Suma  traditionally used as aadaptogen, tonic, aphrodisiac, steroidal, immunostimulant SUMA

Family: Amaranthaceae

Genus: Pfaffia

Species: paniculata

Synonyms: Hebanthe paniculata, Gomphrena paniculata, G. eriantha, Iresine erianthos, I. paniculata, I. tenuis, Pfaffia eriantha, Xeraea paniculata

Common names: Suma, Brazilian ginseng, pfaffia, para toda, corango-acu

Price: £22.50 – 1lb / 454 gm [wp_eStore_add_to_cart id=141]

Part Used: Root

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • supports hormones
  • inhibits blood sickling
  • adaptogenic
  • lowers cholesterol
Decoction: 1 cup twice daily
  • relieves pain
  • calms nerves
Capsules: 1-2 g twice daily
  • reduces inflammation
  • inhibits tumor growth
  • inhibits cancer
  • increases libido
  • kills leukemia cells
  • oxygenates cells
  • enhances immunity

Suma is a large, rambling, shrubby ground vine with an intricate, deep, and extensive root system. It is indigenous to the Amazon basin and other tropical parts of (southern) Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Since its first botanical recording in 1826, it has been referred to by several botanical names, including Pfaffia paniculata, Hebanthe paniculata, and Gomphrena paniculata. The genus Pfaffia is well known in Central and South America, with over 50 species growing in the warmer tropical regions.


In South America suma is known as para toda (which means “for all things”) and as Brazilian ginseng, since it is widely used as an adaptogen with many applications (much as “regular” ginseng). The indigenous peoples of the Amazon region who named it para toda have used suma root for generations for a wide variety of health purposes, including as a general tonic; as an energy, rejuvenating, and sexual tonic; and as a general cure-all for many types of illnesses. Suma has been used as an aphrodisiac, a calming agent, and to treat ulcers for at least 300 years. It is an important herbal remedy in the folk medicine of several rainforest Indian tribes today.

In herbal medicine throughout the world today, suma is considered a tonic and an adaptogen. The herbal definition of an adaptogen is a plant that increases the body’s resistance to adverse influences by a wide range of physical, chemical, and biochemical factors and has a normalizing or restorative effect on the body as a whole. In modern Brazilian herbal medicine practices, suma root is employed as a cellular oxygenator and taken to stimulate appetite and circulation, increase estrogen production, balance blood sugar levels, enhance the immune system, strengthen the muscular system, and enhance memory.

In North American herbal medicine, suma root is used as an adaptogenic and regenerative tonic regulating many systems of the body; as an immunostimulant; to treat exhaustion and chronic fatigue, impotence, arthritis, anemia, diabetes, cancer, tumors, mononucleosis, high blood pressure, PMS, menopause, and hormonal disorders, and many types of stress. In herbal medicine in Ecuador today, suma is considered a tonic and “normalizer” for the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, the reproductive system, and the digestive system; it is used to treat hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction and sterility, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, circulatory and digestive disorders, rheumatism, and bronchitis. Thomas Bartram, in his book Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, reports that suma is used in Europe to restore nerve and glandular functions, to balance the endocrine system, to strengthen the immune system, for infertility, menopausal, and menstrual symptoms, to minimize the side effects of birth control medications, for high cholesterol, to neutralize toxins, and as a general restorative tonic after illness.


Nutritionally, suma root contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes, trace minerals, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. Its high germanium content probably accounts for its properties as an oxygenator at the cellular level; its high iron content may account for its traditional use for anemia. The root also contains novel phytochemicals including saponins, pfaffic acids, glycosides, and nortriterpenes.

Suma has also been called “the Russian secret,” as it has been taken by Russian Olympic athletes for many years and has been reported to increase muscle-building and endurance without the side effects associated with steroids. This action is attributed to an anabolic-type phytochemical called beta-ecdysterone and three novel ecdysteroid glycosides that are found in high amounts in suma. Suma is such a rich source of beta-ecdysterone that it is the subject of a Japanese patent for the extraction methods employed to obtain it from suma root (approximately 2.5 g of beta-ecdysterone can be extracted from 400 g of powdered suma root-or .63%). These same Japanese researchers filed a U.S. patent in 1998 for a proprietary extract of suma (which extracted the ecdysterone and beta-ecdysterone); it claimed (through various in vivo and in vitro studies) that their compound maintained health, enhanced the immune system, and had a tonic and an anti-allergenic effect. A French company also filed a U.S. patent on the topical use of these ecdysterone chemicals, claiming that their suma ecdysterone extract strengthened the water barrier function of the skin, increased skin keratinocyte differentiation (which would be helpful for psoriasis), gave the skin a smoother, softer appearance and, also, improved hair appearance.

