Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) is a plant that grows in the Andes Mountains, mainly in Peru. It’s been cultivated as a vegetable for more than 3000 years. Maca is a relative of the radish and has an odor similar to butterscotch. Maca hypocotyls may be gold or cream, red, purple, blue, black, or green and has its different nutritional and therapeutic properties. Cream-colored roots are the most popular ones in Peru because of their sweetness and size. Red, purple and black Maca contain significant amounts of natural iodine, whereas black maca is considered the strongest in energy, being sweet and slightly bitter in taste. Red maca is becoming popular among many people all over the world, as it has a potential to reduce prostate.
The nutritional value of dried maca root is very high and can be easily compared to cereal grains. It is high in protein, dietary minerals like calcium and potasium, iron, fiber, natural sugars, iodine, copper, zinc and magnesium, vitamin C, B2 and B6, as well as important fatty acids, like linolenic and palmitic acid, oleic acids, and 19 more amino acids. That is exactly why people call it “superfood”.
Maca root is well known for increasing libido and treating sexual dysfunctions. It boosts the potency of the male libido, especially for those who have suffered from impotency, low sex-drive or any other fertility problems, by improving quality and quantity of sperm that was lower than normal sperm counts. Because of its glucosinolate levels and aromatic componds, like p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, libido-boosting properties that are exclusive to maca, it is an actual potent aphrodisiac. After a lot of studies on rats, new studies have confirmed that maca root can treat sexual dysfunction in humans as well.1
The main ingredients and naturally occurring substances in maca strengthen endurance, increase stamina and energy levels. It happens not only because maca stabilizes blood sugar level, but also because it also has a strengthening effect on the adrenals. Altogether, it gives athletes natural advantages. It helps runners and cyclists to get better results. But what is more important and less obvious for someone – it helps you burn fat faster/more efficiently and loose extra weight, by making your cardio routine more simple and making you feel full of energy any time of the day! Because of its effect on adrenals, maca helps your CNS (Central Nervous System) to recover faster from the stress and improves your heavy lifting routine by becoming less exhausted or overly fatigued. Because you are getting so active and feeling full of energy, you start feeling better mentally. As we know, exercising is one of the best ways to treat depression, and maca can easily help you increase your motivation.
Maca is a wonderful ingredient that can help women fight menopause symptoms, like hot flashes, night and day sweats, sleep disorders, anxiety and aching joints.² The active ingredients of maca root decrease these symptoms in the beginning and potentially can make them gone entirely. It helps balance the body’s hormone levels naturally without any synthetic hormone supplements and their side effects. Moreover, maca eases all the uncomfortable menstrual symptoms a woman can experience before or during her periods.
Nowadays, maca became one of the most important ingredients in hair and skin care products, as well as widely used by such famous brands as Body Shop and Fermes de Marie. It moisturizes, protects, nourishes and softens the skin, as well as refills wrinkles and makes your skin look younger. It makes your hair thicker and stronger, at the same time protecting your hair bulb from an everyday damage like brushing, straightening or curling. Helps prevent hair loss.
1 A double blind, randomized, pilot dose finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI induced sexual dysfunction. Dording, Christina M;Fisher, Lauren;Papakostas, George;Farabaugh, Amy;Sonawalla, Shamsah;Fava, Maurizio;Mischoulon, David;CNS neuroscience & therapeutics; 2008
2 H. O. Meissner,1 W. Kapczynski,2 A. Mscisz,3 and J. Lutomski3 Use of Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum) in Early Postmenopausal Women; Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun; 1(1): 33–45.
Maca is SAFE for most people.
Maca can act like estrogen, so if you have any condition that might get worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use it.
Maca is very popular in Peru and used for anemia, energy, fertility, food, impotence, memory, menopause, menstrual disorders, and tuberculosis.
Andean Indians and indigenous peoples don’t have much of maca, so they trade it with rice, corn, green vegetables or beans.