Hebanthe eriantha (Poir.) Pedersen

Last updated: 15 September 15 2016

Scientific Name

Hebanthe eriantha (Poir.) Pedersen


Celosia eriantha Vahl ex Moq., Gomphrena eriantha (Poir.) Moq., Gomphrena paniculata (Mart.) Moq., Hebanthe paniculata Mart. Iresine erianthos Poir. Iresine tenuis Suess. Pfaffia eriantha (Poir.) Kuntze, Pfaffia laurifolia Chodat, Pfaffia paniculata (Mart.) Kuntze, Pfaffia paraguayensis Chodat, Xeraea paniculata (Mart.) Kuntze. [1]

Vernacular Name

America Suma, Brazilian ginseng, pfaffia, para toda, corango-acu [2]

Geographical Distributions

Pfaffia paniculata vine is indigenous to the tropical areas of Brazil, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and in general to the Amazon basin. It requires the climate of the tropics in order to thrive and grows best in soil that is mineral-rich particularly rich in iron. [2]

Botanical Description

P. paniculata is a member of Amaranthaceae family. [2]

P. paniculata is a creeping, shrub like vine that has an extensive and complex root system. The leaves are 2cm to 8cm long and 1cm to 4cm wide. [2]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

P. paniculata has been reported to contains allantoin, β-ecdysterone, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, germanium, iron, magnesium, nortriterpenoids, pantothenic acid, pfaffic acids, pfaffosides A-F, polypodine B, saponins, silica, stigmasterol, stigmasterol-3-o-β-d-glucoside, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and zinc. [3][4]

Plant Part Used

Root [2]

Traditional Use

The name ‘Para toda’ explains its traditional use in South America as it is translated to mean “for all things” demonstrating its adaptogenic properties. In Brazil, the uses are many including treatment for arthritis, asthma, cancer, rheumatic complaints, energizer and stress reducer. In Peru, it is primarily used to treat gastrointestinal complaints [2]. In many areas, it was used and continues to be used as a sexual aid, stimulant and as a general tonic [5]. Traditional use dates back over 300 years and continues today.

Preclinical Data


P. paniculata root extracts have antineoplastic effects and cancer chemopreventive activity, reducing cellular proliferation and increasing apoptosis of various cancer cell lines. [6][7] Laboratory studies have found that extracts of P. paniculata can increases levels of sex hormones, like estrogen (estradiol), progesterone and testosterone [8]. P. paniculata extracts improve the copulatory performance of sexually sluggish/impotent rats, increased the percentage of rats achieving ejaculation and significantly reduced mount, intromission and ejaculation latencies, post-ejaculatory interval and intercopulatory interval [9]. Furthermore constituents in Para toda, pfaffic acid and pfaffocides, act as cancer-inhibiting compounds [10]. Laboratory studies have also reported an increase in immunity, as shown by increased macrophage activity [11].


No documentation.

Clinical findings

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

P. paniculata has been reported safe in recommended doses. P. paniculata is reported to have hormonal-like effects, so caution is recommended in individuals with estrogen-positive cancers or prostate cancer [12].

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals taking medications that alter sex hormonal activity, such as testosterone, oral contraceptives or HRT (hormonal replacement therapy, including estrogen and progesterone) [8].

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Hebanthe eriantha. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Sept 15]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2840360
  2. Taylor L. The healing power of rainforest herbs:  A guide to understanding and using herbal medicinals. New York: Square One Publishers; 2005; p. 344.
  3. Nishimoto N, Nakai S, Takagi N, Wada Y. Pfaffosides and nortriterpenoid saponins from Pfaffia paniculata. Phytochemistry. 1984;23(1):139–142.
  4. Nishimoto N, Shiobara Y, Inoue SS, Hashimoto G. Three ecdysteroid glycosides from Pfaffia. Phytochemistry. 1988; 27(6):1665–1668.
  5. Duke JA. Medicinal plants of Latin America. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2009; p. 413.
  6. Nagamine MK, da Silva TC, Matsuzaki P, et al. Cytotoxic effects of butanolic extract from Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on cultured human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2009; 61(1):75-82.
  7. Da Silva TC, Cogliati B, da Silva AP, et al. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) roots decrease proliferation and increase apoptosis but do not affect cell communication in murine hepatocarcinogenesis. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2010;62(2):145-155
  8. Oshima M, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev. 2003; 49(2):175-180.
  9. Arletti R, Benelli A, Cavazzuti E, Scarpetta G, Bertolini A. Stimulating property of Turnera diffusa and Pfaffia paniculata extracts on the sexual-behavior of male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999;143(1):15-19.
  10. Carneiro CS, Costa-Pinto FA, da Silva AP, et al. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) methanolic extract reduces angiogenesis in mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2007;58(6):427-431.
  11. Pinello KC, Fonseca Ede S, Akisue G, et al. Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity. Life Sci. 2006; 78(12):1287-1292.
  12. De Oliveira FG, et al. Contribution to the pharmacognostic study of Brazilian ginseng Pfaffia paniculata. An Farm Quim. 1980; 20(1–2):277–361.