Suma root has a very high saponin content (up to 11%). In phytochemistry, plant saponins are well known to have a wide spectrum of activities including lowering blood cholesterol, inhibiting cancer cell growth, and acting as antifungal and antibacterial agents. They are also known as natural detergent and foaming agents. Phytochemists report that saponins can act by binding with bile acids and cholesterol. It is thought that these chemicals “clean” or purge these fatty compounds from the body (thus lowering blood cholesterol levels). One of the most famous plant saponins is digitalis, derived from the common foxglove garden plant, which has been used as a heart drug for over 100 years.

The specific saponins found in the roots of suma include a group of novel phytochemicals that scientists have named pfaffosides. These saponins have clinically demonstrated the ability to inhibit cultured tumor cell melanomas (in vitro) and help to regulate blood sugar levels (in vivo). The pfaffosides and pfaffic acid derivatives in suma were patented as antitumor compounds in several Japanese patents in the mid-1980s. In a study described in one of the patents, researchers reported that an oral dosage of 100 mg/kg (of suma saponins) given to rats was active against abdominal cancer. The other patents and Japanese research report that the pfaffic acids found in suma root had a strong in vitro activity against melanoma, liver carcinoma, and lung carcinoma cells at only 4-6 mcg of pfaffic acids. However, it should be noted that this equates to taking 400 to 600 g (about 1 pound) of natural suma root daily to achieve the therapeutic dosage of pfaffic acids reported to demonstrate toxic activity against these cancer cells. As such, it will probably be left up to the pharmaceutical companies to provide synthesized versions of these chemicals in therapeutic amounts.

Suma’s main plant chemicals are: allantoin, beta-ecdysterone, beta-sitosterol, daucosterol, germanium, iron, magnesium, nortriterpenoids, pantothenic acid, pfaffic acids, pfaffosides A-F, polypodine B, saponins, silica, stigmasterol, stigmasterol-3-o-beta-d-glucoside, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and zinc.


In addition to the pfaffic acids having anticancerous activity, recent research in Japan (in 2000) reported that natural suma root had anti-cancerous activity as well. In this in vivo study, an oral administration of powdered suma root (at a dosages of 750 mg/kg) was reported to inhibit the proliferation of lymphoma and leukemia in mice and, otherwise, delay mortality. Notice, however, that this antiproliferative effect slowed the growth of these cancer cells – it did not eradicate them. These researchers postulated that the inhibitory effect evidenced might be due to the enhancement of the nonspecific and/or cellular immune systems.

In 1995, another U.S. patent was filed which detailed some beneficial effects of suma root against sickle-cell anemia. In a double blind placebo human study, they reported that 15 patients taking suma root for three months (1000 mg three times daily) increased hemoglobin levels, inhibited red blood cell sickling and, generally, improved their physical condition by reducing side effects during the treatment. These results were statistically higher than the 15 other patients on placebo. Unfortunately, once treatment was discontinued, symptoms and blood parameters returned to their pretreated state within 3-6 months. It was reported, however, that several patients in the study remained on the suma supplement for three years or longer. They reportedly maintained consistent improvement and a higher quality of life with no side effects. Other U.S. researchers (in 2000) studied suma root’s actual mechanism of action in its ability to resickle blood cells and reported their findings-which again confirmed an antisickling effect and a rehydration effect of sickled cells (in vitro).

In other research, suma demonstrated analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in various in vivo rat and mouse studies. Another tested activity focused on its long history of use as a sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac. Researchers verified this traditional use, reporting in a 1999 clinical study that a suma root extract was able to increase the sexual performance in healthy, sexually sluggish and impotent rats. In 2001, a U.S. patent was filed on a multi-plant combination containing suma for sexual enhancement in humans. The patent indicated that the suma extract tested increased sexual performance and function.

