Herbal Ergogenics: Suma Root

buff man curlingSuma Root (Pfaffia paniculata) is also commonly known as Brazilian ginseng as it has effects similar to those of ginseng. Suma root has been used by South American Indians to increase energy levels, treat sexual impotence, and to regulate certain body systems. Suma root contains many active constituents including beta-ecdysterone.

Suma root appears to act as adaptogen, helping the body adjust to physical and mental stress. As an adaptogen, suma root may increase endurance and speed the recovery of the central nervous system and muscles from training. Additional benefits of suma root supported by research are that it may boost immune system function, boost sexual function, and act as an anti-inflammatory. Research has also suggested that suma root may have anti-cancer properties.

Suma root definitely has some benefits to the athlete. Endurance athletes and those utilizing high volume weight lifting programs may especially benefit from supplementing with suma root. Suma root is included in some adaptogenic and sports supplements for its adaptogenic effects. It is also available in capsules, liquid, and as a bulk powder.


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2. da Silva TC, Cogliati B, da Silva AP, Fukumasu H, Akisue G, Nagamine MK, Matsuzaki P, Haraguchi M, Gorniak SL, & Dagli ML. (2010). Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) roots decrease proliferation and increase apoptosis but do not affect cell communication in murine hepatocarcinogenesis. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology : Official Journal of the Gesellschaft Fur Toxikologische Pathologie. 62(2), 145-55.

3. Pinello KC, Fonseca Ede S, Akisue G, Silva AP, Salgado Oloris SC, Sakai M, Matsuzaki P, Nagamine MK, Palermo Neto J, & Dagli ML. (2006). Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity. Life Sciences. 78(12), 1287-92.

4. Oshima M, & Gu Y. (2003). Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. The Journal of Reproduction and Development. 49(2), 175-80.

5. Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, Scarpetta G, & Bertolini A. (1999). Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology. 143(1), 15-9.

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