Lepidium meyenii or maca is an herbaceous biennial plant or annual plant (some sources say a perennial plant) native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (actually a fused hypocotyl and taproot), which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb. Its Spanish and Quechua names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku.
Maca is traditionally grown at altitudes of approximately 4,100–4,500 metres (13,500–14,800 ft) elevation. It grows well only in cold climates with relatively poor agricultural soils, habitats where few other crops can be grown. Constituents
In addition to sugars and proteins, maca contains uridine, malic acid and its benzoyl derivative, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and m-methoxyglucotropaeolin. The methanol extract of maca tuber also contained (1R, 3S)-1-methyltetrahydro-carboline-3-carboxylic acid, a molecule which is reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system.
The nutritional value of dried maca root is high, similar to cereal grains such as rice and wheat. It contains 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 2.2% fats. Maca is rich in essential minerals, especially selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, and includes fatty acids including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, and 19 amino acids, as well as polysaccharides.
Maca's reported beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients, though maca contains a chemical called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties.
Uses and preparation
Maca has been harvested and used by humans in the Andean Mountains for centuries. Contrary to frequent claims that maca's cultivation was common in what is today Peru and Bolivia.
Maca is consumed as food for humans and livestock, suggesting any risk from consumption is rather minimal. It is considered safe to eat as any other vegetable food. However, maca does contain glucosinolates, which can cause goitres when high consumption is combined with a diet low in iodine. Darker colored maca roots (red, purple, black) contain significant amounts of natural iodine, a 10-gram serving of dried maca generally containing 52 µg of iodine.
Though this is common in other foods with high levels of glucosinolate, it is uncertain if maca consumption can cause or worsen a goiter. Maca has been shown to reduce enlarged prostate glands in rats though its effects on humans are unknown.
Small-scale clinical trials performed in men have shown that maca extracts can heighten libido and improve semen quality, though no studies have been performed on men with sexual dysfunction or infertility.
Maca does not affect sex hormone levels in humans, and has not been shown to act on hormones directly. It has been presumed that maca's hormone-normalizing effects may be due to the root's unique nutritional profile, which provides optimum levels of nutrients utilized by the body's endocrine system. In addition, maca has been shown to increase mating behavior in male mice and rats.
Legality: Maca is considered a medicinal herb in Norway, and is not legal without a prescription.
POWERFUL ENERGIZER THAT
FIGHTS STRESS AND MALE IMPOTENCE
Recommended use: Miraculous energizer and natural anti-stress. It is highly recommended for treatments of infertility and male impotence.
Acts as nutrient, restorative and stamina enhancer hence helping to cope with mental and physical tiredness. One of the best properties of MACA is to fortify the osseous structure and to increase energies.
It is very used in cases of convalescence, lack of memory, fatigue and as a general tonic so as in weakness cases. MACA`S properties are innumerable.
Product description: MACA, also known as Peruvian Ginseng is a plant cultivated only in the Andes of Peru, between 3,500 and 4,500 meters of altitude.
It had an important role during the time of the Incas Empire, since it was used as part of the feeding ration given to the best Inca warriors, to have more energy, strength and vitality for battles.
At the present time, its nutritional value has been recognized worldwide. For this reason the NASA uses MACA within its nutritional programs and also FAO includes it in the product listing to fight against nutritional problems.
MACA nutritional value comes partly from its high protein content and the quantity of amino acids (18 amino acids, including 7 of 9 essential amino acids), carbohydrates and other compounds as fatty oils (2 of 3 essentials), minerals and vitamins.
MACAS therapeutic effects are due to the presence of secondary metabolites like alkaloids, glucosinolates, sterols, phenolic compounds and others, that have been analyzed in a series of studies performed in Peru and other countries.
Because of MACAS physical and mental energizing effect it is an ideal supplement for a vast range of people, from sportsmen/women to students, professionals, older people, etc. The use of MACA do not cause weight gain because its low contents of grease and high percentage of fiber.
Part of the plant used: The root of the Lepidium meyenii plant is used.