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Exploring the Secrets of Brazilian Ginseng with Functional Medicine from Toronto


Did you read our post on andiroba oil yet? We discussed this natural ingredient to introduce you to herbs from the Amazonian tropical forest. Another intriguing herb to consider with functional medicine in Toronto is Brazilian ginseng – and it may surprise you with prospective benefits!

Though it’s called Brazilian ginseng, it doesn’t have ties to North American or Asian ginseng. It’s also called suma or Pfaffia paniculata (Pfaffia or P. paniculata), and – like the andiroba tree – it’s native to the Amazon rainforest. 

Suma’s medicinal roots are revered by indigenous tribes for helping reduce stress-related conditions, increase energy levels, and manage skin disorders and chronic conditions – and we understand why! The suma root contains anti-cancer, anti-tumor, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory functions that can assist your health journey. 

So, what is there to know about this plant? And how can it help manage inflammatory conditions? We discuss these details below.  

Getting to Know Brazilian Ginseng 

    • The suma root has been embraced by Amazonian folk medicine for centuries. It contains various amounts of nutrients, including vitamins (A, E, K) and minerals, like zinc and iron.   
    • Brazilian ginseng also highlights a variety of polyphenols, which are healthy molecules that can fight free radicals. Harmful free radicals can impede cellular health and promote the formation of chronic conditions. 
    • The roots are boasting with saponins. Saponins are compounds that have been shown to offer health advantages, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 
    • Brazilian ginseng extract has been investigated for its potential anti-cancer properties. Studies suggest that the saponins and antioxidants in this herb may inhibit cancer cells by reducing inflammation associated with tumors.

Potential Health Benefits

Each individual has their own approach to managing chronic health issues; incorporating herbal supplements into a health regimen can yield beneficial effects. Brazilian ginseng has the potential to enhance these mind-body functions:

    • May boost anti-inflammatory functions in the body: The suma root has been thought to combat unwanted inflammation. Though inflammation is needed to protect the body from pathogens, it can instigate chronic pain when it’s long-lasting. One study published in an International Immunopharmacology article verified that suma root extract could help manage inflammatory markers related to intestinal inflammation, especially for digestive disorders such as IBD.
    • May help improve sexual health: Brazilian ginseng has been used by Amazonian communities as an aphrodisiac. Further research is necessary, though it may be considered for supporting fertility or to help alleviate a hormone imbalance; this is because it has a likelihood of boosting sex hormones in the body, such as testosterone and progesterone. (Suggested Reading: Exploring the Secrets of Brazilian Ginseng with Functional Medicine from Toronto)
    • Could help manage stress levels: According to an American Journal of Analytical Chemistry article, “… researchers have found that Pfaffia acts primarily as a regulator of the endocrine, nervous, musculoskeletal and digestive systems without stimulating or inhibiting effects, thus classifying it as a true adaptogen.” Adaptogens can offer aid by promoting resilience to toxins and chronic stress that affects daily lives. The suma root can help the adrenal glands function by modulating cortisol levels. The adrenal glands play a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions – including metabolism, immune response, blood pressure, and stress management – through hormone production. 

Brazilian ginseng can hold a supportive position in fostering health enhancements. So, find out if this herb and our other functional medicine therapies are suitable for you! Consulting with a health practitioner before taking new herbal supplements is advised, as some herbs can interact with medications. Become a new patient today at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre. 

How to Get a Tailored Comprehensive Treatment Plan 

Some patients discover that a tailored treatment plan can address specific requirements. Our clinic services include crafting health strategies for this purpose – we acknowledge that YOU are distinctive due to genetics, lifestyle, environmental factors, health goals, dietary needs, and more. We prioritize individualized care to optimize your well-being and satisfaction.

As we take a personalized approach to wellness – which is part of the functional medicine model – we are adept at treating numerous health matters, including digestive issues, irregular periods, insulin resistance, autoimmune conditions, unexplained weight loss/weight gain, body aches, cardiovascular disorders, brain health concerns, and chronic fatigue. 

Our clinic services include functional lab tests that may not be accessed from some conventional medicine practices. Test results are used to tailor your treatment plan, and they can quantify various elements of your wellness, such as nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalance, oxidative stress levels, and more. We may recommend core tests related to your current health issues at your initial appointment. 

For adjunctive support, IV therapy may be prescribed in our IV Lounge, and they’re uniquely dosed using functional medicine principles. We freshly compound IV drip treatments without preservatives. When amalgamated with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and other integrative and functional medicine therapies, intravenous treatments can help sustain optimal wellness. 

How can herbal medicine help you with optimal functioning? Let’s talk about this – the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre is now accepting new patients. Just call us to request your initial consultation to begin!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. You should always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of information you have read from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre website or other affiliate media. 



Carneiro CS, Costa-Pinto FA, da Silva AP, Pinello KC, da Silva TC, Matsuzaki P, Nagamine MK, Górniak SL, Haraguchi M, Akisue G, Dagli ML. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2007 Aug;58(6):427-31. doi: 10.1016/j.etp.2006.11.005. Epub 2007 May 3. PMID: 17481871.

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Costa, C., Tanimoto, A., Quaglio, A., Almeida, L., Severi, J., & Di Stasi, L. (2015). Anti-inflammatory effects of Brazilian ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata) on TNBS-induced intestinal inflammation: Experimental evidence. International Immunopharmacology, 28(1), 459-469.

Elekofehinti OO, Iwaloye O, Olawale F, Ariyo EO. Saponins in Cancer Treatment: Current Progress and Future Prospects. Pathophysiology. 2021 Jun 5;28(2):250-272. doi: 10.3390/pathophysiology28020017. PMID: 35366261; PMCID: PMC8830467.

Levitsky, D. O., & Dembitsky, V. M. (2015). Anti-breast Cancer Agents Derived from Plants. Natural Products and Bioprospecting, 5(1), 1-16.

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Suma – Uses, Side Effects, and More” from WebMD, viewed on April 12, 2024. 


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