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The aerial part of maca has 12 to 20 leaves and the foliage forms a mat-like, sneaking system of stems that grows close to the soil. The underground portion of the plant, referred to as the hypocotyl, is a storage organ and is the part that is used commercially. The hypocotyl can be a range of colors, such as red, purple, cream, yellow, or black, and is 10 to 14 cm long and 3 to 5 cm large; a cold climate appears to be vital for its development or development. Maca is cultivated in a narrow, high-altitude zone of the andes mountains in peru. Maca has one of the highest frost tolerances of any cultivated plant, permitting it to grow at altitudes of 3,800 to 4,800 m above sea level in the puna and suni ecosystems, where only alpine yards and bitter potatoes can survive. Maca and a number of associated wild types likewise are discovered in the bolivian andes. While generally cultivated as a vegetable crop, usage for its medical residential or commercial properties has actually become more prominent in peru.

Scientific name( s)

Lepidium meyenii walp. Family: brassicaceae (mustards).

Typical name( s)

Maca also is called peruvian ginseng, maino, ayuk willku, and ayak chichira. [1]


Maca, likewise called ginseng andin, peruvian ginseng, lepidium meyenii, or lepidium peruvianum, is a relative of radish and smells similar to butterscotch.

Maca is a plant that grows on the high plateaus of the andes mountains. It’s been cultivated as a root veggie for at least 3000 years. The root is also utilized to make medication, however there isn’t adequate dependable info offered to understand how maca might work.

Individuals take maca by mouth for male infertility, illness after menopause, increasing libido in healthy individuals, and other functions, but there is no good clinical proof to support any of these usages. [2]

History and custom

Maca has been cultivated in the peruvian main andes, in the former chinchaycocha (plateau of bombón); contemporary: carhuamayo, junin, and óndores in the junin plateau close to cerro de pasco. Maca was most likely domesticated in san blas, junin (present day: ondores) some 1,300– 2,000 years earlier.

The first composed description about maca (as a root without recognition of the botanical or popular name) was released in 1553, in which cieza de leon, a chronicler of the spaniard conquest of perunoted that in the peruvian highlands, particularly in the province of bombón (chinchaycocha; present day: junin) the natives used certain roots for maintenance. The roots, he was describing were maca.

Dad cobo was the very first to describe the name of maca and its residential or commercial properties in 1653. He mentioned that this plant grows in the harshest and coldest locations of the province of chinchaycocha where no other plant for guy’s nourishment could be grown. Cobo also referred to making use of maca for fertility. In the 18th century, ruiz described the fertility-enhancing properties of maca and likewise its stimulant effect. I believe stimulant result could be connected to energizer result or an effect on state of mind or wellness.

Generally, after being collected maca is dried naturally and can therefore be saved for several years. The dried hypocotyls are tough as stone. After being naturally dried maca hypocotyls can be consuming. Prior to eaten, the hypocotyls require to be boiled in water to obtain a soft product which can be taken in as juice, the most frequent form of use.

The boiling process seems to increase active metabolites. In fact, increased temperature affects the accessibility of several secondary metabolites in plants often increasing some metabolites and in others a decrease in metabolites is observed. In maca, among the crucial constituents is glucosinolates. These compounds are sensitive to heating. Other metabolites, however, are increased after heating. For instance, heating decreases the activity of epithiospecifier protein and boosts development of sulforaphane, a derivative of isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, in broccoli.

After 2, 15, and 30 minutes of heating at 88 ° c, the vitamin c material of raw tomato drops substantially. Yet, the material of translycopene per gram of tomato increases. Moreover, antioxidant activity also increases after warming tomatoes.


Maca is characterized by an overground and an underground part. The overground part is little and flat in appearance. This seems to be the result of an adjustment process to prevent the impact of strong winds. The underground part is the hypocotyl-root axis.

The principal and the edible part of the plant is a radish-like root that constitutes the hypocotyl and the root of the plant. This hypocotyl-root axis is 10– 14 cm long and 3– 5 cm large and constitutes the storage organ storing a high material of water. After natural drying, the hypocotyls are significantly minimized in size to about 2– 8 cm in size. The typical weight of the dried hypocotyls might vary significantly. For example, in our experience, we found a variety of weight between 7.64 and 23.88 g in the peruvian main andes.

