Lepidium Meyenii is the scientific name for the Maca plant. It is native to the Peruvian Andes Mountain range, hence referred to as Peruvian ginseng.
We’ll explore the potential benefits of maca root in this article.
What is Maca Root?
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable family of cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. The plant’s root looks like a turnip and is available in three varieties; yellow, red, and black.
Peruvian Maca is rich in fiber, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. The Andean people traditionally used Maca as food or fermented drink. They also use the Maca as a natural medicine to treat various health issues like rheumatic diseases and respiratory problems.
One tsp of Maca contains roughly the following nutrients:
Fiber: 2 gm
Protein: 1 gm
Carbohydrates: 6 gm
Sugar: 4 gm
It also contains bioactive compounds like macamides, macaridine, alkaloids, and glucosinolates, which have medicinal benefits.
Maca has gained popularity worldwide in the last few decades due to its natural remedy to treat certain health problems.
Benefits of Maca Root
Maca root can bring about various health benefits. However, note that this herb should never replace your usual medications or treatment recommended by your doctor.
Potential benefits of this root plane include:
1. Increase Libido
It is one of the most well-known benefits of this root plant due to its tonic, stimulant, and anti-depressant properties. Hence, traditionally it is seen as an aphrodisiac.
Research study shows it also benefits people with low libido or low sexual desire.
2. May Improve Fertility in Males
Several studies suggest a link between maca root consumption and increased fertility in men. Consuming Maca daily can also improve semen quality and can improve sperm count.
Research also shows that yellow and black Maca can have a positive impact on libido (sex drive), sperm count (concentration of sperm cell), and sperm motility (quality of sperm) .
3. Reducing Erectile Dysfunction
Maca can help significantly with erectile dysfunction. Research shows that people consuming maca root experience more sexual well-being than pills.
4. Reduces Symptoms of Menopause
Maca can also help reduce menopause symptoms by balancing levels of estrogen hormones in the body.
Estrogen levels fluctuate and can cause other symptoms during the premenopausal stage.
Furthermore, studies found that women consuming maca roots experienced reduced issues like night sweats and hot flashes .
5. Help to Manage Anxiety
Maca root can help regulate hormone production and increase energy, and therefore it may be excellent for managing anxiety and symptoms related to depression.
6. Boosts Energy Levels
Maca also contains a high level of carbohydrates and is the primary source for the body. Research studies also show that Maca helps improve energy levels, makes you feel awake, and helps you concentrate better.
Moreover, many athletes and sports people use Maca to enhance their performance and maintain their energy levels.
7. Improves Mood
Maca contains flavonoids that help to improve mood—as per research, consuming Maca reduces anxiety and depression, especially in postmenopausal women.
8. Improving Learning and Memory
It can also improve learning and memory. It improves brain function and memory in the elderly.
Some research also suggests that it is beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Fighting Free Radicals
Maca roots contain antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which help fight off free radicals and prevent cell damage.
Studies show that it can prevent health conditions like cancer and heart problems.
10. Protect from Sun Damage
Studies have shown that Maca also protects skin from harmful UV rays. Some research studies also show that Maca can reduce the formation of sunburn cells .
11. Improves Cognitive Function
Maca can also improve motor coordination and cognitive function. It can also slow the process of age-related cognitive decline.
Maca Root Side Effects and Precautions
Maca is safe for almost everyone if consumed in a limited quantity. However, if you have any health condition like thyroid, it is best to avoid it.
Pregnant or nursing mothers should consult healthcare before including it in their diet.
Though Maca does not have any potential side effects, you should consult a medical practitioner for the following:-
Understanding Hidden Ingredients
If you consume maca powder for erectile dysfunction, you should check for all other ingredients. Some manufacturers add sildenafil to their products. Sildenafil is an active ingredient for Viagra and can have serious side effects.
Therefore, using herbal products for a specific health condition should be done under doctors’ supervision.
Interactions with Medication
Maca powder can interact with certain drugs. Hence, always check with a medical professional before consuming it.
How To Use Maca
Maca is quickly and widely available in capsules, powder, gelatin, and a tincture in supermarkets, food stores, and online retailers.
It can be added to smoothies, energy bars, oatmeal, baked goods, etc. It blends well with sweeter flavors, as it has a nutty, earthy taste.
Although there is no standard recommended dose for consuming Maca, consuming 1-3 gm per day is safe.
Maca Powder Benefits for Men
Maca roots also hold special significance in Peruvian culture. It has been considered an aphrodisiac, which helps boost fertility in men.
Some of the potential benefits for men include:
1. Boost Fertility and Testosterone Levels
Maca roots have been used for 1000 years as a traditional remedy to boost fertility. It helps to increase sperm formation, production, and mobility in men.
2. Prostate Health
Prostate hyperplasia is a common problem in men. Studies show that consuming Maca can reduce the enlargement of the prostate. It acts as an androgen receptor on the prostrate and hence, prevents it from building up hormones.
Maca is rich in bioactive proteins that naturally promote muscle growth. It is taken as a supplement by many bodybuilders and athletes. It boosts energy and endurance levels along with muscle strength.
Maca Root Benefits for Women
There are many benefits of consuming maca powder. For instance, red Maca improves bone density and circulation, while black helps with memory and brain function.
Consuming small quantities can have numerous health benefits:
- It balances hormones and symptoms of menopause and PMS.
- It improves fertility in females by regulating menstrual cycles.
- Helps with metabolic function.
- It helps to reduce levels of inflammation.
- It helps with mood swings, especially during the premenopausal stage
- Improves thyroid function and overall well-being
- It helps women struggling with post-natal depression
Maca Root and Ashwagandha
Maca Root is grown in Peru, while Ashwagandha has a traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine history. It helps to maintain a balanced and active sex life.
Many product companies offer a blend of these ingredients, as no studies suggest any benefits or complications of consuming them together.
Bottomline: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects of Maca
Maca has been used as a food ingredient and natural medicine for thousands of years.
It is a nutritional powerhouse and an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. Plus, it contains nutrients like Vitamin C, Zinc, Copper, etc.
Maca Root has become popular globally due to its properties for increasing libido, sexual desire, and fertility.
Pregnant and nursing women should only consume it after consulting a medical professional.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.