Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) root powder - Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) root powder - Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) root powder - Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) root powder - Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) root powder Suma Powder

Pfaffia paniculata

This product is no longer sold by Raintree Nutrition, Inc. See the main product page for more information why. Try doing a google search or see the rainforest products page to find other companies selling rainforest herbal supplements or rainforest plants if you want to make this rainforest formula yourself.

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).* For more information about suma (Pfaffia paniculata), please refer to the Database File for Suma in the Tropical Plant Database. To see pictures of suma, click here.

Traditional Uses:* as a general tonic (tones, balances, strengthens) for balancing, energizing, rejuvenating and muscle growth; for hormonal disorders (menopause, PMS, etc.); for chronic fatigue and general tiredness; for sexual disorders (impotency, frigidity, low libido, etc.); for sickle cell anemia

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.

Third-Party Published Research*

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:
Nakamura, S., et al. "Brazilian natural medicines. IV. New noroleanane-type triterpene and ecdysterone-type sterol glycosides and melanogenesis inhibitors from the roots of Pfaffia glomerata." Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2010 May;58(5):690-5.
da Silva, T., et al. "Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) roots decrease proliferation and increase apoptosis but do not affect cell communication in murine hepatocarcinogenesis." Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2010 Mar;62(2):145-55.
Nagamine, M., 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
Carneiro, C., et al. "Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice." Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2007 Aug;58(6):427-31.
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, Antioxidant, & Cellular-Protective:
Calgaroto, N., et al. "Antioxidant system activation by mercury in Pfaffia glomerata plantlets." Biometals. 2010 Apr;23(2):295-305.
Gao, L., et al. "Beta-ecdysterone induces osteogenic differentiation in mouse mesenchymal stem cells and relieves osteoporosis." Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Dec;31(12):2245-9.
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:
Freitas, C., et al. "Involvement of glutamate and cytokine pathways on antinociceptive effect of Pfaffia glomerata in mice." J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Apr 21;122(3):468-72.
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.

Anti-Melanogenesis(Skin Whitening) Actions:
Nakamura, S., et al. "Brazilian natural medicines. IV. New noroleanane-type triterpene and ecdysterone-type sterol glycosides and melanogenesis inhibitors from the roots of Pfaffia glomerata." Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2010 May;58(5):690-5.

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.

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by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is
not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.
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Last updated 12-28-2012