Suma root is also known as “Brazilian ginseng”, although it has nothing to do with ginseng. It comes from the plant whose scientific name is Hebanthe eriantha, which belongs to the Amaranthaceae family.
Due to its composition, its extracts are used in the manufacture of medicines. In addition, it has been traditionally used by indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest to treat various diseases.
In particular, it is attributed with adaptogenic properties that allow the body to respond better to stressful situations. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that are currently the focus of several research studies. Do you want to know more about it? Read on!
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Properties of suma root
The pharmacological composition of suma root has been documented in recent years. According to a publication in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, it concentrates two substances known as pfaffic acid and saponins, which have antitumor effects.
An article published in the American Journal of Analytical Chemistry details that its extracts contain vitamins A, E, K and B complex; trace elements such as germanium, iron, magnesium and zinc, and other compounds that strengthen the functions of the immune system.
It also provides a large amount of alkaloids and polyphenols, which protect the body against cell damage and reduce the risk of disease.
Benefits of suma root
Popular literature states that suma root has a wide variety of health benefits. However, only a few of its properties are supported by scientific evidence. Here are its main applications.
In natural medicine, suma root has been classified as an adaptogen. According to an article reported in the Chinese Medical Journal, adaptogens are substances that improve the body’s response to biological, chemical or physical stressors. As the name suggests, they help the body to adapt.
Thus, they have an impact on decreasing inflammation, stabilizing cortisol levels and supporting immune functions. All this translates into better health and less risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Adaptogenic substances are those that help combat stress, reducing physiological reactions associated with anxiety and nervousness.
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
The polyphenols and alkaloids contained in suma root give it antioxidant properties. These molecules help neutralize the negative action of free radicals, which cause cell damage and a wide variety of diseases.
A publication in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that the bioactive components of this root act against inflammatory disorders and conditions associated with oxidative stress. However, further studies are needed to prove these effects in humans.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Because of its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, suma root is used as an adjuvant for inflammatory bowel disease. To be more precise, it is believed that it can improve health in the face of problems such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
An animal study reported in International Immunopharmacology found that supplementation of 200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight with this root can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, further studies are needed to corroborate the same effects in humans.
Traditionally, suma root is used as a natural aphrodisiac in its region of origin. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this use. An old study in Psychopharmacology reported that its extracts increase sexual activity and ejaculation in rats.
Other research states that the substances contained in the root increase the levels of sex hormones such as estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. These are associated with increased libido, sperm production and fertility. The findings are hardly promising, given that human trials are required.
Other possible benefits
A test tube study in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation states that suma root extract may improve red blood cell shape in patients with sickle cell anemia.
Popular literature points out that this root decreases fatigue states, improves physical performance and stimulates cognitive functions.
Risks and precautions
The consumption of suma root is considered safe in most healthy adults, as long as the dosage suggested in the supplement is respected. It is often suggested for short periods of time.
For now, there are no data on side effects from oral intake or topical use. Even so, it is not recommended in the following situations:
- Pregnancy and lactation.
- Patients with renal or hepatic diseases.
People taking medication. If so, it is necessary to consult a doctor first to rule out possible interactions.
- People with renal insufficiency.
Patients with kidney problems should avoid this root, due to possible adverse effects.
Dosage and presentation of suma root
The recommended dosage of suma root varies depending on the presentation of the supplement. Thus, if it is in tea form, two cups per day are suggested. Meanwhile, 500 to 1500 milligrams of dried root capsules, 2 or 3 times a day are advised. From the liquid extract, 1 or 2 milliliters diluted in a beverage are taken 2 or 3 times a day.
What should you remember about suma root?
Suma root supplements are distributed as allies to reduce stress, fight chronic fatigue, improve sexual problems or fight some chronic diseases. It is important to consider that to date there is no solid evidence to support such properties in humans. Therefore, it should not be a remedy to replace conventional treatments.