Suma root (Hebanthe eriantha), commonly known as Brazilian ginseng,” is a plant widely found in South America. The roots contain a wide range of health benefits; including its ability to boost brain function as well improve the digestive and immune systems. In addition, it protects vital organs, boosts energy, increases hormone synthesis, and may even combat cancer.
Suma also treats a number of health conditions, including anxiety, ulcers, fatigue, pain, erectile dysfunction, and stress. The herb is very rich in a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals (zinc, magnesium, iron), and other compounds.
It is important to keep in mind that although suma is commonly referred to as “Brazilian ginseng,” it is not actually related to the herb most people often call ginseng.
The Health Benefits of Suma Root
Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of suma root.
Protects Fertility in Women
Suma can potentially protect fertility in women, especially as there are now a host of chemicals and toxins that disrupt the activities of hormones. In fact, suma contains two compounds (sitosterol and stigmasterol) that significantly increase estrogen levels. The estradiol present in suma is an estrogen-based hormone that boosts female fertility. The progesterone in the herb also enhances sexual function in women.
Furthermore, ecdysteroids stimulate prostaglandins production, which boosts ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
Good for the Skin
When suma root extract is applied tropically to the skin, it can minimize “dark circles” under the eyes, which are often a consequence of inflammatory activity. This can result in blood congestion in the narrow capillaries around the eyes, causing a dark appearance.
Thankfully, the ecdysteroids in the Suma root can speed up healing in the skin. These hormones also help to prevent psoriasis symptoms. The root also has pfaffosides, which are effective in reducing melanin production in the skin. Since overexposure to sunlight increases melanin production, it can bring on side effects, including patchy skin and freckles.
Acts as an Adaptogen
Suma is an adaptogen, meaning that the herb helps to enhance the body’s ability to handle stress. It also protects the body against diseases and harmful biological and environmental agents. In fact, suma helps to restore and stabilize the several biological processes that go on in the body.
Contains Inflammatory Properties
Suma root is a strong anti-inflammatory agent that reduces edema after injection. Suma extract may also treat conditions associated with chronic inflammation, including arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
May Prevent Cancer
Suma may help prevent cancer due to pfaffic acid, a compound present in its roots. However, there isn’t enough research on the specific mechanisms by which this compound prevents cancer. The root can potentially destroy cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, without necessarily killing healthy cells.
Suma may also boost immunity and combat cancer cells early in the formation of tumors before they spread to the rest of the body. However, according to some studies, suma may not actually reverse or cure cancers. This means that, although suma may help to inhibit the growth of cancer, it should not be considered a cancer cure altogether.
Suma contains hormones known as ecdysteroids that function like anabolic steroids that build muscle. These hormones can increase strength and athletic performance without the side-effects associated that come with conventional steroids. Suma also has the ability to treat muscle injuries and diseases associated with muscular atrophy.
However, some studies indicate that suma may be regarded as a “doping” agent in certain sports competitions. Some other studies suggest that ecdysteroids can speed up muscle growth rate, boost physical endurance, and burn body fat when used in combination with a rich protein diet.
Suma has the ability to enhance physical strength, especially in high-intensity exercise routines due to its rich nutrients. It contains several vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and essential amino acids which help to boost cell growth and replace the essential compounds lost in sweats and via physical activities. Its germanium also helps to transport oxygen throughout the body, enhancing athletic performance.
Suma is very rich in vitamin B, making it beneficial for athletes.
Enhances Sexual Performance
Suma root extract may be effective for enhancing sexual performance, increasing libido, and preventing premature ejaculation. Interestingly, in traditional medicine, boosting sexual performance is one of the primary benefits of suma root.
Acts as an Antioxidant
Suma roots help to eliminate free radicals which are the main causes of prolonged damage to the body. It is rich in ecdysteroids, which destroy free radicals in the body. Also, suma root extract is believed to increase superoxide dismutase in skin cells, protecting them against damage.
With its antioxidant properties, suma may help combat the long-term cellular effects of aging, prevent disease, and may even extend lifespan.
Protects the Brain from Alcohol Damage
Protects Against Liver Damage
The ecdysteroids in suma root can stimulate a number of protective mechanisms in the liver. When taken regularly, the hormones may also protect the health of the liver. The hormones contain powerful antioxidant effects, which lower cholesterol levels in the liver.
Suma root is very rich in germanium, which plays an essential role in immune system health. It also increases macrophages, which significantly boosts immunity.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Suma contains saponins (sitosterol and stigmasterol) that help to lower cholesterol levels in the blood and the liver. They help convert cholesterol to bile acids.
Treats Sickle-Cell Disease
Traditional medicine practitioners use suma root powder to treat sickle-cell disease, a condition where red blood cells do not form properly, causing blood clots. Suma root extract can reduce the size of affected blood cells and improving their deformability.
One of the ecdysteroids found in suma root known as beta-ecdysterone may help prevent and halt the progression of osteoporosis by inducing osteogenesis. This is facilitated by estrogen, which means that it may be only prominent in women since they naturally have higher estrogen levels.
Reduces Blood Glucose Levels
Suma root can help alleviate the symptoms of diabetes as it contains pfaffic acids, which significantly lowers blood glucose levels. In fact, ecdysteroids also reduce the production of glucose, thereby blocking blood sugar levels from being high.
Interestingly, ecdysteroids can do this regardless of insulin levels.
Side Effects and Precautions
Generally, suma root is considered safe with no apparent side effect except when taken in very high doses. Even in such cases, the side-effects are relatively rare with only mild symptoms like nausea and indigestion.
However, it is important to remember that due to suma’s effect on hormone production, it should be avoided by people who have a history of diseases associated with hormonal dysregulation.
Finally, you should check with a doctor or herb expert before considering the use of herbal supplements, including suma root.