There are numerous types of maca that can be identified by the color of their hypocotyls. In carhuamayo, junin, in the peruvian highlands, 13 colors of maca have actually been explained, ranging from white to black. Just recently, it has actually been shown that various types of maca (according to its color) have various biological residential or commercial properties. [3]

Uses & efficiency

Insufficient evidence to rate efficiency for …

Sexual dysfunction triggered by antidepressant drugs. Early research suggests that taking maca twice daily for 12 weeks a little improves sexual dysfunction in females taking antidepressants.

Male infertility early research study reveals that taking a specific maca item (maca gelatinizada la molina, labs hersil, lima, peru) daily for 4 months increases semen and sperm count in healthy men. But it’s not clear if this leads to enhanced fertility.

Postmenopausal conditions. Research suggests that taking maca (maca powder healthychoices, murwillumbah, nsw, australia) daily for 6 weeks a little improves high blood pressure and some aspects of state of mind, including anxiety and anxiety, in postmenopausal ladies. But advantages are extremely small.

Libido. Early research study shows that taking a specific maca item (maca gelatinizada la molina, labs hersil, lima, peru) daily for 12 weeks can increase libido in healthy guys.

  • Worn out blood (anemia).
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (cfs).
  • Improving energy and athletic performance.
  • Improving memory.
  • Female hormonal agent imbalance.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Signs of menopause.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Boosting the body immune system.
  • Hiv/aids.
  • Other conditions. [4]

Benefits of maca root

Helps the body handle tension

Maca is an adaptogenic herb, and something all adaptogens have in common is that they can help the body manage ecological stress, explains dr. Shah. “adaptogens have actually long been utilized in ayurvedic and standard chinese medication, but they’re experiencing a renaissance [in the west],” she states.

What adaptogens may do (maca consisted of) is aid promote the body’s stress security system by stabilizing the body’s hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (hpa) axis, according to dr. Shah. The hpa axis is accountable for how the central nerve system and hormonal agent systems react to stress. When we feel stressed, cortisol levels go up. But scientific studies on rats reveal consuming maca can assist keep cortisol levels from rising.

May aid with anxiety

A 2014 research study of mice discovered a link in between consuming maca for six weeks and increased dopamine levels, causing decreased sensations of depression. Registered naturopathic medical professional cassie wilder, n.d., says this connection is likely due to maca’s adaptogenic nature. “when people are more resistant to tension and are much better able to deal with daily stressors, their state of mind improves,” she states. So if you’re constantly feeling like you’re “on edge,” routinely consuming maca might possibly assist– although more human research studies require to be done to confirm the connection between maca and state of mind.

May cause increased energy

One common reason people take in maca is for a caffeine-free energy increase. “while clinical research studies haven’t had the ability to reveal exactly how maca improves energy in the body, it does seem to have energy-producing impacts in some people,” says dr. Koffler.

While more clinical studies require to be conducted to validate this connection, a little study of 175 individuals suggests a connection in between maca and energy. In the study, individuals who took 3 grams of maca for 12 weeks reported experiencing more of an energy increase than people who didn’t take in maca. Because of this action, if you’re sensitive to herbs, it’s finest to consume maca previously in the day.

There are likely a couple of various factors regarding why we do not know precisely how maca affects energy levels in the body, says integrative medicine medical professional siri chand khalsa, m.d. “there is a lot that’s linked to how stimulated we feel; it’s not simply something,” she states, including that it’s very challenging to determine one herb to energy considering that a lot of other lifestyle elements also play a role.

Might assist with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause

Dr. Wilder suggests maca usually to ladies in perimenopause or menopause. “what clinical literature shows is that maca supports the body during this stage of life without changing estrogen levels,” she states.

While more research study is required, a little research study found menopausal ladies who took in maca skilled fewer hot flashes and night sweats than they did when not consuming it.

