Nicknamed after a long period of use by Russian Olympic athletes to build muscle mass and endurance, suma is more than an anabolic plant.
Students in exam periods, amateur or more serious athletes, overworked, stressed or recovering people... many people have discovered the benefits of suma.
Origin and traditional uses
Native to Brazil, particularly the rainforests of Matto Grosso, it also covers the Amazonian territories of Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
The root of the plant has been used by native tribes for centuries. Commonly known as "para tudo", which means "for everything", suma is used for many purposes: relieving stress, reducing pain and inflammation, increasing physical and mental energy levels, aphrodisiac…
Botanical family and active constituents
From its Latin name Pfaffia paniculata, suma belongs to the botanical family of Amaranthaceae. Although commonly referred to as Brazilian ginseng, this root is unrelated to Asian or American ginseng, both of which belong to the Araliaceae family.
The root of suma contains pfaffic acid and pfaffoside saponins. These two compounds are largely the reasons for the research and commercial interest of the plant.
Suma is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, certain B vitamins, vitamins A, E and K and germanium, a trace element valued for its immune properties.
In addition, the root is rich in various polyphenols and alkaloids. Both types of antioxidant compounds are known to prevent cell damage and protect against various diseases.
Sports aid and anabolic effect
It was in 1976 that Russian scientist Syrov extracted a compound called ecdysterone from the root of suma and discovered that it had an in vitro anabolic (increasing muscle mass) effect superior to dianabol and methandrostenolone, both of which are anabolic steroids. Following several clinical trials involving the plant and its extract, Syrov presents his results to his country's Olympic team, with suma becoming the "Russian secret".
In addition to building lean mass without any side effects (unlike synthetic anabolic steroids), suma improves the force of heart muscle contraction, encouraging better blood circulation and allowing increased cellular oxygenation throughout the body.
An adaptogenic plant
Considered an adaptogenic plant, suma increases the body's ability to adapt to external conditions and to avoid damage caused by various stressors.
Examples of stressors include environmental pollution, harsh climate conditions, infectious diseases, and physical or mental overwork and stress.
Adaptogenic plants are thought to act on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, also known as the central stress response system, thereby regulating the stress response of cells in the body.
In this sense, several specialists believe that adaptogenic plants could potentially be used to control or prevent a wide range of conditions in which stress plays a major role, including heart disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and other illnesses. chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
A quick effect
Unlike other adaptogenic herbs, whose benefits are only felt after a few weeks, suma takes effect quickly within hours and days of consumption. It is therefore ideal for a mental or physical performance, and many appreciate it as a replacement for classic energy drinks, often filled with sugars and caffeine. It has a balanced tonic effect, never too stimulating, and non habit forming.
For centuries, suma root has been used as a fertility “booster” and aphrodisiac.
Some studies have shown that the root extract increases the levels of sex hormones such as estradiol (a type of estrogen secreted by the ovaries), progesterone and testosterone in male and female mice. These hormones play an important role in libido, ovulation, sperm production and erectile function.
Ecdysterone, a phytochemical contained in suma root, has a structure similar to testosterone.
However, no studies confirm these effects in humans, and more research is needed before any solid conclusions can be drawn.
May offer protection against cancer
Interesting fact: Based on its nutrients, suma root is said to have stronger immune and anti-cancer properties than Asian ginseng, although no studies currently confirm this.
Test-tube and animal research suggests that pfaffic acid and pfaffoside saponins in suma root help destroy cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.
Some studies further suggest that adaptogenic herbs would be an adjunct of choice to cancer therapy. They would indeed have the ability to potentiate the effect of chemotherapy or radiotherapy while reducing common side effects of treatment, such as fatigue. However, human studies are lacking in this regard.
Where do I find suma?
You can try suma for yourself in Holizen's Sumaforme product.
Da Silva, T.C., Coliati, B., Da Silva, A. P. & al. (2010). Les racines de Pfaffia paniculata (ginseng brésilien) diminuent la prolifération et augmentent l'apoptose mais n'affectent pas la communication cellulaire dans l'hépatocarcinogenèse murine. Exp Toxicol Pathol; 62(2): 145-55.
Liao, L.-Y., He, Y.-F., Li, L. & al. (2018). Une revue préliminaire des études sur les adaptogènes : comparaison de leur bioactivité en MTC avec celle des herbes de type ginseng utilisées dans le monde. Chin Med. ; 13 : 57.
Oshima, M. & Gu, Y. (2003). Modifications induites par Pfaffia paniculata des taux plasmatiques d'estradiol-17beta, de progestérone et de testostérone chez la souris. J Reprod Dev; 49(2) : 175-8.