Maca Root - June Featured Herb
Find yourself depending on coffee for a boost in the morning?
Why not try maca instead?
It offers an
amazing energy boost for those with low energy.
Maca however, unlike coffee, offers energy in a non-caffeinated way that
supports the body.
Maca root, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a plain, very resistant
plant of the family Cruciferae, with reddish roots like radishes.
It is an herbaceous biennial plant
native to the high Andes of Peru around Lake Junin.
It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (actually a fused hypocotyl and
taproot), which is used as a root vegetable, a medicinal herb, and a
Its Spanish and Quechua names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira,
and ayak willku.
The maca root is usually dried and stored, can last for 7 years.
Maca root powder is made of maca root.
Maca root powder is now more popular because of its beneficial
aphrodisiac properties, and general strengthening of the body.
Maca is a nutritionally dense super-food that contains high amounts of
minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids.
Maca root is rich in B-vitamins (B1 and B2), which are the energy vitamins, and
maca is a vegetarian source of B-12.
It also contains vitamin C.
All these vitamins ensure proper functioning of
the heart, the conversion of carbohydrates into energy, aids cell growth
and adequate production of red blood cells.
Maca root powder also contains four types of alkaloids, which are
indirectly through the hormone system responsible for the proper utilization
of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
In addition, maca has high levels of bioavailable calcium and
is great for remineralization.
The nutritional value of dried maca root is high, similar to cereal grains
such as rice and wheat.
The average composition is 60-75% carbohydrates, 10-14% protein, 8.5%
dietary fiber, and 2.2% fats.
Maca contains the essential trace elements iron,
iodine, copper, manganese, and zinc as well as fatty acids including
linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, and 19 amino acids.
In addition to sugars and proteins, maca contains uridine, malic acid
and its benzoyl derivative, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and
The methanol extract of maca tuber also contains
(1R,3S)-1-methyltetrahydro-carboline-3-carboxylic acid, a molecule which
is reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system.
Many different alkamides were found in maca.
Further, maca contains selenium and high levels of magnesium, and includes
Maca's reported beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its
high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients; maca contains a chemical
called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac
Maca Powder Benefits
Instead of providing hormones to the body, maca works as an adaptogen
which means that it responds to different bodies' needs individually.
If you're producing too much of a particular hormone, maca will regulate
the production downward.
However, if you're producing too little, it'll regulate the production upward.
Hormones regulate many things including mood, growth, sexual development,
and tissue function.
Hormones also play a role in many diseases, like cancer and depression.
Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which
are the "master glands" of the body.
These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they
can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and
Maca root has been shown to be beneficial for all sorts of hormonal
problems including PMS, menopause, and hot flashes.
Maca's also a fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido
and sexual function, especially in men.
For this reason, it's earned the nickname "nature's Viagra."
Maca powder also plays an important role in increasing the resistance of
our body, our energy supplies, it boosts the immune system, reduces stress
and improves our overall health.
To conclude - with regular use, you'll do great service to yourself and your body, because maca powder benefits are:
- quick supply of body energy
- increase of endurance
- alleviation of chronic fatigue
- increase of fertility
- relief of menstrual symptoms
- reduction of hormonal disorders during menopause
- regulation of hormonal balance in the body
- improvement of overall health
- reduction of stress
- treatment of anemia
- help with wound healing
- improvement of memory, mental and academic abilities
- providing the skin a youthful look
- contributing to healthy bones and teeth
- acting as an antioxidant and anticancerogenic, thus reducing the risk of cancer tissues and the development of cardiovascular disease (similar to Vitamin B17)
- a positive effect on increasing muscle mass, and by many athletes as an alternative to synthetic steroids that are known that can have many side effects
Enjoy the Benefits of Maca as Food
Maca has a light, nutty flavor and some easy, delicious ways to consume
maca powder as a food are to:
It's recommended to start with a 1/2 teaspoon a day, and work up to a
teaspoon or two a day over the course of a few weeks.
If you're taking it daily, it's best to take a day off each week.
In the market it can be found in the form of powder or capsules.
- Stir a teaspoon of maca in a bowl of vegetable and lentil soup before
serving; sea salt and maca root are a wonderful soup flavoring.
- Add a teaspoon to any herbal tea.
- Pour maca powder over organic, non-microwaved popcorn and flavor
with coconut oil and sea salt.
- If you're not watching your sugar intake, mix a bit of maca powder
with enough grade B maple syrup or honey to produce a wet paste, and
enjoy with a spoon.
It's a delicious dessert-like treat, and it's great on bananas too.
If you're one who "needs" a sweet fix, this is delicious and healthy way
to do it.
Maca Root Powder Side Effects
Maca is a food staple in Peru and there are no known effects of toxicity.
However, occasionally some people experience adverse effects when they start
taking maca, and these symptoms may actually be detoxification symptoms.
This is because when a body more accustomed to consuming processed and
cooked foods starts taking in such a nutritionally dense supplement,
the body will absorb the superior nutrients it needs and "throw off"
the old junk it doesn't need for elimination.
If this happens, you might feel badly but it generally lasts just a few days.
You may also want to consider doing colon and liver cleansing before or
while taking maca to quickly remove some of the waste your body is trying
Doing so will help with many adverse symptoms.
Maca regulates hormones, and since there have been no testing to prove
the safety of use in patients suffering from cancers related with hormones
of breast, ovaries, uterus, testicles - these people need to be
Maca root powder should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation.
People who have the gall and liver disease, or high blood pressure,
definitely should consult a physician before using maca root powder.
It is also not wise to take it if you are using medications that increase
fertility, as well as with ginseng.
- The Great Encyclopaedia of Healing Stones, Fragrances
and Herbs, published by Methusalem, 2008.