Maca is a popular herb used for a range of health benefits.
It is known as a medicinal plant, native to Peru, that has the power to increase energy, stamina and enhance fertility.
What is Maca?
Maca, also known as lepidium meyenii, is a plant that is native to Peru, and is grown in the high altitudes and harsh conditions of the Andes mountains.
Maca can be grown in the wild and can also be cultivated. It also grows in a variety of different colors, with variations occurring naturally in the plant.
It is a tuberous root that is also known as an adaptogen, due to its ability to enhance the overall general health and wellbeing of consumers.
Maca is actually considered part of the Brassicaceae family, and therefore offers some of the same health benefits as other members of this plant family such as kale, cabbage, broccoli, turnips and many others.
It is for this reason that Maca is considered a sort of wonder plant, with a range of benefits perfect for alleviating stress, improving your mood, increasing energy levels and your overall well being.
According to many avid Maca users, the plant is also an aphrodesiac, used to enhance the sex drive, increase the libido and improve fertility.
Maca has been used to improve fertility in humans and in animals for centuries, with some of the first indigenous people reaping the rewards of this herb since its inception.
What are the main benefits of using Maca?
There are a broad range of benefits of using Maca, which is why this herb has become so widely popular. The main appeal of using Maca is that it is packed full of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins that can support the body.
Maca is full of vitamins such as copper, iron and vitamin C, but is also high in carbs and rich in bioactive plant compounds, proven to improve your health.
Another very common reason people use Maca is because of the benefits it has on libido and sexual desire. Maca is proven to increase the libido of both men and women, and is a natural way of boosting sexual desire.
This is one of the biggest appeals for Maca plant enthusiasts, with many clinical trials and studies concluding that Maca increases sexual desire after frequent consumption.
In addition to this, other studies have shown evidence that Maca increases male fertility, sperm quality and quantity.
The study shows that after consuming Maca for four months, the sperm volume, count, quality and motility was improved in both healthy and infertile men.
Other studies have concluded that Maca may relieve the symptoms of menopause. These symptoms can be very unpleasant for many women, including hot flashes, mood swings, sleeping issues and vaginal dryness.
Some of these symptoms have been known to lessen with the inclusion of Maca in the diet of menopausal women.
In a similar way, one of the main benefits of consuming Maca is its ability to lift and enhance the mood.
This superfood can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and so is used as a means of increasing your mood and reducing irritability and mood swings.
Another benefit of incorporating Maca powder into your diet is the fact that it works to boost energy levels, performance and stamina.
Maca root powder is often used as a supplement by athletes, performers and body builders.
This is because studies claim that Maca can help increase strength, boost energy levels and improve your overall exercise performance.
It is also known to enhance endurance and increase stamina, and so it comes as no surprise that many athletes and health-conscious people want to try the properties of Maca for themselves.
A small study once showed that eight cyclists improved their time when completing a 40km bike ride after supplementing with Maca extract for 2 weeks.
Whether Maca can indeed help build muscle mass or strength, there is no physical evidence, but it has been shown to boost the energy levels and endurance levels of many people.
Maca is not just used to boost energy, it can also be used to protect the skin from the sun. Is there anything this plant cannot do? UV rays from the sun can quickly damage and burn unprotected skin.
Over time, this can cause skin damage, wrinkles, spots and even increase the risk of skin cancer.
This is why it is so important to protect the skin when exposed to sunlight. Another benefit of using Maca, is that Maca extract, when applied to the skin can help protect it from UV rays and sunlight.
With so many polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates in Maca, it provides a protective effect and a barrier against UV rays if applied properly and over a period of time.
However, you should keep in mind that sunscreen is most effective when out in the sun for extended periods of time, and Maca extract cannot replace the effects of sunscreen.
Finally, another great benefit of using Maca is that it may reduce the prostate size. The prostate gland is only found in men, and can become enlarged as men age.
An enlarged prostate can cause many health issues, such as pressure on the bladder, making it difficult to urinate.
