8 AMAZING BENEFITS On This Amazonian Adaptogen
SUMA Root, Brazilian Ginseng
: heal-all, energizer, anti-cancerous, sexual tonic and more!
TRIBAL + HERBAL MEDICINE USES
In South America, Suma root is known as para-toda (which means "for all things") and as Brazilian ginseng, since it is widely used as an adaptogen with many applications (like "regular" ginseng). Suma root has been used by generations for a wide variety of purposes by Indian tribes in the Amazon, and Central America. It has been primarily used as a daily supertonic, as a staple food, as an energy tonic, for its rejuvenating chemistry, and as a sexual tonic; and as a general cure-all for many types of illnesses. Also used as a calming agent, and to treat acid reflux and ulcers for at least 300 years. It is a vital herbal remedy in rainforest tribal culture to say the least.
In herbal medicine throughout the world today, suma is considered a tonic and an adaptogen. The herbal definition of an adaptogen is a plant that increases the body's resistance to adverse influences by a wide range of physical, chemical, and biochemical factors and has a normalizing or restorative effect on the body as a whole. “In modern Brazilian herbal medicine practices, suma root is employed as a cellular oxygenator and taken to stimulate appetite and circulation, increase estrogen production, balance blood sugar levels, enhance the immune system, strengthen the muscular system, and enhance memory. (R)
In North American herbal medicine, Suma has been popularly used as an adaptogenic and regenerative tonic regulating many systems of the body: as an immuno-stimulant; to treat exhaustion and chronic fatigue, impotence, arthritis, anemia, diabetes, cancer, tumors, mononucleosis, high blood pressure, PMS, menopause, and hormonal disorders, and many types of stress. In herbal medicine in Ecuador today, Suma is also considered a tonic and "normalizer" (aka adaptogen) for the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, the reproductive system, and the digestive system; it is used to treat hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction and sterility, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, circulatory and digestive disorders, rheumatism, and bronchitis. (R)
Suma has been used as a general “heal-all” for many different conditions including:
- Hormone Balancing
- Enhancing immunity
- Cancer Inhibiting chemistry
- Reducing pain
- Alleviating digestive issues
- Boosting physical energy
- Erectile dysfunction
Interestingly, many of the medicinal applications of Suma root in traditional indigenous medicine have been validated by modern science.
Ok, so I could keep providing you tons of indigenous and scientific research, but we’re going to keep it easy to read for now. Here’s Joe of SelfHacked doing the run-down:
Nutritionally, suma root contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes, trace minerals, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. Its high germanium content probably accounts for its properties as an oxygenator at the cellular level; its high iron content may account for its traditional use for anemia. The root also contains novel phytochemicals including saponins, pfaffic acids, glycosides, and nortriterpenes.
Suma has also been called "the Russian secret," as it has been taken by Russian Olympic athletes for many years and has been reported to increase muscle-building and endurance without the side effects associated with steroids. This action is attributed to an anabolic-type phytochemical called beta-ecdysterone and three novel ecdysteroid glycosides that are found in high amounts in suma.
SAPONINS = lowers cholesterol + cancer
Suma root has a very high saponin content (up to 11%). In phytochemistry, plant saponins are well known to have a wide spectrum of activities including lowering blood cholesterol, inhibiting cancer cell growth, and acting as antifungal and antibacterial agents. They are also known as natural detergent and foaming agents. Phytochemists report that saponins can act by binding with bile acids and cholesterol. It is thought that these chemicals "clean" or purge these fatty compounds from the body (thus lowering blood cholesterol levels). One of the most famous plant saponins is digitalis, derived from the common foxglove garden plant, which has been used as a heart drug for over 100 years.
The specific saponins found in the roots of suma include a group of novel phytochemicals that scientists have named pfaffosides. These saponins have clinically demonstrated the ability to inhibit cultured tumor cell melanomas (in vitro) and help to regulate blood sugar levels (in vivo).
8 MAIN BENEFITS
Ok, so I could keep providing you tons of indigenous and scientific research, but we’re going to keep it easy to read for now. Here’s Joe of Self Hacked doing the run-down:
1. Suma is an Adaptogen
As reviewed above, this is one of those few precious roots found in nature, that has the plant-intelligence to know how to serve your particular body and its needs. Meaning it has the ability to improve the body’s ability to way with internal and external stressors and provides resistance against diseases and decay. In other words it has a restorative and balancing effect on our command center, the hypothalamus, therefore biological processes throughout the body and brain [R]
2. Suma has shown to be Anti-Cancerous
The pfaffic acids found in Suma, have been extensively proven for its anti-cancerous activity. A controlled study in mice with liver cancer found that mice treated with suma root extract for 27 weeks had significantly fewer cancer cells compared to untreated mice. This treatment did not have adverse side effects on healthy liver cells [R, R].
