Suma (Pfaffia paniculata)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (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.
Allantoin, Amaranthaceae (family), beta-ecdysterone, beta-sitosterol, beta-sitosterol-beta-D-glucoside, Brazilian ginseng, butanolic extract, calcium, corango-açu (Portuguese - Brazil), copper, daucosterol, ecdysteroid glucosides, germanium, ginseng brasileiro (Portuguese - Brazil), 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 spp., 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-beta-D-glucoside, strontium, titanium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, Xeraea paniculata, zinc.
Suma is a large, shrubby, ground vine native to the Amazon basin and other tropical parts of South America. It has been used historically for various conditions, such as menstrual disorders and has also been used as a sexual enhancement agent, bodybuilding agent, and as a general tonic. According to early research, suma may have potential as an anticancer agent. Limited research suggests that suma may have hormonal effects and increase sexual performance.
High-quality human trials supporting the effectiveness of suma for any condition in humans 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.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*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 or scientific theories. 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 health care professional.
Adaptogen, analgesic (pain relief), anemia, anti-inflammatory, anxiety, appetite stimulant, arthritis, blood circulation, blood disorders (sickle cell), bronchitis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, digestion, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormonal disorders, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), immune enhancement, increased muscle mass, leukemia, libido (sexual desire), 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)
Suma has been taken by mouth as a capsule, decoction, extract, powder, root powder, or tea. At this time, there is no proven safe or effective dose for suma in adults.
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 in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity 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. Symptoms of asthma have been reported in a patient who worked in a plant that manufactured suma capsules. Suma may affect estrogen-related processes, such as menstruation.
Use cautiously in patients with hormone-sensitive conditions, as suma may cause an increase in estrogen or testosterone production.
Use cautiously in patients with heart conditions, as suma may cause chest pain.
Use cautiously in patients with gastrointestinal disorders, as ingestion may cause mild gastrointestinal disturbances, including nausea and stomach cramping.
Avoid in patients with known allergy or sensitivity to suma, its constituents, or members of the Amaranthaceae family.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence on the use of suma during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
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 interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, anti-inflammatory agents, cholesterol-lowering drugs, hormonal agents, or pain relievers.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Suma may interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, hormonal herbs and supplements, or pain relievers.
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 developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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;143(1):15-9. View Abstract
Ballas SK. Hydration of sickle erythrocytes using a herbal extract (Pfaffia paniculata) in vitro. Br J Haematol 2000;111(1):359-362. View Abstract
Bucci LR. Selected herbals and human exercise performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72(2 Suppl):624S-636S. View Abstract
Carneiro CS, Costa-Pinto FA, da Silva AP, et al. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol 2007;58(6):427-431. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
Kim KM, Kwon HS, Jeon SG, et al. Korean ginseng-induced occupational asthma and determination of IgE binding components. J Korean Med Sci. 2008;23(2):232-5. View Abstract
Matsuzaki P, Akisue G, Salgado Oloris SC, et al. Effect of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on the Ehrlich tumor in its ascitic form. Life Sci 2003;74(5):573-579. View Abstract
Matsuzaki P, Haraguchi M, Akisue G, et al. Antineoplastic effects of butanolic residue of Pfaffia paniculata. Cancer Lett 2006;238(1):85-89. View Abstract
Mazzanti G, Braghiroli L. Analgesic antiinflammatory action of Pfaffia paniculata (Martius) kuntze. Phytother Res 1994;8(7):413-416.
Mendes FR, Carlini EA. Brazilian plants as possible adaptogens: an ethnopharmacological survey of books edited in Brazil.J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;109(3):493-500. View Abstract
Oshima M, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev 2003;49(2):175-80. View Abstract
Pinello KC, Fonseca ES, Akisue G, et al. Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity. Life Sci 2006;78(12):1287-1292. View Abstract
Subiza J, Subiza JL, Escribano PM, et al. Occupational asthma caused by Brazil ginseng dust. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1991;88(5):731-6. View Abstract
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. View Abstract
Zucchi OL, Moreira S, de Jesus EF, et al. Characterization of hypoglycemiant plants by total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Biol Trace Elem Res 2005;103(3):277-290. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
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.
March 22, 2017