|Common Names |
|Suma Root , Brazilian ginseng |
|Botanical Name |
|Pfaffia paniculata |
How to Use|
Side Effects |
Plant & Garden|
Suma root has the ability to act as an adaptogen, helping the body to cope with stress, increasing energy levels, and resistance to disease. Suma root has been marketed under the name "Brazilian Ginseng", in part to trade on the familiarity with ginseng among North American herbalists. This name is misleading, while suma does display similar properties to that of ginseng Pfaffia paniculata is not part of the ginseng plant family, it is an amaranth. Limited Japanese studies in the 1970's identified some minor anti-cancer activity for suma, but there are no major studies to either prove or disprove the benefits of this botanical. 1
Preparation Methods & Dosage :The dry root has a spicy-vanilla like flavor that can be made into a very tasty tea, the powdered root can be sprinkled on food or in beverages. Also found as liquid herbal extract, and capsules (non-standardized) from powdered root.
Suma Root Side Effects:
None noted, however this herb is a relatively unknown quality here in North America, and has not been subject to much study. The long history of suma root as a food speaks well of its safety, but as with all stimulants, do not use on a continuous basis.
Suma is a rambling ground vine indigenous to the rainforests of South America, most notably Brazil. Though commonly sold under the name Brazilian ginseng, suma root is a member of the pigweed family and is more closely related to Chenopodium
Regional Traditions :Central and South America *
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Suma is known as Para Toda
which means "for all things," to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon who used suma both as a food and tonic for many different illnesses.
- Wallace, E. Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature's Solution to Stress Nutrition Science News. May 1998:3(5):244-250.
American Botanical Council
The effects of suma (Pfaffia paniculata), a Brazilian herb with purported adaptogenic activity have not been studied much; the author notes that the herb contains vitamins A, E, B1 and B2, and 19 amino acids including lysine, histidine, arginine and glycine. Anecdotes from Japan and elsewhere suggest that suma can be beneficial for bronchitis, high cholesterol, anemia, diabetes, fatigue and stress, and may help alleviate pain.