Maca is the common name for Lepidium meyenii (wild growing maca) and Lepidium peruvianum (cultivated maca), which are plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family (the family that also includes broccoli, turnips, and radishes). Although similar, the two plants have distinct differences between them in terms of visual appearance and phytochemical profiles. The roots of the plants can be red, black, pink, or yellow. As a supplement, maca root is usually sold in the form of dried powder and is often mixed into smoothies and other beverages. It is a perfectly balanced mix of fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
It has been used by South American indigenous populations for centuries and has now made it over to our shores so you can give your diet a healthy boost, too.
The maca root contains several chemicals such as fatty acids and amino acids. While research may not be able to determine exactly how it functions, the maca root’s reputation as an aphrodisiac has been around for thousands of years. But one thing is certain — the maca root does not contain hormones, but does contain the nutrients necessary to support hormone production. It’s like giving your hormones a little pick-me-up, and it’s all natural. The maca root may also produce mental clarity and deliver energy on top of enhancing sex drive. Other uses include treating anemia and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance and memory. It is also used to help improve female fertility and help treat female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, menopause symptoms and sexual dysfunction. Overall, the maca root extract may arouse sexual desire and boost the immune system.
What are maca’s main benefits?
A small amount of research suggests maca can increase libido to a notable degree and improve sexual function to a small degree. Maca may also improve the symptoms of menopause, especially those related to mood (such as anxiety and depression), though more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn regarding its effectiveness.