The species name – rosea – refers to the ‘rose-like’ smell of the root. Compared to a tea rose, there is no comparison, but the odor is unique, somewhat sweet and spicy, although some would consider it strong and heady.
Rhodiola comes from the Greek word ‘Rhodon’, which means rose. Combined with the species term, rosea, this plant could be called Rose rose!?!
The plant has been given many familiar names, such as orpine rose, golden root, roseroot, alpine rose, Aaron’s rod, king’s crown and Arctic root. Many groups have their own name for Rhodiola rosea, and these groups will brew the root as a tea, make a tincture, or use the stems and leaves in preparing meals. The many names for the same plant suggest a favorable, highly regarded status among multiple groups.
The main traditional uses for Rhodiola rosea are for anxiety and fatigue. But there are specific uses in select groups, such as treating urinary disorders, infections, colds and toothaches. Given the wide diversity that we know exists in the species, is it possible that there are unique strains growing in select areas of the world that have these special beneficial/curative properties? North American clinical studies have focussed on stress, depression and cognitive function. Possibly there is much more to learn.