PART 1: WHAT IS MACA?
Common Name: “Peruvian Ginseng”
Botanical Name: Lepidium meyenii
Maca is considered to be one of the world’s greatest ADAPTOGENIC substances!
ADAPTOGENIC: A class of herbs that has proven to have the ability to relieve stress & the damaging effects of stress on the human body. Literally maca is “adaptation generating”!
Maca root has proven to be effective in the improvement of the following conditions (1) :
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Menopausal symptoms
- Menstrual disorders & discomfort
- Poor memory
- Stomach cancer
- Stress tension
Let’s explore maca root & look at the science behind it to understand how it produces these amazing effects!
PART 2: PRIMARY MEDICINAL BENEFITS OF MACA
Maca root is one of the foods with the highest nutrient density on the planet! Maca root consumption is known to have tremendous benefits for people suffering from nutritional deficiencies such as anemia. The pure food value alone of maca root provides the human body with nutrients that give us energy for enhanced physical activity. But maca also delivers a wide array of minerals that support the functioning of many body processes! Maca root is used traditionally in the Andes as well to increase breast milk production in nursing mothers!
(Table from : Taylor, Leslie, The Healing Power Of Rainforest Herbs, Square One Publishers, 2005 p340)
II) ENDOCRINE SYSTEM REGULATOR
Maca is packed not only with nutritive compounds but also contains medicinal compounds known as PLANT STEROLS. These compounds are the precursors to the production of hormones throughout the body. Maca contains the building material for our body to begin construction of hormonal substances throughout the body! Maca root consumption has a tremendous benefit to the hypothalamus & the production of neurotransmitters. It also nourishes the thyroid and enhances metabolism. And perhaps most importantly maca restores the adrenal glands & famously enhances sex hormone production!
Another HUGE factor in maca roots that produce a healthy sexual human are known as Glucosinolates (glucosides that contain sulfur). These aromatic compounds are part of the scent of maca roots. The main function of Glucosinolates is to rapidly eliminate toxic debris from the body (2). Maca shares these compounds with other stars of the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, radish and cabbage…
How is this sexy? One of the major toxic compounds we are currently exposed to at the moment is plastic pollution. Plastic acts as a XENOESTROGEN , a form of estrogen alien to the human body and can severely affect the healthy hormonal balance of both men and women. So eat plenty of Maca to make sure to flush these compounds OUT and be happy & horny!
“Well, for energy, of course,” the woman answered, “But it is very good for sex.”
-Andean woman when asked why she used Maca (3)
The above mentioned nourishment of the hormonal system is one of the ways that maca produces an increase in LIBIDO: the desire for sex! Maca has many scientific studies that show it’s effectiveness in producing enhanced romance! Here are some of the fascinating results that modern scientific methods have proven:
Maca Root (4):
- Increased sexual desire (libido) by 180%!
- Increased number and mobility of sperm
- Increased DHEA levels in a majority of men
- Decreased anxiety and stress
- Increased adrenal androgen (adrenaline)
- Promotes glucose utilization for energy rather than being processed into fat storage
- Produced a “general sense of well being”
- Lowered blood pressure
- Balanced blood iron levels
- Helps improve sexual activity and satisfaction by increasing vaginal lubrication in women
- Increased seminal volume (ejaculate) by 30 percent in men!
PART 3: HOW TO EAT MACA
Believe it or not maca is not just for smoothies!
Because it is a cruciferous vegetable it goes great in all sorts of savoury dishes!
Add a tbsp of Maca to your : Salad, Guacamole, Soups etc!
It’s subtle sweetness also shines in desserts, cookies & Chocolate especially!
As with any herb it is recommended to “Cycle” Maca : take it for 3 weeks, take 1 week off so as not to build a tolerance to the effects!
(1) Wolfe, David, Superfoods: The Food And Medicine Of The Future, North Atlantic Books, 2009, p 71
(2) Mattes, Carmen, The Wonders of Maca, Oceanside Publishing, 2007, p 18
(3) Killham, Chris, Tales From The Medicine Trail, Rodale Inc, 2000 p213
(4) Wolfe, David, Superfoods: The Food And Medicine Of The Future, North Atlantic Books, 2009, p 288
Denis Manzer has been a popular figure in the health food industry in Calgary for over a decade. Instructor of workshops at The Light Cellar Superfoods shop, Denis has been helping guide people to optimum health and wellness through peak performance nutrition and herbalism!