Can Rhodiola Increase your Testosterone?

Rhodiola sounds more like a faux-Italian dish you order at Olive Garden than a testosterone-boosting supplement.  Don’t let the name trip you over.  This herbal supplement has potential.  Read on.

Rhodiola and Testosterone

There are not a lot of studies done on the interaction of rhodiola and testosterone.  However, there is good reason to believe that Rhodiola IS an effective testosterone booster.  I generally stick with the NOW Brand.  Here is the one I use.

  1. Mysterious Patent. There is a patent filed with the US patent office regarding Rhodiola’s affect on testosterone.  Subjects taking 2 grams of rhodiola crenulata for a month experienced a 76% increase in testosterone.  It’s a different type of rhodiola, one much harder to find online.  For example, all the rhodiola on Amazon is rhodiola rosea. I was unable to find a real difference in the effectiveness of either type of rhodiola.  The particular extract used in this experiment was 2% salidroside (active ingredient).  The standardized extract of rhodiola rosea that you can get from Amazon is 1% salidroside.  It stands to reason that even this extract should be effective.  There is a hodgepodge of other studies showing that Rhodiola use has a beneficial effect on testosterone, but this one was the most dramatic.
  2. Cortisol Suppressor. I love the title of this study: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study… In the scientific world, this is the equivalent of having a car with all the bells and whistles: heated seats, tinted windows, iPhone dock, built in navi.  Studies this controlled don’t usually come around in the supplement word.  Regardless, this is just one of many studies that demonstrate that rhodiola effectively reduces cortisol levels and helps manage stress.  Cortisol is the stress hormone that is extremely destructive to your testosterone levels.  Click here for the study.

 Other Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

So rhodiola is not thought of as a testosterone or libido booster in the herbal field.  It is generally revered as a stress/anxiety reliever, mood improver, physical endurance enhancer, and concentration aid.  Overall, a completely badass herb that I would recommend to everyone except my competition.

As a Relaxer/Stress Reliever

I touched on the cortisol suppressing effects of Rhodiola earlier and this is along the same lines.  Rhodiola is recognized in medicine as an adaptogen which means that it allows your body to adapt effectively to stressful situations. This is a pretty interesting study conducted on 56 young, healthy physicians.  Those treated with rhodiola experienced less fatigue and burnout during their 6 weeks night duty.

As a Mood Improver

There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence sprinkled across the internet that Rhodiola effectively battles depression and anxiety.  Read the Amazon reviews for rhodiola products, forums, comments on random blogs, etc and you’ll think Rhodiola doesn’t even do anything else.  The MOST striking accounts I found were on the Earthclinic Rhodiola Page. Scroll down to see the discussions people are having.  You have people with life-long crippling anxiety and depression claiming that rhodiola single-handedly cured them.  At least 2 women have been able to completely discontinue their use of anti-depressants which is incredible.  Others with work-related stress and depression discuss how they couldn’t make it a day without Rhodiola.

The question, of course, is whether or not studies confirm the anecdotal.  If I was swayed purely by anecdotal arguments, I’d be a religious man, but I am not.  Let’s see some studies.

In this one, researchers split a group of diagnosed mild to moderate depression-sufferers into 2 camps.  They gave 340mg or 680mg to the experimental group and a placebo to the control group.  Subjects given the rhodiola experienced significant relief of depressive symptoms while the placebo group did not.

Studies confirming these findings are a dime-a-dozen so I didn’t feel like wasting your time because they are all pretty similar.  This shiz works.

Athletic Enhancer

Several legit studies show that Rhodiola can benefit athletes.  Sounds too good to be true for an herb with so many benefits already, but check it.  In this study, participants who were given rhodiola were able to prevent muscle breakdown during exercise, essentially decreasing their recovery time.  Note: Most studies do not indicate a significant performance increase in the exercise itself, so Rhodiola won’t make you swim faster, run longer, or jump higher.

Bonus Benefit: Memory Expander

Rhodiola have been proven to enhance memory and concentration by increasing brain activity. Our rodent friends were used in a study wherein they were given Rhodiola rosea in a 0.10 ml dose. Rhodiola improved memory after 24 hours of use. It also had a long term effect of up to 10 days.

Rhodiola Side Effects

None that I could really find!  The only thing that seems to be agreed upon is that the effects of Rhodiola are dose-dependent.  At low doses rhodiola has a stimulating effect while at high doses it has a sedating effect.  I don’t know the reason behind this paradox, but it’s cool that you can take the same herb first thing in the morning to wake up, or last thing at night to go to sleep.  I can think of one other chemical that has this effect – alcohol.  If you drink a little you start dancing like a prick.  If you drink too much you pass out.


Add Rhodiola to your stack.  It probably boosts testosterone.  It definitely lowers anxiety, improves mood, and increases physical and mental performance.

I started taking it about 3 weeks ago.  I’m feeling great: alert, in tune, optimistic.


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  1. Great thread Michael. You managed to find human related studies instead of the usual Rat based – good work.

    That being said, inaddition to the above, there is a rat based study that found that Salidroside protects the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis of male rats undergoing negative psychological stress in experimental navigation and intensive exercise.

    • Hey Adrian,

      This is a really good find. I’m going to investigate this further and find out what foods contain Salidroside because this can be an effective way of preventing everyday stresses from lowering T levels.


  2. Good article. Of note, the patent claming the 76% test increase also claims rhodiola can be used to increase estrogen.

  3. Rhodiola can have pretty bad side effects as well. You have to get passed those to get to the good stuff. The first 2 weeks if you supplement regularly then you will feel a little…stoic. I had very little emotions and seemed apathetic about everything. I screwed up my relationship to. You start getting all the good effects after you acclimate your body which takes probably about 2 weeks and the results are good. Clearer thinking, more energy, positive mood, confidence, and memory.

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