Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Brazilian Ginseng, Brazilien Ginseng, Ginseng Brasilero, Ginseng Brésilien, Ginseng du Brésil, Gomphrena paniculata, Hebanthe eriantha, Hebanthe paniculata, Pfaffia, Pfaffia paniculata.


Suma is a plant. It is sometimes called Brazilian ginseng, although it is not related to ginseng. The root is used to make medicine.

Suma is used as an “adaptogen” to help the body adapt to stress by improving the immune system. Suma is also used as a treatment for cancer and tumors, diabetes, and male sexual performance problems; as a tonic to restore body function; and as an aphrodisiac to heighten sexual arousal.

Suma is sometimes applied directly to the skin for wounds and skin problems.

How does it work?

Some researchers think that the chemicals in suma may stop some cancers from developing, decrease swelling, and relieve pain.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Improving the immune system.
  • Cancer and tumors.
  • Diabetes.
  • Wounds.
  • Skin problems.
  • Sexual problems.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of suma for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Suma is considered safe for most people when it is taken by mouth for a short period of time. There isn't enough information to know if using suma on the skin is safe.

Suma can cause asthma symptoms if the root powder is inhaled.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of suma during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of suma depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for suma. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors


Ballas, S. K. Hydration of sickle erythrocytes using a herbal extract (Pfaffia paniculata) in vitro. Br J Haematol. 2000;111(1):359-362. View abstract.

Carneiro, C. S., Costa-Pinto, F. A., da Silva, A. P., Pinello, K. C., da Silva, T. C., Matsuzaki, P., Nagamine, M. K., Gorniak, S. L., Haraguchi, M., Akisue, G., and Dagli, M. L. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol 2007;58(6):427-431. View abstract.

da Silva, T. C., Paula, da Silva, Akisue, G., Luis, Avanzo J., Kazumi, Nagamine M., Fukumasu, H., Matsuzaki, P., Cesar, Raspantini P., Haraguchi, M., Lima, Gorniak S., and Dagli, M. L. Inhibitory effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in a mouse hepatocarcinogenesis model. Cancer Lett. 8-26-2005;226(2):107-113. View abstract.

Kim, K. M., Kwon, H. S., Jeon, S. G., Park, C. H., Sohn, S. W., Kim, D. I., Kim, S. S., Chang, Y. S., Kim, Y. K., Cho, S. H., Min, K. U., and Kim, Y. Y. Korean ginseng-induced occupational asthma and determination of IgE binding components. J Korean Med Sci 2008;23(2):232-235. View abstract.

Matsuzaki, P., Akisue, G., Salgado Oloris, S. C., Gorniak, S. L., and Zaidan Dagli, M. L. Effect of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on the Ehrlich tumor in its ascitic form. Life Sci 12-19-2003;74(5):573-579. View abstract.

Nagamine, M. K., da Silva, T. C., Matsuzaki, P., Pinello, K. C., Cogliati, B., Pizzo, C. R., Akisue, G., Haraguchi, M., Gorniak, S. L., Sinhorini, I. L., Rao, K. V., Barbuto, J. A., and Dagli, M. L. Cytotoxic effects of butanolic extract from Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian Ginseng) on cultured human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Exp Toxicol Pathol 5-15-2008; View abstract.

Oshima, M. and Gu, Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod.Dev. 2003;49(2):175-180. View abstract.

Pinello, K. C., Fonseca, Ede S., Akisue, G., Silva, A. P., Salgado Oloris, S. C., Sakai, M., Matsuzaki, P., Nagamine, M. K., Palermo, Neto J., and Dagli, M. L. Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity. Life Sci 2-16-2006;78(12):1287-1292. View abstract.

Subiza, J., Subiza, J. L., Escribano, P. M., Hinojosa, M., Garcia, R., Jerez, M., and Subiza, E. Occupational asthma caused by Brazil ginseng dust. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1991;88(5):731-736. View abstract.

Watanabe, T., Watanabe, M., Watanabe, Y., and Hotta, C. Effects of oral administration of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on incidence of spontaneous leukemia in AKR/J mice. Cancer Detect.Prev. 2000;24(2):173-178. View abstract.

Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, et al. Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1999;143:15-9. View abstract.

Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal, 4th ed., Binghamton, NY: Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.

Zucchi, O. L., Moreira, S., de Jesus, E. F., Neto, H. S., and Salvador, M. J. Characterization of hypoglycemiant plants by total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Biol Trace Elem Res 2005;103(3):277-290. View abstract.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors