What is Maca?
Maca is an herbaceous plant native to The Andes of Peru and Bolivia, where it is cultivated.
Besides its nutritional qualities, the maca acquired reputation due to its roots have properties that increase fertility and improve libido.
It is known in phytotherapy for its properties to regulate the endocrine system, helping to regulate hormonal imbalances, increasing fertility and sexual function.
Know as the natural viagra, this plant increases the number of sperm and stimulation of both male and female reproductive organs.
Although indigenous populations have been consuming it for centuries, maca is fairly new in the Western world as a commercial supplement, but it is rapidly gaining popularity due to its amazing healing properties.
The Andean maca closely resembles a radish in shape, however, it is slightly larger in size. The root is three to six centimeters wide and 4.7 centimeters long.
It is cultivated at an altitude of 2.700 to 4.300 meters above sea level, and has been cultivated in the Peruvian Andes for almost 2.600 years.
The health benefits of maca have been known since immemorial times, even before the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru.
The Indians used it not only as an aphrodisiac, but also as a potent herb to cure many diseases.
During the Spanish colonization of Peru, maca was used by the Incas to pay taxes.
The nutritional profile of the Andean maca is similar to that of cereals, with 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% fiber and 2.2% fat.
The maca can be obtained in three “presentations”:
- Red (or “Puka” by the natives), is the one that offers the greatest antioxidant and anticancer potential.
- Purple-Red (Maca miracle, local name), with high amounts of anthocyanins, being an antioxidant unbeatable.
- Black (or “yana”), with stimulating effects for the brain and aphrodisiac properties.
Andean Maca Benefits
It is a powerful source of energy
Increases strength, libido, endurance, sports performance and brings a sense of general well-being.
Maca is an adaptogen, helps our body to adapt to stress situations and increases the ability of the body to defend against physical and mental weakening.
In addition, support the adrenal glands, maintaining the general health of the body in stress situations.
This is due to one of its main components, the macamide. It acts on the hypothalamus and the adrenal glands, so it regulates hormone levels and has an energetic effect. In turn, it increases blood flow in the pelvic area, stimulating sexual potency.
Not only that, current studies confirm that they increase fertility in both men and women, it improves sperm production and mobility, even at high altitudes and also serves to prevent prostate hyperplasia.
The maca is nutritious and energetic, offering substances that regulate and stimulate the organism. It transports more oxygen to the body and avoids low pressure. It can also prevent anemia.
Additionally it contains iodine, another energetic element, that serves to regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland; and zinc, which helps the immune system.
It is an ideal complement to decrease fatigue, memory loss and stress.
On the other hand, it is an unbeatable sports supplement, because it increases physical resistance.
Regulates endocrine system
It regulates and increases the function of the endocrine system, the glands that produce the hormones necessary for essential bodily and metabolic functions such as fertility, sexual function, digestion, brain performance, nervous system physiology and energy levels.
Hormones regulate many things, including mood, growth, sexual development and tissue function.
Besides, hormones also play a role in many diseases, such as cancer and depression.
It has an analgesic effect thanks to the terpenoids and saponins that gives it the power to relieve pain and act as an expectorant and sedative.
Relieves PMS and menopause symptoms
Women have found that it helps relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Also their natural phytosteroids help to treat hot flashes.
Stimulates immune system
Thanks to alkaloids, this superfood stimulates defensive or phagocytic cells, avoiding tumors or cancer.
It also helps prevent colds or catching any disease that is related to a weak immune system due to stress, nerves or anguish (such as some viruses or herpes).
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It has antidepressant properties
Consumed as a supplement, maca avoids the lack of libido due to anxiolytic or antidepressant medication. In addition, improves memory and learning, because the brain is more “awake.”
All those people who consume pills for depression or sleeping, can ingest maca to avoid side effects, always with medical supervision.
This is because the maca belongs to the same family as the crucifers, such as broccoli, arugula, cabbage, mustard or cabbage. All are known for their anticancer properties due to a component called glucosinate, which gives it its characteristic spicy flavor.
It has an antioxidant function to keep the organism healthy. At the same time, it naturally eliminates cells damaged or affected by a tumor. It is antidegenerative and antimutagenic.
Protect our skin
The maca also takes care of the health of the skin. It is consumed and cultivated in high altitude areas in The Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru, that is, in places where ultraviolet radiation is very high and does not have spaces to shelter from the sun.
The natives and the visitors that consume this root during their trips by the mountain, will not have problems with UV rays.
Maca increases the thickness of the epidermis (microscopically, of course) and serves to protect from the sun as if a factor of 30 were used.
Men have used maca to increase fertility and sexual function. For this reason it has earned the nickname “Viagra of nature.”
However, as we have seen, maca also has many other wonderful benefits for our health.
And the list does not end there. We will also find in this powerful root the following goodness:
- Help to get a deeper sleep
- Improves memory and brain function
- Delays the aging process
- Invert vaginal dryness
- Helps to avoid osteoporosis
- Improves Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Regulates Female hormone imbalance
- Softens HIV/AIDS symptoms
How is maca consumed?
Peruvians always eat cooked maca. This can be roasted, boiled and mixed with milk as cereal, as well as mashed or dried as flour. They also prepare fermented as beer.
As for its doses, it is worth mentioning that maca is a natural food or supplement, which can be consumed over a long period without suffering any collateral or harmful effects. However, it is advisable to ingest a certain amount according to the form below:
- Capsules: Between 1.5 to 3 grams per day mixed with juices.
- Gelatin: Between 1.5 to 3 grams daily.
- Dry whole root: No more than 25 grams each day, for cooked foods (such as stews or soups).
- Powder: To be consumed in cheeses, yoghurts or juices. One teaspoon per day at breakfast.
- Creams: For skin care purposes by adding it to your creams, you can get some external products with maca, without stipulated dose.
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Side effects of maca
Some people may experience side effects when they begin to consume maca, such as insomnia and hyperactivity.
Known for providing energy, insomnia would be avoided by not consuming it in the afternoon or evening.
In Norway, Maca is considered a medicine and can not be used without a prescription.
Adverse Effects of maca
As long as it is not abused, as it will be with any other food, maca is a staple food in Peru and there are not known severe contraindications. However, from time to time some people experience adverse effects when they start consuming maca, and these symptoms may actually be symptoms of detoxification.
If this happens, you may feel bad, but it usually lasts a few days.
Due also to its fiber content (8.5%), maca has some influence on the digestive system.
When consumed in excess, the fiber accelerates the rhythm of digestion which leads to gas and sometimes diarrhea, which could cause dehydration.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the use of maca supplements may not be recommended because they may contain some ingredient or contaminant that may affect the baby and the mother in a negative way.
If you decide to consume do it always under the supervision of a qualified doctor.
Where to buy maca?
Due to its popularity, maca is widely available at health stores, pharmacies and even online retailers.
Preferably, look for a maca supplier that purchases their product right from the source in South America. You will also want a supplier that is certified organic and GMO free so you know you are not getting any unwanted chemicals or hormones with your maca root.
Some recommendation below:
First, I highly recommend Maca from Starwest Botanicals. They are experts in organic herbs, spices, essential and vegetable oils and many other natural products beneficial for our health.
You can also find good quality maca through Amazon:
Finally, adding maca to your daily routine, will help you gain vitality to face your quotidian duties with enthusiasm and in an easier way. In addition, you will experience a pleasant feeling of general well-being.
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