Advantages your bones

The very same study that showed a connection in between maca and reduced menopause signs likewise exposed that participants had actually increased bone density after consuming maca. Another research study– this one in rats– likewise found a connection in between maca and strong bones. In the paper, the research study authors say it’s likely since maca contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, a nutrient essential for bone health.

” maca helps make bones harder,” describes dr. Wilder, including that this quality is especially notable due to the fact that women lose bone density as they age. “this is not to state that maca can be consumed in place of vitamin d or calcium– which are important for bone health– but there is still a connection there.”.

May boost libido

All 4 specialists say boosting libido is one of maca’s most well-known residential or commercial properties, a connection developed by many clinical research studies. “maca has actually been stated to have aphrodisiac residential or commercial properties and, again, this is without altering hormone levels,” says dr. Wilder, adding that this reaction could be related to maca’s link to decreasing tension, aiding with mood and a subtle energy boost.

May aid with male fertility

Here’s a maca advantage specifically for guys: dr. Koffler says consuming maca is connected to producing a higher sperm count. “men are constantly producing new sperm, so this is especially notable in regards to fertility,” she says. Adding to this importance is the reality that infertility cases stem just as much from male infertility problems as they do from females infertility issues. [5]

May assistance relieve signs of menopause

Menopause occurs naturally in individuals who menstruate. It’s the time of life when menstrual periods stop permanently.

The natural decrease in estrogen that takes place during this time can cause a series of symptoms, a few of which individuals may find undesirable. These consist of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, state of mind swings, sleep problems, and irritability.

Some research studies recommend that maca may benefit people who are going through menopause by assisting alleviate some symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep.

A 2011 evaluation that consisted of four high quality studies found some evidence that maca treatment has favorable impacts on menopause symptoms.

Other prospective health advantages

Human research study examining the potential health advantages of maca is restricted.

However, preliminary findings from animal studies recommend maca may affect health in the following ways:.

May assistance protect cognitive function.

rodent research studies have shown that maca helps improve cognitive function and motor coordination and might assist slow age-related cognitive decline.

May benefit benign prostatic hyperplasia (bph).

Findings from animal studies recommend that maca might help reduce inflammatory proteins and inhibit bph or augmentation of the prostate.

May advantage skin health.

Maca has actually been revealed to speed up wound healing, and an older study found that it protected versus uv damage when applied to the skin of animals. Efficiency of maca for treating menopause symptoms. [6]

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: maca is most likely safe for the majority of people when eaten in foods. Maca is perhaps safe when taken in larger quantities as medication, short-term. Doses up to 3 grams daily appear to be safe when taken for as much as 4 months.

Special precautions & cautions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: there isn’t enough reliable details to understand if maca is safe to utilize when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stay with food amounts.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be intensified by estrogen, do not utilize these extracts. [7]

Possible side effects

Little is known about the safety and threats of short-term or long-term use of maca. Considering that it is a health food, it is usually believed to be safe in large doses.

Maca’s result on hormonal agent levels is inadequately understood. For example, some studies have actually found no effect on sex hormonal agents, while animal research studies have reported higher levels of luteinizing hormone, progesterone, and testosterone.

Because of these possible hormonal impacts, if you have among the list below conditions, you need to not take maca without consulting your healthcare provider:.

  • Breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Thyroid illness
  • Just like many other supplements, maca hasn’t been checked for safety in pregnant individuals, nursing moms, kids, those with medical conditions, or those who are taking medications.
  • Maca soft gels
  • Verywell/ anastasia tretiak


Maca is available commercially in numerous dosage forms consisting of powder, liquid, tablets, and pills. Most business website advise a day-to-day dose of 1 dried maca extract 450 mg pill 3 times everyday taken orally with food.

A small study (n= 16) reported a dose-dependent result, with 1,500 mg maca daily not effective, but 3,000 mg maca daily as efficient in ssri-associated sexual dysfunction in men.

Dosages of 3.5 g maca daily for 6 weeks have actually been utilized in postmenopausal ladies.

Pregnancy/ lactation

Prevent use during pregnancy and lactation due to lack of security and efficacy information.


