Suma root goes by many names: Brazilian ginseng, Hebanthe paniculata, and Hebanthe eriantha.

Whatever you call it, it’s been ingested for centuries to treat everything from cancer to low libido.

Suma root fast facts

  • It’s been used in traditional medicine to fight disease, strengthen immune function, boost fertility, prevent cancer, and fix sex probs.
  • Only some of its *many* uses are backed by science.
  • Since there’s not much research on its safety and effectiveness, you should consult with a doctor before trying suma root.
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Suma root = the long ground vine of the flowering Pfaffia paniculata plant. Though some peeps refer to it as Brazilian ginseng, it’s not technically part of the ginseng family at all.

The tea on nutrition

Suma root gets its magical elixir reputation from pfaffic acid and saponin pfaffosides. This dynamic duo has gained attention for having anti-cancer effects — basically, slowing tumor growth.

Let’s keep it 💯 though: A plant compound that kicks cancer’s butt in animal studies doesn’t necessarily get the green light for medicinal purposes. Scientists are still researching potential clinical applications for herbal remedies like suma root.

Suma root is also packed with these immune-strengthening antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals:

The lowdown on usage

Suma root use goes way, way back. Fans say it can be ingested for so many reasons:

Where to find it

Here’s how you’ll find it at your local health food store (or, y’know, on Amazon):

  • tea
  • powder
  • pills
  • teas
  • liquid extracts
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OK, so we’ve covered all the reasons folks load up on suma root. But which ones are backed by some science?

1. It’s contains plant adaptogens that *may* boost health

Adaptogens may help your bod respond more effectively to environmental stressors like:

  • air pollution
  • potential radiation
  • diseases and viruses floating around (wait, doesn’t *that* sound familiar?)

Research from 2010 suggests that adaptogens help your body handle stress at the cellular level, reducing your risk of major diseases:

Unfortunately, we need more research to prove if and how suma root helps fight disease.

2. It might boost antioxidant levels

If you’re looking for more antioxidant-rich ingredients to add to your stash, try suma root.

Research on mice indicates the polyphenols and alkaloids in suma root may protect against cell damage, which is linked to a whole mess of health probs, from cancer to heart disease. More research on actual humans is needed to support this claim though.

3. It’s anti-inflammatory

When your body is under attack, it fires back with inflammation. That’s good for short-term injuries and illnesses, but problematic if left unchecked.

The good news is that on top of being adaptogenic and antioxidant-rich, suma root is anti-inflammatory — at least according to research on mice (not people). That means it *might* be helpful for folks with chronic inflammation, autoimmune issues, and those at a high risk of heart disease.

Just remember that research hasn’t confirmed a link between suma root and total disease prevention in actual humans.

4. It might help prevent cancer

There’s a reason people love herbs and foods that fight cancer. The big C is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and diet might play a part in its development.

Some test-tube and animal research suggests that the compounds in suma root could slow or prevent cancer growth.

There are also claims that taking suma root during cancer treatment could boost the effects of chemo or radiation. The truth is, there just isn’t much research to prove it.

Bottom line: preliminary research suggests that suma root can *support* your body’s natural processes to stay disease-free.

5. It could spice up your sex life 🔥

Folks have touted suma root as a natural aphrodisiac for literally centuries. But scientists are still hunting for proof.

Here’s what we know:

  • Back in the ‘90s, researchers fed suma root extract to a group of “sexually sluggish” rats. After their dose, the rats became more aroused, initiated sex more often, and ejaculated more. (Go get ‘em, tiger!)
  • In another older study, suma extract boosted sex hormone levels in both male and female mice.
  • For many, many years, men have used herbs like suma root to boost testosterone and improve erectile dysfunction. Researchers have noted, but have not proven these, efforts.

The verdict: We need more research to confirm whether suma root truly improves people’s sex lives… or whether it’s a placebo effect.

Any more perks?

Maybe! Some research suggests that suma root can help with…

  • Sickle cell disease. In one 2010 study of blood from folks with sickle cell disease, suma root extract helped normalize misshapen red blood cells.
  • Digestive probs. In a study of rats, suma root extract consumption was shown to alter intestinal inflammation.

Remember to take these benefits with a heaping bucket of salt because they’re not yet proven in humans.

TBH, there’s no human-tested, doctor-approved dose for suma root. It’s best to ask your doctor, then follow the suggestions on the product label.

Most suma root suppliers recommend these ranges:

  • 1–2 cups of suma root tea per day
  • 500–1,500 milligrams of dried root capsules up to 3x/day
  • 1–2 grams of powdered suma root up to 3x/day
  • 1–2 milliliters of suma root extract up to 3x/day

Always run herbal remedies past your doctor if you’re on prescription meds or have an underlying health condition.

People have been adding powdered suma root to their favorite bevvies for centuries.

However, we *always* recommend chatting with your doctor before adding a new herb to your diet.

These peeps should avoid suma root until science proves otherwise:

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Suma root is an age-old herbal remedy. It’s been used to promote good health, strengthen immune function, and prevent disease. It’s also used as an aphrodisiac.

You can get suma root as a tea, supplement, or powder. Just keep in mind that there’s not much scientific evidence backing suppliers’ health claims. Research also hasn’t indicated a safe or effective dose.

If you’re looking for a way to support your immune system, stick to proven methods like healthy eating and good sleep habits. If you still want to give suma root a whirl, run it by your doctor first.