Maca is a healing and rejuvenating root plant commonly known as “Peruvian Ginseng.” It is an adaptogen, which means it raises the physical body’s state of resistance to disease. It is typically taken as a pill, liquid extract or as powdered maca root (my favorite). As with most plant-based foods, color matters! Different maca types can be yellow, black and red. In addition to being high in calcium, iron, vitamin C and amino acids (protein), maca has other beneficial healing properties. To name a few:
- Has the ability to regulate, support, and balance hormonal systems making it essential for the adrenal glands and therefore stress management
- Increases energy levels and fights fatigue, specifically black maca
- Improves sexual dysfunction and sexual desire in both in men and women (postmenopausal as well) as early as 14 days from ingestion
- Increases fertility by raising sperm count and motility
- Improves bone health- both black and red maca
- Reduces anxiety, depression, and improves overall mood, shown in small study including postmenopausal women
- Influences memory and learning, specifically black maca
How To Use & Store Maca
Powdered maca root can be added to smoothies, green juices, shakes, salads, yogurt, or simply mixed in water. Some experts suggest taking it on empty stomach at least 15 minutes before your meal for better absorption. Since maca is sensitive to light, oxygen, and humidity, I suggest storing in the fridge or freezer. Even though maca has received much attention over the past decade, research is still limited. Avoid using while pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
Have you tried maca yet?
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Pic from Veg Kitchen. Great article too!
Edited by Tamara Cabrero
Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 193496.