola, I’d recommend this tincture. I’ve been using it as a sleep aid for months now and it seems to be working quite well.

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article.