Suma also called Brazilian ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata syn. Hebanthe paniculata, Gomphrena paniculata, Gomphrena eriantha, Iresine erianthos, Iresine paniculata, Iresine tenuis, Pfaffia eriantha, Xeraea paniculata ) is the root of a rambling ground vine found in South America used traditionally as a medicine and tonic. Nicknamed "para todo" which means "for all," suma is an herbal medicine with adaptogenic qualities that serve to normalize and enhance body systems, increase resistance to stress, and boost overall functioning. It has been used for a variety of ailments with good efficacy, hence the name "para todo."
Pharmacology and mode of action
Suma is said to support hormonal balance, reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer and leukemia cells, enhance immunity, increase libido, and a provide a number of normalizing and rejuvenating effects. One of the reason for its myriad effects may be its ability to increase oxygenation and energy efficiency at the cellular level. Suma contains germanium, beta-ecdysterone, allantoin, and a group of novel phytochemical saponins called pfaffosides.
The ethnomedicine reveals that Iresine celosia, Tlantcuayin, was used by the Maya-Quiché civilization circa 2000 years.
The species appears in famous 1552 manuscript on Precolombian medicine: "Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis".
In modern times, during the 1960’s till 1986, Efraín Contreras (1898-1986), a well-known naturopath, discovered the anti-tumoral properties of Iresine celosia, (Amaranthacea Gomphrenoidea), an herb native to Central America. During the decades of the 70s and 80s, he obtained an approval to administer Iresine celosia as a liquid as well as a dry herbal extract to hospital patients at Hospital El Retiro and Hospital Bertha Calderón in Managua, Nicaragua. The evaluation of the Scientific Commission of the Ministry of Health of Nicaragua (1983) concluded that : “ Codin VII (Iresine celosia) herbal extract was given to patients with tumors in the digestive system - prior to surgery, and also, post-surgery. These patients had various carcinomas of the stomach and regional ganglia. The post-surgery doses invariably reduced the size of the tumor as well as other treated cases. During surgery of the carcinomas of the mammary gland and metastasis in situ and at a distance, metastasis in situ disappeared within 12 to 15 days of treatment, and those at a distance were also reduced. In all cases where Codin VI was employed, health improvement was distinctly obvious. General well-being improved, hemorrages, vaginal discharges and pain disappeared. No toxicity or side effects were observed”. In the decade of the 90’s, Iresine celosia was given to patients suffering from prostate problems, sexual impotency with promising results. Important research studies have been carried out by Pierre Crabbé, P.R. Leeming and Carl Djerassi as a contribution from the Department of Chemistry of Wayne State University, USA. (The Structure of the Isoflavone Tlatlancuayin).
Iresine celosia was introduced in Europe for the first time some 15 years ago. In 1994, Ms. Edda Contreras, Efraín Contreras' daughter, collaborated for the first time with the European Institute of Tropical Phytotherapy. From 1994-1998, Iresine celosia was presented at the De Natura Rerum Forum in Cannes, Sophia Antipolis, Biarritz, Lyon and Paris (France). Tradition records that Iresine celosia was used for tumoral pathologies such as prostate, mammary glands, ovaries, brain, intestin, etc. Iresine celosia is also used for activiting the libido, psychiatrique pathologies and for immune system depressions.
Active principle: Iresine celosia contains 2.50% natural glucid steroids. Mechanism of Action : Clinical studies in Nicaragua have shown that Iresine celosia affected the permeability of the pathological cell, and changed the bio-electric potential of the cancerous membrane (Dindail et al).
- Vieira, Roberto F. (1999) Conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants in Brazil. p. 152–159. In: J. Janick (ed.), Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA.