Pfaffia paniculata (also known as Suma root) is a large, shrubby ground vine, which has a deep root system (where active substances are found) and is traditional herbal medicine. Although it is sometimes called Brazilian ginseng it is not related to ginseng. Suma is categorized as adaptogen as it helps body adapt to stressful conditions. People of Amazon region have used Suma root for centuries as tonic and aphrodisiac .
Manufacturers typically recommend doses ranging from around 500 mg to 5 g.
Why is Suma Root Added to Testosterone Boosters?
Well, as you might have noticed testosterone boosters are filled with aphrodisiacs of which many are poorly studied or their claimed effects originate only from empirical use. The same is with suma root. There is insufficient evidence for its use for treatment for sexual problems and no evidence for its use as testosterone enhancing supplement. It is probably added due to its beta-ecdysterone content, which has been hyped up and later proven that is has no ergogenic effect . However, suma root also contains two other types of phytosteroids, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol .
Pfaffia paniculata extract seem to improve sexual performance of sexually sluggish or impotent rats, while having no effect on sexually potent rats . However, Masami Oshima and Yeunhwa Gu  reported significantly elevated testosterone levels in mice after 30 day powdered suma root supplementation. In female mice, 17beta-estradiol and progesterone were also significantly elevated.
There is no evidence to support the conversion of plant sterols to testosterone in the human body .
Suma root also has a nickname of “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.
Other Uses and Benefits of Suma Root
Pfaffia paniculata roots have been indicated for the treatment of several diseases . Carneiro and other researchers  have shown that Pfaffia paniculata root has antineoplastic effects (inhibiting or preventing the developement of malignant cells) and cancer chemopreventive activity. Animals did not lose weight during 10 day treatment with doses ranging from 250 to 1000 mg/kg .
The root of Pfaffia paniculata contains about 11% saponins (pfaffosides, pfaffic acids, glycosides, and nortriperpenes) . These saponins have clinically demonstrated the ability to inhibit cultured tumor cell melanomas and help to regulate blood sugar levels .
Several studies have shown that beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol, both found in suma root, inhibit absorption of cholesterol and suppress increases in plasma concentrations of cholesterol .
Suma does not seem to be very effective in reducing inflamation (unchanged intestinal inflammation but was able to reduce the colonic inflammation) but it is related to reduced oxidative stres .
Suma Root Side Effects
Suma root is considered safe for most people when taken by mouth  and can also be safely consumed for long periods of time . In mice, no adverse reactions were observed within 30 days of oral suma root supplementation .
(Other common names: Brazilian Ginseng, Para Todo, Russian Secret, Suma Liquid Extract)
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- Carneiro, Carolina Scarpa, et al. “Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice.” Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology 58.6 (2007): 427-431.
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- WebMD.com – Suma Retrieved 5. July 2013
- Oshima, Masami, and Yeunhwa Gu. “Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17β, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice.” Journal of Reproduction and Development 49.2 (2003): 175-180.
- Costa, C. A. R. A., et al. “Anti-inflammatory effects of Brazilian ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata) on TNBS-induced intestinal inflammation: Experimental evidence.” International immunopharmacology 28.1 (2015): 459-469.