Toxicity studies with humans indicated no toxicity at an oral dosage of 1.5 g of the root. Another orally-administered toxicity study with rats also reported no toxicity-even when suma root represented 50% of the rats’ food supply for 30 days. However, mice injected subcutaneously with the equivalent of 5 gm/kg (in an ethanol extract) evidenced sedation, drop in body temperature, and loss of motor coordination; mortality was observed at 10 g/kg (again, in an ethanolic extract) when injected in mice.


Suma is another excellent example of a highly beneficial rainforest plant that has many activities and applications – with clinical research validating its traditional uses. No wonder it’s called “for all things” throughout South America! With its varied applications – from cancer and sickle cell anemia to its sexual stimulant and tonic qualities – it is finally becoming more popular and well known in North American herbal medicine practices as well. Suma root products are now more widely available in health food stores; several encapsulated, ground-root products (and root extracts in capsules and liquid extracts) are available on the shelves under various labels. There is also at least one standardized extract (standardized to the saponin content) that has made a recent appearance on the market.

Main Preparation Method: decoction or capsulesMain Actions (in order):
adaptogen, tonic (tones, balances, strengthens), aphrodisiac, steroidal, immunostimulant Main Uses: 

  1. as a general tonic (tones, balances, strengthens) for balancing, energizing, rejuvenating and muscle growth
  2. for hormonal disorders (menopause, PMS, etc)
  3. for chronic fatigue and general tiredness
  4. for sexual disorders (impotency, frigidity, low libido, etc)
  5. for sickle cell anemia

Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-inflammatory, antitumorous, anticancerous, antileukemic, aphrodisiac, cellular protector, hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), immunomodulator (selectively modulates overactive immune cells), steroidalOther Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
adaptogen, anti-allergy, antioxidant, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), carminative (expels gas), estrogenic, immunostimulant, nervine (balances/calms nerves), stimulant, tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions)

Cautions: It may have estrogen-like effects. Do not use with estrogen-positive cancers.








Traditional Preparation: The Brazilian traditional remedy calls for preparing a standard decoction with 10 g of suma root boiled in a liter of water; two cups of the decoction are generally taken daily. Herbalists and health practitioners also employ suma root powder in capsules (the decoction tastes quite bitter) with the reported dosage being 2-4 g daily depending on body weight and health condition and this daily dosage is usually taken in two or three divided dosages throughout the day. For standardized or liquid extract products, follow the labeled dosage instructions. See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.


Suma has been documented to contain a significant amount of plant sterols including a significant amount of beta-ecdysterone and small amounts of stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol. These sterols might have estrogenic properties or activities and/ or cause an increase in estrogen production (not clinically proven) as this plant has been used traditionally to regulate menstrual processes, as well as to treat menopause, PMS, and other hormonal disorders. As such, it is advisable for women with estrogen-positive cancers to avoid the use of this plant.

The root powder has been reported to cause asthmatic allergic reactions if inhaled. When handling raw suma root powder or preparing decoctions with root powder, avoid inhalation of the root powder/dust.

Ingestion of large amounts of plant saponins in general (naturally occurring chemicals in suma) has shown to sometimes cause mild gastric disturbances including nausea and stomach cramping. Reduce dosages if these side effects are noted.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

Brazil for anemia, arthritis, asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, circulation problems, diabetes, Epstein-Barr, hypertension, hyperglycemia, immune disorders, impotence, inflammation, leukemia, lymphatic diseases, mononucleosis, pain, rejuvenator, rheumatism, skin problems, stress, tranquilizer, tremors, tumors, ulcers, and as an aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant, and antioxidant
Ecuador for arteriosclerosis, bronchitis, circulatory problems, diabetes, digestive disorders, hormonal problems, rheumatism, sexual dysfunction, sterility
Europe for endocrine disorders, fertility, high cholesterol, immune disorders, menopause, menstrual disorders, nerve problems, stress
Japan for cancer, steroid enhancement, tumors
Russia for muscle growth, steroid enhancement
Peru for fevers, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, flatulence, stomach pains
U.S. for chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, Epstein-Barr, hormonal disorders, hypertension, impotence, menopause, mononucleosis, nervousness, PMS, sickle cell anemia, stress


The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2005

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† The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.