Some studies have proposed that red maca can be beneficial when used on the prostate as it may reduce the size, and reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
However, these studies have only been conducted on animals, and it has not been concluded as to whether this works in the same way for humans.
The overall benefits of Maca are increased libido, improved fertility, along with the boosting of energy levels, endurance and stamina. In addition, some people may feel an increase in their moods, and Maca can relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression and menopause.
What is Maca used for?
Maca has been used for centuries. It is a natural plant that helps to increase energy, stamina, wellbeing and mood, and so its properties have long been hailed as positive and useful.
It was in 1653 that Father Bernabe Cobo, wrote about Maca and how it is able to grow in the coldest, harshest and most vicious regions of the Andes, where no other sustenance usually grows.
It was then used as a medicine by people of Peru, Bolivian and other areas of the Andes in order to survive and thrive in the harsh climates of the high mountains.
Maca was therefore used to support people in this climate to reproduce, adapt, and survive in cold, rugged terrain where there would be low oxygen, strong wind, and intense sun.
One of the main reasons native people would eat Maca is because of its nutritional value.
As previously mentioned, living in the conditions of the Andes made it hard for communities to survive, and so the Maca plant provided much of their nutritional needs and boosted energy levels in the cold, harsh climate.
Just one ounce (28 grams) of Maca root powder can provide you with 85% of your recommended daily amount of copper along with 133% of your daily amount of Vitamin C.
Also, you would get 23% of the recommended daily amount of iron, 16% of your potassium intake, 15% of vitamin B6 and 10% of manganese.
In addition, the powder provides 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs and just 91 calories.
What this data shows is that Maca powder is high in carbs, and rich in a wide range of vital nutrients and minerals!
Maca also contains plant compounds, which are sometimes known to relieve the symptoms of depression, reduce anxiety and improve the mood.
This is why so many people swear by the benefits of Maca, and consider it a powerhouse of health benefits!
Many clinical trials have demonstrated that Maca root can normalize energy levels, and increase endurance, stamina and support a healthy libido.
In many male-orientated studies, Maca has been known to significantly increase sexual desire, whilst also improving the mood and blood pressure in postmenopausal women in other trials.
The Maca plant is most often dried or consumed in a powder form, although you can purchase it in capsules or as a liquid. The flavor of Maca root can sometimes be an acquired taste, with many people describing it as nutty, earthy and dry.
However, you can add Maca powder to smoothies, fruit bowls, yoghurts and oatmeal to get an influx of energy and enjoy its properties.
History of Maca
Research shows that Maca has been around for about 2000 years, and was first used in Central Peru. It is understood that people native to this area used Maca due to its positive effects on livestock, increasing the energy and fertility levels of the animals.
Maca was later used for a wide range of health improvements, as indigenous people of Peru would eat up to 20 grams of dried Maca in order to increase their stamina, energy, libido and fertility.
It was in 1653 that the first document recorded the effects and properties of Maca. It was said that the herb was used as nourishment, and for fertility purposes in the high mountains.
Later, during colonial times, it is reported that Maca was demanded from the natives, and up to nine tons of the herb was wanted annually.
During the Spanish conquest of America, evidence shows that indigenous and Spanish soldiers would utilize Maca in high doses in order to prepare for battle and increase their energy levels!
It was only in 1964 that Maca was actually introduced to the rest of the world on a large scale, but people were skeptical of its powers at first.
In the 1980s, the cultivation of Maca stooped to record lows, as many people did not understand or accept its benefits.
However, during the late 1990s, doctors and people outside of Latin America began to notice the health benefits of using Maca, and Maca powder became more widespread and popular.
From about the early 2000s onwards, the export of Maca from Peru grew 5 times, and became one of the top exports that the country provides!
Best places to get Maca
You can purchase Maca online in powder form, in a liquid extract, or as capsules, depending on your preference.
Maca root powder:
Maca root capsules: