for Libido and Hormones
Peruvian Super Food”
Nutritionist Paul E
an herb native of the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru for thousands of
years. Maca is a member of the cruciferous family of plants. The plant
is considered a member of the species Lepidium meyenii; it is a distant
relative of the tuberous root vegetable radish. The Maca plant produces
leaves that grow close to the ground and the plant produces a small,
Maca root was first observed by a German Botanist back in 1843 but has
been more recently recognized and studied by Peruvian biologist Gloria
Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D.
grows at an elevation of approximately 11,000-15,000 feet making
it likely the highest altitude food-herb crop in the
world. The root
grows well only in cold climates with relatively poor agricultural
soils, areas where few other crops can be grown. Although mostly cream
in color, there are also red and black Maca varieties, the Peruvian
cream color being the sweetest in taste and size.
Archeological data has shown that Maca was domesticated over 2,000
years ago by the predecessors of the Incan people. Many indigenous
inhabitants of the Andes, still view Maca as a valuable
The Maca root has been used over the ages for its nutritional and
herbal qualities. Once harvested, the Maca root was traditionally
dried, then powdered. Once powdered it was either eaten or put into
sacs and traded for other commodities. Maca was used as money by
ancient indigenous peoples.
For thousands of years, Maca has been known as a powerful strength and
enhancer. Maca is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the
ability to balance and stabilize the body's cardiovascular, nervous,
musculature and lymphatic systems. Maca has the ability to
provide more energy if it is needed, but without over- stimulating the
body's systems. Adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the body's
overall vitality; this is why the Maca root is so well received in the
past and present.
According to Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D., Maca
alkaloids act on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis and the adrenals. She
has theorized that by activating these endocrine glands, Maca is able
to increase energy, vitality and libido. In addition Maca improves
memory, and blood oxygenation.
actions on sexual function are
better researched than its effects on mood and memory. One study showed
that Maca increased fertility in rats. I look forward to see more
studies in this area in the near future but for now I feel that the
high density of this super food is what provides the improvement in
Maca is dense in nutrition, providing high quality vitamins and
minerals. Dried Maca powder is commonly available and contains 60%
carbohydrates, 9% fiber, and 10% protein or higher. It has a high lipid
profile for a root plant: linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid
are the primary fatty acids.
Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and
iron, and contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper,
selenium, manganese and silica, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E.
Maca contains nearly 20 amino acids and seven essential amino acids.
Maca is also a rich source of sterols, and is higher in protein and
fiber then other root vegetables.
Are there any side effects or interactions to overeating Maca? In
toxicity studies conducted in the U.S., Maca showed absolutely no
toxicity and no adverse pharmacological effects. Maca should
be used in balance and moderation with other natural foods. Maca comes
in the form of a dried powder and has gained popularity in the US and
It is best to consume Maca in an organic root powder form. You may use
a tablespoon or more of this powder in any natural beverage or food
such as smoothies, teas, yogurts, puddings, broths, juices, coffees,
homemade chocolates, oatmeal, muffins, cookies, breads. Maca provides
nice flavor to pies and pie crusts. It is also a great emulsifier in
foods bringing texture, richness and a very nice consistency.
Maca is a powerful super-food and should be consumed in moderation. Up
to two tablespoons a day is a good start and, like every herb, I always
suggest taking a break from it for a week after about a month of
According to Marion Gray from Natural Remi-Teas:
www.naturalremi-teas.com. Maca is a big hit at her store. She
likes using it in smoothies and especially in hot teas. Her customers
report improvement in libido and energy, and that is what I like to
hear. We all want that extra push of energy. I, for one, use Maca
periodically and do enjoy the benefits. It is high on my list of super
foods to include in my diet. I have found it goes well with chocolate
especially homemade chocolates. I love using it in my daily shakes as
have included a recipe below that is very tasteful and
delicious-Enjoy! Paul E
Coconut Blast Shake
by Paul E
tbs Maca powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbs Agave Nectar
8 oz Coconut Milk
3-4 ice cubes
Add ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth for about 45
seconds. Pour and serve.