Suma has acquired different scientific names since its discovery, such as Pfaffia paniculata. This can lead to confusion as different sources may refer to the same plant by different names.
Suma is often referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” although this name is a bit misleading, as the plant is not related to what most people commonly know as ginseng.
Traditional Uses of Suma Root
Suma’s medical properties were originally discovered by indigenous cultures throughout South and Central America
Suma has been used as a general “cure-all” for many different conditions including:
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing pain
- Alleviating digestive issues
- Boosting physical energy
- As an aphrodisiac
- Erectile dysfunction
Interestingly, many of the medicinal applications of Suma root in traditional medicine have been validated by modern science.
As a result, Suma products have become popular as nutritional supplements.
Components of Suma Root
Suma is rich in a large variety of nutrients, minerals, and other compounds.
The potent antioxidants in suma root play a key role in protecting the brain and other organ damage, and are critical for preventing disease and fighting the long-term effects of aging.
The electrolytes, amino acids, minerals (magnesium, iron, and zinc), and vitamins (A, B1, B2, E, K1, and K2) in suma’s root are crucial metabolic “building-blocks” for the body as a whole. Suma’s nutritional profile helps provide the body with the essential compounds to maintain optimal health.
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1) Suma Is an Adaptogen
Suma is an adaptogen, which means that it improves the body’s ability to cope with stress and provides resistance against diseases and various other harmful biological and environmental factors
In other words, suma has a restorative and balancing effect on many biological processes throughout the body and brain
2) Suma Protects Against Cancer
Suma can potentially prevent cancer. Cancerous mice treated with Suma root extract survived significantly longer than untreated mice. Suma root extract decreases the size of breast cancers in mice
Suma also prevents leukemia in adult mice
Similar results have been found in an in vitro study of human breast cancer cells, suggesting that Suma’s anti-cancer effects may also apply to humans
Suma’s anti-cancer effects are believed to come from pfaffic acid in suma’s roots
Suma root may kill cancer cells by triggering apoptosis, without damaging healthy cells
Suma may also help the immune system to target cancer cells early in tumor formation, thereby eliminating cancer cells before they have a chance to spread to the rest of the body
Suma root may be a potent anti-cancer supplement. However, in most of the studies, suma generally appears to slow down the rate of tumor growth, but not reverse or cure it altogether. Therefore, while suma may help to prevent cancer and slow its progression, it should not be mistaken for a cancer cure.
3) Suma May Help Build Muscle
Ecdysteroids from the Suma plant act like anabolic steroids, the hormones involved in building muscle
Ecdysteroids can enhance physical strength and athletic performance without the negative side-effects associated with traditional steroids
Suma has the potential to be used for healing muscle injuries, as well as for treating diseases involving muscular atrophy
Interestingly, some researchers have cautioned that suma could be considered a “doping” agent in athletic competitions
Several studies on suma found that ecdysteroids accelerate the rate of muscle growth, improve physical endurance, and reduce body fat by up to 10% when paired with a high-protein diet.
4) Suma Is an Energy Booster
Suma helps boost physical energy levels, especially for athletes involved in high-intensity exercise regimens
Even though suma is not a stimulant, it enhances physical energy because of its rich nutritional profile.
Suma contains many different electrolytes, essential amino acids, and minerals
Suma’s high electrolyte and amino acid content helps restore many essential compounds lost through sweating and physical exertion. Suma’s rich vitamin and mineral content provides many of the body’s metabolic “building-blocks
For these reasons, athletes can benefit greatly from foods and compounds high in vitamin B, such as suma.
5) Suma May Boost Testosterone Levels
Mice fed with suma-infused water for 30 days showed significantly higher levels of testosterone compared to a control group
However, the only existing human study on ecdysteroids did not find significantly increased levels of testosterone
Even if suma does not directly increase testosterone levels, many of its nutritional contents are key metabolic building blocks for testosterone synthesis – such as vitamins A and D, and zinc.