Matakana Suma Root Powder
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Nutritionally, suma root contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes, trace minerals, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. Its high germanium content probably accounts for its properties as an oxygenator at the cellular level; its high iron content may account for its traditional use for anemia. The root also contains novel phytochemicals including saponins, pfaffic acids, glycosides, and nortriterpenes.
Suma has also been called "the Russian secret," as it has been taken by Russian Olympic athletes for many years and has been reported to increase muscle- and endurance without the side effects associated with steroids. This action is attributed to an anabolic-type phytochemical called beta-ecdysterone and three novel ecdysteroid glycosides that are found in high amounts in suma. Suma is such a rich source of beta-ecdysterone that it is the subject of a Japanese patent for the extraction methods employed to obtain it from suma root (approximately 2.5 g of beta-ecdysterone can be extracted from 400 g of powdered suma root-or .63%). These same Japanese researchers filed a U.S. patent in 1998 for a proprietary extract of suma (which extracted the ecdysterone and beta-ecdysterone); it claimed (through various in vivo and in vitro studies) that their compound maintained health, enhanced the immune system, and had a tonic and an anti-allergenic effect. A French company also filed a U.S. patent on the topical use of these ecdysterone chemicals, claiming that their suma ecdysterone extract strengthened the water barrier function of the skin, increased skin keratinocyte differentiation (which would be helpful for psoriasis), gave the skin a smoother, softer appearance and, also, improved hair appearance.
Suma root has a very high saponin content (up to 11%). In phytochemistry, plant saponins are well known to have a wide spectrum of activities including supporting normal blood cholesterol, possibly supporting natural defenses against cancer, and supporting the immune system in it’s ever present fight against bacteria, funguses and viruses.. They are also known as natural detergent and foaming agents. Phytochemists report that saponins can act by binding with bile acids and cholesterol. It is thought that these chemicals "clean" or purge these fatty compounds from the body (thus supporting normal blood cholesterol levels).
Suma's main plant chemicals are: allantoin, beta-ecdysterone, beta-sitosterol, daucosterol, germanium, iron, magnesium, nortriterpenoids, pantothenic acid, pfaffic acids, pfaffosides A-F, polypodine B, saponins, silica, stigmasterol, stigmasterol-3-o-beta-d-glucoside, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and zinc.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
Like soy and other plant based sterols these sterols might have estrogenic properties. There is still debate in the scientific community as to whether plant based sterols provide protection against cancers or potential aggravation of oestrogen positive cancers. As this plant has been used traditionally to regulate menstrual processes, as well as to treat menopause, PMS, and other hormonal disorders, it is advisable for women with oestrogen-positive cancers to Check with their Doctor before commencing use of this powder.
The root powder has been reported to cause asthmatic allergic reactions if inhaled. When handling raw suma root powder or preparing decoctions with root powder, avoid inhalation of the root powder/dust.
Ingestion of large amounts of plant saponins in general (naturally occurring chemicals in suma) has shown to sometimes cause mild gastric disturbances including nausea and stomach cramping. Reduce dosages if these side effects are noted.
Drug Interactions: None reported.
"This article is included in the interests of consumer health education and is not intended to imply that such ingredients have been approved under the Medicines Act for the prevention or treatment of specific diseases or medical conditions. Individual Results will vary. The results quoted in early trials may need to be confirmed by further studies. Evaluation under the Medicines Act has not been undertaken. You should seek appropriate Healthcare professional advice for any medical condition."