1. “Suma is called “Brazilian ginseng” because it is a near panacea in Brazil. Although it is not a true ginseng from the Panax plant family; like ginseng, it has both adaptogenic and immune-enhancing properties. Some researchers report that it has the ability to strengthen the immune system and reduce tumors. Other researchers have found that Suma acts primarily as a regulator of the endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal and digestive systems without stimulatory or inhibitory effects, thus classifying it as a true adaptogen. An important ingredient in Suma is the saponin nortriterpenoid. Six different pfaffic acid sugar compounds have been isolated from nortriterpenoid. Five of these six pfaffic acid derivatives inhibit cultured tumor cell melanomas and some of them have been reported to regulate blood sugar levels. Two plant hormones, sitosterol and stigmasterol, also occur naturally in Suma. They have been reported to encourage estrogen production and reduce high serum cholesterol levels. Beta-ecdysone, another plant steroid isolated from Suma facilitates cellular oxygenation. Nutritional analysis has found that Suma contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes and trace minerals including iron, magnesium, cobalt, silica, zinc and the vitamins A, B-1, B-2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. It is especially high in the trace element germanium which is considered an oxygenator and is used as a nutritional supplement for the immune system. Suma is reported to increase chi (energy flow in the body). It has been used as a tonic, an aphrodisiac, a calming agent, and in the treatment of ulcers for at least 300 years.”

2. “Suma has been called “para todo” which means “for all things” by the Brazilians. It is said to be the South American version of ginseng. It contains up to eleven percent saponins. Derivations from saponins have been patented as antitumor compounds. Suma has been used to help many chronic diseases including leukemia, arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, mononucleosis, candida, hypoglycemia, Epstein Barr Syndrome, high cholesterol, and the early stages of cancer. It seems to balance female hormones and is good for menopause. It is also used for impotency and frigidity.”

3. “ACTIONS: Increases energy, Boosts immunity, Inhibits tumors, Regulates blood sugar levels, Balances hormones. TRADITIONAL USE: Suma has been proved to increase oxygen in the system, boosting energy and immunity. In the Amazon it is called “Para Todo’ which means “for everything’. Studies conducted by scientists on three continents suggest that unique chemicals present in Suma inhibit tumor cell growth. Research indicates the presence of germanium as one of the active constituents in Suma. Because of this it is an excellent catalyst and increases oxygen at the cellular level. Based on years of clinical experiments, researchers believe Suma is both safe and effective. Suma balances hormones and increases energy by increasing oxygen at the cellular level. MERIDIAN INDICATIONS: Increases Qi, Liver blood tonic, Increases Yang in Lung and Heart meridian, Regulates Triple Warmer, primarily Upper Burner. EVA POINTS: Triple Warmer (endocrine system), Spleen, Liver, Heart”

5. “Suma has properties that combat anemia, fatigue, stress, and diabetes. An immune system booster. In Brazil suma was reported to be more powerful than ginseng, and it is referred to as Brazilian ginseng. Research in Japan found that the suma root contains pfaffic acid, which is capable of inhibiting certain types of cancerous cells. Dr. Takemoto was the first to study suma in Japan.”

11. Article 1: “Suma, called “Brazilian ginseng,” strengthens the immune system and reduces tumor formation. Of six pfaffic acid sugar compounds isolated from this plant, five of them were shown to inhibit cultured tumor cell melanomas. The nutrient composition of Suma shows it especially high in the trace element germanium, very important for proper immune system function. Suma is also a cellular oxygenator and contains two plant hormones, sitosterol and stigmasterol, which encourage estrogen production and reduce high serum cholesterol levels. Some patients report an increased resistance to extreme highs or lows in the temperature of their environment from Suma.”

