Suma, also called Para toda, is the dried root of Pfaffia Paniculata, a plant found in the Atlantic rain forest of Brazil. First introduced to the United States as Brazilian Ginseng, Suma is one of the most highly regarded herbs in South America, and is considered to be a true adaptogen. Used by native peoples for centuries, Suma is advocated as an effective adaptogen to support the immune system, adapt the body to external stresses, relieve pain, fight chronic fatigue syndrome, and accelerate wound healing.
Herbalists using Suma often refer to research conducted by Dr. Milton Brazzach, head of the pharmaceutical department at the University of Sao Paulo. Dr. Brazzach originally become interested in suma when his wife was cured of breast cancer after ingesting the root. Dr. Brazzach has since gone on to test suma on thousands of patients suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, leukemia, and diabetes. He reportedly found suma to have great healing and preventative powers, yet has never published his clinical findings.
Researchers have isolated several active compounds in suma, including Beta Ecdysterone, a plant sterol which has an anabolic and immune boosting effect in the body. Suma is also rich in a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals (particularly the rare mineral germanium), amino acids, Allantoin (a cell building compound) and 6 pfaffic acids.
Recent studies have shown that five of the pfaffosides found in Suma have been able to inhibit growth of cultured melanoma tumor cells, supporting at least some of the claims made for this herb. To date there are no reports regarding the toxicity and there are no known side effects.