Allantoin, Amaranthaceae (family), beta-ecdysterone, beta-sitosterol, ß-sitosterol-ß-D-glucoside, Brazilian ginseng, butanolic extract, calcium, corango-a©u (Brazilian Portuguese), copper, daucosterol, ecdysteroid glucosides, germanium, ginseng brasileiro (Brazilian Portuguese), glycosides, Gomphrena eriantha, Gomphrena paniculata, Hebanthe eriantha, Hebanthe paniculata, Iresine erianthos, Iresine paniculata, Iresine tenuis, iron, magnesium, mart, nortriterpenes, pantothenic acid, para toda, paratudo, pfaffia, Pfaffia eriantha, Pfaffia paniculata, Pfaffia paniculata Kuntze, pfaffic acid, pfaffosides (A-F), phosphorus, phytochemicals, plant sterols, polypodine B, potassium, ptersterone, rubidium, saponins, silica, sitosterol, stigmasterol, stigmasterol-3-o-beta-d-glucoside, stigmasterol-ß-D-glucoside, strontium, titanium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, Xeraea paniculata, zinc.
Suma is a large, shrubby, ground vine with an extensive root system. It is indigenous to the Amazon basin and other tropical parts of South America. Suma has also been called "the Russian secret," as it has been taken by Russian Olympic athletes for many years to increase muscle-building and endurance without the side effects associated with anabolic androgenic steroids, such as cardiovascular interactions, increases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and liver disease.
Suma has been used historically as a folk remedy for various indications, such as menstrual disorders. It has also been used as a sexual enhancement and as a general tonic. Based on early research, suma may have potential as an anticancer agent. In limited animal study, suma has been shown to have hormonal effects and to increase sexual performance.
High-quality human trials supporting the effectiveness of suma for any indication are currently lacking.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
*Key to grades:
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;
B: Good scientific evidence for this use;
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;
D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Adaptogen, analgesic (pain relief), anemia, anti-inflammatory, anxiety, appetite stimulant, arthritis, blood disorders (sickle cell), bronchitis, cancer, cardiovascular (blood flow), chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, digestion, high blood pressure, hormonal disorders, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, immune enhancement, increased muscle mass, leukemia, libido, memory enhancement, menopause, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, sexual dysfunction, stress, tonic, ulcers.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Available dosing regimens for suma are based on tradition, expert opinion, or anecdote; reliable human trials demonstrating the safety or efficacy for any particular dose are currently lacking in the available literature. Based on secondary sources, the following doses of suma have been used: 1 cup of suma root decoction twice daily; 1-2 grams of suma root as capsules twice daily; 2-6 grams of suma root powder daily; 100-250 milligrams of suma extract daily; or 1,000 milligrams of suma daily in divided doses.
Based on secondary sources, suma root (taken as two or three cups of tea daily) is prescribed in Brazilian hospitals for cancer and diabetes.
Based on secondary sources, 2-4 capsules of suma powder (reportedly equivalent to one tablet of suma powdered extract) or up to a teaspoon of suma powder (as a tea or in food) has been used every hour for an extended period (up to one month or longer); after this initial period, a smaller dose (one dose three or four times a week) may purportedly have the same effect.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for suma in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to suma, its constituents, or members of the Amaranthaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Reliable information regarding the safety and adverse effects of suma is currently lacking in the available literature. Based on secondary sources, suma may cause chest pain, mild gastrointestinal disturbances, and asthma symptoms. Suma may alter estrogen-related processes, such as menstruation.
Use cautiously in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions, as suma contains plant sterols, including beta-ecdysterone, stigmasterol, and beta-sitosterol, which theoretically may cause an increase in estrogen or testosterone production).
Use cautiously in patients with heart conditions, as secondary sources suggest that suma may cause chest pain.
Use cautiously in patients with gastrointestinal disorders, as secondary sources suggest that ingestion of large amounts of plant saponins, naturally occurring chemicals in suma, may cause mild gastric disturbances, including nausea and stomach cramping.
Avoid in patients with known allergy/hypersensitivity to suma, its constituents, or members of the Amaranthaceae family.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Suma is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Suma may have pain-relieving effects. Use cautiously with agents that also exert pain relief.
Suma may have antibacterial effects. Use cautiously with agents that also may have antibacterial activity.
Suma may have anti-inflammatory effects. Use cautiously with agents that also may have anti-inflammatory activity.
Suma may lower cholesterol levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower cholesterol levels.
Suma may exert anticancer effects. Caution is advised when using medications that may also have similar effects.
Suma may exert hormonal effects. Caution is advised when using medications that may also have similar effects.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Suma may have pain-relieving effects. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that also exert pain relief.
Suma may have antibacterial effects. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that also may have antibacterial activity.
Suma may have anti-inflammatory effects. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that also may have anti-inflammatory activity.
Suma may lower cholesterol levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower cholesterol levels.
Suma may exert anticancer effects. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also have similar effects.
Suma may exert hormonal effects. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also have similar effects.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
- Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, et al. Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 Mar;143(1):15-9.
- da Silva TC, Paula da Silva A, Akisue G, et al. Inhibitory effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in a mouse hepatocarcinogenesis model. Cancer Lett. 2005 Aug 26;226(2):107-13.
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- Nagamine MK, da Silva TC, Matsuzaki P, et al. Cytotoxic effects of butanolic extract from Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on cultured human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2009 Jan;61(1):75-82..
- Oshima M, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev. 2003 Apr;49(2):175-80.
- Subiza J, Subiza JL, Escribano PM, et al. Occupational asthma caused by Brazil ginseng dust. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1991 Nov;88(5):731-6.
- Watanabe T, Watanabe M, Watanabe Y, et al. Effects of oral administration of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on incidence of spontaneous leukemia in AKR/J mice. Cancer Detect Prev. 2000;24(2):173-8.
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)