Article 2: “Of the more than 200,000 plant species found in the Amazon, many have been found to contain hormone-like compounds that are quite similar to estrogen and testosterone. These plants have been traditionally used to treat women with PMS, menopause and miscarriages, and men with impotence and prostatitis. One of the most effective herbs from the Amazon for female problems is Suma. Suma is called “Brazilian ginseng” because of the wide variety of conditions it is used to treat in Brazil. Researchers report that it acts primarily as a regulator of the endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. Suma is classified as a true adaptogen. Adaptogens differ from other herbs in that they can be used safely on a daily basis. Their action is normalizing, as opposed to stimulating or inhibitive. Two plant hormones, sitosterol and stigmasterol, occur naturally in Suma. These two plant hormones are phytoestrogens, plant compounds that mimic some of the properties of estrogen. Another plant compound found in Suma, beta-ecdysone, facilitates cellular oxygenation. Mary Ellen found that by taking a combination of Amazon herbs containing phytoestrogens, her menopausal symptoms stopped quickly. Plants containing phyto-estrogens have been found to be protective against female hormonal-related cancers, including breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, and endometriosis.”

Article 3: “Of these eight herbs, Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) is by far the most well-researched. Studies by Okui and Otaka dating back to 1968 revealed that the plant enhanced muscle-building without producing the negative hormonal effects steroids are noted for. By 1976, the Russian scientist V.N. Syrov was convinced that the anabolic agent in Suma was beta-ecdysterone. This gave the Russians the competitive edge in the Olympics, and Suma began to be called “the Russian Secret.”

A dosage of 500 mg. of Suma twice a day helped all athletes during any stage of their training, according to a research report by Health Research which studied amateur athletes. Experiment participants first noted a “sense of well-being” within 3-5 days, and a new increased desire to get to their next training session. Weight lifters experienced much less pain during heavy lifts when they took Suma. These researchers recommended 500 mg. for every 40 lbs. of body weight, spread out evenly in two divided doses, for the maximum gain in muscle strength and size. During a 54-day period (almost 8 weeks), the dosage was only taken on days 1-10, 16-25, and days 31-40. Despite the 24 days off the herb, researchers reported that Suma’s effects were still felt by the athletes on the off days.”

15.” A number of other herbs have been receiving good reports as strengtheners of the immune system. Among the most prominent of these are chaparral, Pau d’Arco, tang-kuei, hoelen, various Chinese formulas, and the Suma brand of Pfaffia paniculata.” “(Pfaffia paniculata). Enhances energy and vitality and shows great promise as a healing agent in chronic disorders believed to result from a lowered immune response.”

21. “Pfaffia

In the warmer parts of Central and South America this genus comprises approximately 50 mostly shrubby species. One, P. paniculata, is known as Brazilian ginseng. It contains up to 11% of saponins (Howard-Williams, 1977). These are glycosides of nortriterpenes (Nishimoto, 1984; De Oliveira, 1980), derivatives of which have been patented as antitumor compounds (Takemoto, 1972).”

Third-Party Published Research on Suma

All available third-party research on suma be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the third-party published research on suma is shown below: Anticancerous & Antileukemic Actions:

Matsuzaki, P., et al. “Antineoplastic effects of butanolic residue of Pfaffia paniculata.” Cancer Lett. 2006 Jul; 238(1): 85-9.

da Silva, T. C., et al. “Inhibitory effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in a mouse hepatocarcinogenesis model.” Cancer Lett. 2005 Aug; 226(2): 107-13.

Matsuzaki, P., et al. “Effect of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on the Ehrlich tumor in its ascitic form.” Life Sci. 2003 Dec; 74(5): 573-9.

Watanabe, T., 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.

Takemoto, T., et al. “Pfaffic acids and its derivatives.” Japanese patent no 84/10,548. January 20, 1984.

Takemoto, T., et al. “Antitumor pfaffosides from Brazilian carrots.” Japanese patent no. 84/184,198. October 19, 1984.

Takemoto, T., et al. “Pfaffic acids and its derivatives.” Japanese patent no. (SHO-WA)-118872; 1982. 16 pp.

Nishimoto, N., et al. “Pfaffosides and nortriterpenoid saponins from Pfaffia paniculata” Phytochemistry. 1984; 23(1): 139–42.

Nakai, S., et al. “Pfaffosides. Part 2. Pfaffosides, nortriterpenoid saponins from Pfaffia paniculata.” Phytochemistry. 1984; 23(8): 1703–05.

Takemoto, T., et al. “Pfaffic acid, a novel nortriterpene from Pfaffia paniculata Kuntze.” Tetrahedron Lett. 1983; 24(10): 1057-60.

