Health and Nutrition Articles

Maca: For Energy, Stamina, and Libido

Maca History and Details

Maca has been cultivated for over 2,600 years as a vegetable crop and is a food staple in Peru. It is nutritionally dense and contains five times more protein and four times more fiber than potatoes

High in minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, B vitamins, C and E, maca is a multi-faceted herb which has been used for centuries for a variety of health conditions. It has been recognized for its effect on the endocrine system as it nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These are the master glands of the body, and they help bring balance to the ovarian and testicular glands, the adrenals, thyroid and pancreas.

Maca also contains glucosinolates which are commonly found in cruciferous vegetables. Glucosinolates possess anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. According to a study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, glucosinolates may also be cancer-preventive.

Used most often to support sexual function, maca has been used by both peri and post-menopausal women to balance hormonal levels, improve libido and reduce anxiety and depression. It has been used by men to increase libido and enhance erectile function.

Studies also showed that maca given to subjects who had diminished sex drive from the use of SSRI antidepressants resulted in "improved sex drive, and improved overall sexual satisfaction."

Its ability to enhance endurance, stamina and energy has made maca a good resource to support chronic fatigue sufferers and anyone seeking to enhance athletic performance.

Medicine Hunger Chris Kilham states, "Maca has never demonstrated any toxicity of any kind, and is safe for everyone. Consumed daily, maca can make a dynamic contribution to health, and can significantly boost overall vitality and well being."

Dosage

Dosage amounts may range from 500 - 1,500 mg daily, depending on your purpose for taking the product or the severity.

Toxicity

While no toxicity has been found with maca consumption, if you are pregnant or nursing, check with your healthcare practitioner before using maca.

According to WebMD, "There is currently no information for Maca Interactions."

Quick Facts

  • Maca is a cruciferous root vegetable grown in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is the highest altitude crop grown in the world. As a relative of the radish family, it has an odor similar to butterscotch.
  • It is also known as Peruvian ginseng, Peruvian Maca, Ginseng Andin, Ayak chichira and Ayuk Willku, it is the root of the plant that is used in supplements.
  • Maca is rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and E, and a generous supply of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and amino acids
  • As an adaptogenic tuber, maca supports the adrenal system and strengthens the body's response to stress and physiological changes. Adaptogens help balance, protect and restore the body.
  • Used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Supports bone health
  • Promotes mood health and mental clarity
  • Used by athletes to increase stamina and athletic performance
  • Demonstrates improvement in libido and sexual function
  • May boost fertility Supports healthy hormone production
  • Promotes skin health