Similar results have been found in an in vitro study of human breast cancer cells, suggesting that Suma’s anti-cancer effects may also apply to humans [R].
Suma’s anti-cancer effects are believed to come from pfaffic acid in suma’s roots [R, R]. However, the specific mechanisms by which these compounds affect the development and progression of cancer are still being researched [R, R].
However, in most of the studies, suma generally appears to slow down the rate of tumor growth, but not reverse or cure it altogether. Therefore, while suma may help to prevent cancer and slow its progression, it should not be mistaken for a cancer cure.
4. Mojo Booster
Suma has been used for over 500 years in Brazilian medicine for impotence, premature ejaculation and to boost up the sexual vibes. On a scientific level, Suma extract improved sexual performance in impotent rats, increasing the rates at which they engage in sex, as well as prolonging their ejaculation times! [R]. It has also
5. Enhances Fertility in Women (+ Men!)
Suma may protect fertility in women. This effect is particularly important in modern environments, where contact with a wide range of hormone-disrupting chemicals and toxins is becoming increasingly commonplace [R].
Sitosterol and stigmasterol, two of the saponins contained in Suma root, increase estrogen levels [R]. Mice fed with powdered suma root for one month showed significant increases of estradiol and progesterone compared to the control group [R]. Estradiol is one of the main estrogen-based hormones involved in female fertility, and progesterone plays a key role in reproductive and sexual function in women.
Finally, ecdysteroids stimulate the production of prostaglandins, which are involved in ovulation and the menstrual cycle [R].
5. Performance + Muscle Building
Suma’s ability to enhance protein synthesis may account for its beneficial effects on building and maintaining muscle mass. Ecdysteroids from the Suma plant act like anabolic steroids, the hormones involved in building muscle. Ecdysteroids can enhance physical strength and athletic performance without the negative side-effects associated with traditional steroids [R].
Suma has the potential to be used for healing muscle injuries, as well as for treating diseases involving muscular atrophy. Interestingly, some researchers have cautioned that suma could be considered a “doping” agent in athletic competitions
Several studies on suma found that ecdysteroids accelerate the rate of muscle growth, improve physical endurance, and reduce body fat by up to 10% when paired with a high-protein diet [R, R, R, R, R, R].
6. Suma as an Energizer
Even though suma is not a stimulant, it enhances physical energy because of its rich nutritional profile. Suma contains many different electrolytes, essential amino acids, and minerals [R]. Suma’s high electrolyte and amino acid content helps restore many essential compounds lost through sweating and physical exertion. Suma’s rich vitamin and mineral content provides many of the body’s metabolic “building-blocks” [R].
7. Protects the Body
Free radicals (oxidants) are one of the primary causes of long-term damage to the body. Suma root is rich in ecdysteroids, which remove free radicals throughout the body [R].
Additionally, Suma root extract was shown to increase superoxide dismutase in human skin cells, protecting them from damage [R]. Given its antioxidant effects, suma may help fight the long-term cellular effects of aging, prevent disease, and may even prolong lifespan.
It has even been proven to protect the skin! When applied to the skin, suma root extract can reduce the appearance of “dark circles” under the eyes. These “dark circles” (periorbital hyperchromia) occur as an after-effect of inflammatory activity, which causes blood to become congested in the narrow capillaries around the eyes, leading to a dark or “bruised” appearance [R]. Topical administration of suma root extract improves the appearance of “dark circles” in up to 90% of users [R, R]. And once again, the Ecdysteroids from the suma plant can make skin heal at a faster rate [R].
8. Suma as a painkiller?!
Suma root has significant pain-killing (analgesic) effects, which may make it helpful in chronic pain [R]. In mice, ingestion of suma root extract inhibited pain responses from experimental injection of pain-causing chemicals [R]. In rats, suma root extract reduced the frequency of behavioral signs of pain in response to experimental injections of acetic acid [R].
Potential Side Effects - The few studies that have reported adverse side-effects have often used very high doses, far beyond the typical dose range for humans. Even in these cases, the side-effects were relatively rare, and generally include only minor symptoms such as mild nausea and temporary indigestion [R, R]. However, suma’s ability to affect hormone production means that it should be avoided by anyone with a known history of diseases involving hormonal dysregulation, as suma supplementation could potentially worsen these conditions or otherwise have unpredictable effects on health.
No wonder it's called "for all things" throughout South America! With its varied applications - from cancer, to diabetes to sickle cell anemia to its sexual stimulant and tonic qualities - it is finally becoming more popular and well known in North American herbal medicine practices as well.
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