Hormonal & Aphrodisiac Actions:

Oshima, M., et al. “Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice.” J. Reprod. Dev. 2003 Apr; 49(2): 175-80.

Arletti, R., et al. “Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual behavior of male rats.” Psychopharmacology. 1999; 143(1): 15–9.

Matsumoto, I., “Beta-ecdysone from Pfaffia paniculata.” Japanese patent no. 82/118,422. January 20, 1984.

de Oliveira, F. G., et al. “Contribution to the pharmacognostic study of Brazilian ginseng Pfaffia paniculata.” An. Farm. Quim. 1980; 20(1–2): 277–361.

Nishimoto, N., et al. “Three ecdysteroid glycosides from Pfaffia.” Phytochemistry. 1988; 27(6): 1665–68.

Adaptogenic, Immunostimulant, & Cellular-Protective:

Mendes, F. R., et al. “Brazilian plants as possible adaptogens: An ethnopharmacological survey of books edited in Brazil.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Feb; 109(3): 493-500.

Pinello, K.C., et al. “Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity.” Life Sci. 2006 Feb; 78(12): 1287-92.

Freitas, C. S., et al. “Involvement of nitric oxide in the gastroprotective effects of an aqueous extract of Pfaffia glomerata (Spreng) Pedersen, Amaranthaceae, in rats.” Life Sci. 2004 Jan; 74(9): 1167-79.

Ballas, S. K., et al. “Hydration of sickle erythrocytes using a herbal extract (Pfaffia paniculata) in vitro.” Brit. J. Hematol. 2000; 111(1): 359–362.

Araujo, J. T. “Brazilian ginseng derivatives for treatment of sickle cell symptomatology.” US. patent #5,449,516. Sept. 12, 1995.

Anti-inflammatory & Pain-Relieving Actions:

Teixeira, C. G., et al. “Involvement of the nitric oxide/soluble guanylate cyclase pathway in the anti-oedematogenic action of Pfaffia glomerata (Spreng) Pedersen in mice.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2006 May; 58(5): 667-75.

Neto, A. G., et al. “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of a crude root extract of Pfaffia glomerata (Spreng) Pedersen.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan; 96(1-2): 87-91.

Mazzanti, G., et al. “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory action of Pfaffia paniculata (Martius) Kuntze.” Phytother. Res. 1994; 8(7): 413-16.

Mazzanti, G., et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of Pfaffia paniculata (Martius) Kuntze and Pfaffia stenophylla (Sprengel) Stuchl.” Pharmacol. Res. 1993; 27(1): 91–92.

Memory Enhancement Actions:

Marques L. C., et al. “Psychopharmacological assessment of Pfaffia glomerata roots (extract BNT-08) in rodents.” Phytother. Res. 2004 Jul; 18(7): 566-72.

de-Paris, F., et al. “Psychopharmacological screening of Pfaffia glomerata Spreng. (Amarathanceae) in rodents.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Nov; 73(1-2): 261-9.

Ingredients: 100% pure suma root (Pfaffia paniculata). No binders, fillers or additives are used. It has been organically cultivated in Brazil without any pesticides or fertilizers.

Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as a decoction. Use one teaspoon of powder for each cup of water. Bring to a boil and gently boil in a covered pot for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and settle for 10 minutes and strain warm liquid into a cup (leaving the settled powder in the bottom of the pan). It is traditionally taken in 1 cup dosages, 2-3 times daily. For more complete instructions on preparing herbal decoctions, see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.


Suma has been documented to contain a significant amount of plant sterols including a significant amount of beta-ecdysterone and small amounts of stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol. Animal studies suggest that suma can raise estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels. In addition, this plant has been traditionally used in Brazil to regulate menstrual processes, as well as for menopause, PMS, and other hormonal disorders. As such, it is advisable for women with estrogen-positive cancers to avoid the use of this plant.

Other Observations:

The root powder has been reported to cause asthmatic allergic reactions if inhaled. When handling raw suma root powder or preparing decoctions with root powder, avoid inhalation of the root powder/dust.

Ingestion of large amounts of plant saponins in general (naturally occurring chemicals in suma) has shown to sometimes cause mild gastric disturbances including nausea and stomach cramping. Reduce dosages if these side effects are noted.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

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