None well recorded.

Adverse responses

There is no proof of negative reactions to maca. Maca has actually been reported to have a low degree of acute oral toxicity in animals and low cellular toxicity in vitro.


No unfavorable reactions were reported in an animal research study with rats fed maca extract in doses up to 5 g/kg, comparable to a consumption of 770 g of hypocotyls in a 70 kg guy.

The presence of significant quantities of a cardiac glycoside in the associated species, l. Apetalum18 is cause for concern. Cardioactive substances have also been found in l. Sativum.48 nevertheless, dried maca roots have actually been taken in for many years without reports of cardiotoxicity. Lepidium virginicum was inactive in a screen for genotoxicity. [10]

What are the side effects of taking maca?

Documented side effects of maca include modified menstruations, transformed mood, cramping, difficulty sleeping, and stomach irritation. However, these adverse effects are not well documented. One case of extended menstrual bleeding has been reported in a lady discovered to have raised testosterone levels following supplementation with maca. The woman had actually been taking one teaspoon of maca powder dissolved in milk day-to-day to enhance energy levels and libido. Bleeding surpassed cessation of maca supplementation.

Does maca connect with any other drugs?

Presently, maca is not known to have any interaction with medications.

Additional factors to consider:

Taking maca may impact particular laboratory test results. Testosterone lab results may not be precise following supplements with maca. Make certain your doctor knows you are taking maca prior to inspecting these laboratory tests. [11]

Maca root: are there any preventative measures?

Here at vegkitchen, we’re big fans of maca root, and wish to make sure to cover all our bases. Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly offered in powder form and thought about a superfood instead of a supplement. Find out more about the advantages of maca, and get back at more info by exploring our frequently asked questions about maca root.

In its long history of use, maca has shown no unfavorable side effects or toxicity, nor have actually there been cases of overdose. Maca’s basic security has been verified by the nationwide institute of health in a study. You can find out more about the topic at the maca group.

As with all good ideas, maca needs to be utilized in moderation, balanced with other health foods. For instance, it’s fantastic in quinoa-maca breakfast bowls.

General preventative measures

Indigestion: some maca users have reported indigestion, heartburn, and indigestion, though this isn’t a common incident. Though undesirable, these impacts aren’t harmful and will pass. If maca disagrees with you to such a level, listen to your body and do not use it! There are other superfoods to explore, for example, hempseed, which might be more acceptable to you.

Thyroid issues: raw maca includes iodine and other goitrogens, which can aggravate the thyroid. Maca labeled “gelatinized” (more about that later) has actually been prepared, which alleviates those substances. If you have thyroid problems, you must seek advice from a signed up dietician before utilizing maca. Conventional mds are less likely to be knowledgeable about it.

Jitters: if you’re just starting to utilize it, or utilize excessive simultaneously for your body weight, maca can make you feel jittery or wired, almost like caffeine might (though maca does not consist of caffeine). given that maca is stimulating, this is rather possible. If this takes place, just decrease the quantity you’re taking.

Insomnia: as with jitters, it is necessary to bear in mind that maca is promoting. If you find it disrupts sleep, take it early in the day.

Maca powder and root.

Pregnancy and lactation

Here’s a location where there’s dispute advantages and disadvantage, and the authors and contributors to this book aren’t in a position to take a stand. Talk about the matter with your professional if you’re pregnant or lactating, and wish to start or continue taking maca. Little official research study has actually been done on the safety of taking maca during pregnancy.

Some health care professionals think it’s safe to take throughout the whole pregnancy, while others mention the possible threats of choosing to do so.

On the pro side are those who feel that since maca has no negative effects, it might be an excellent natural option to prenatal vitamins, and can help stabilize the hormones, specifically during the very first trimester.

Other specialists stress that maca may raise testosterone levels in the expectant mother to a degree that’s not preferable. In most cases, herbs and other foods like maca that have near-pharmaceutical qualities aren’t advised during pregnancy and lactation.

Bottom line: err on the side of caution, and talk to your practitioner and/or signed up dietician prior to deciding. [12]


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