Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root-like cruciferous vegetable from the Andes of Peru. It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in volcanic minerals, experiencing freezing temperatures, fierce winds and intense sunlight. Maca is the only plant known in the world that can grow and thrive at such high altitude and in such harsh weather. For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility,
For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility,
endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual virility.
Maca is such a nutrient-rich food that it contains a number of different vitamins, 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients (some of which include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, fibre, and also amino-acids). In English Maca is also known as maca-maca, ayak, pepperwood, Peruvian ginseng and quechua; in Spanish, it is known as maino; in Quecha it is known as ayak chichira, ayak willku or maca.
Maca is supportive of overall fertility health in a number of ways and complementary to most natural fertility programs. Maca has been scientifically researched for the use of increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which directly can affect fertility for both men and women. These alkaloids are responsible for maca’s ability to support hormonal balance.
1. Nourishing to the endocrine system – Alkaloids in Maca have been shown to have an effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis of which the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands are a part, and which are each involved in hormonal balance.
2. Hormonal balance – Maca influences the production of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone supporting balance where it is needed, without containing hormones itself.
3. Libido and vitality, including sexual function (supporting erectile dysfunction and cervical mucus production) – Maca has aphrodisiac qualities and supports an increase in blood flow to the pelvic region which in turn may increase sexual desire in both men and women; “increasing vaginal secretions in women and enhancing testosterone levels in men.”
4. Energy and stamina – Maca provides the body with a natural energy due to its high carbohydrate levels. Maca is comprised of 60% carbohydrates, primarily from starches and sugars.
5. Egg Health – Maca offers a plethora of nutrients to support the health of the body on a cellular level, but also healthy hormonal balance which contributes to healthier a cellular level, but also healthy hormonal balance which contributes to healthier eggs.
Legends tell a number of stories about Maca consumption…
-Inca warriors ate Maca to increase their energy before going into battle.
-Maca was prohibited at one point to protect women from the Maca-induced, heightened sexual desires of these Inca Warriors.
-Animals showing signs of exhaustion, being Barron and general lethargy, were brought to the region where they were rejuvenated and once again bore offspring after eating Maca.
… and I am sure there are much more.
Research and interest in Maca continue to increase worldwide. “Studies are being carried out in Peru and other countries to determine the mechanism(s) by which Maca supports fertility and libido. Researchers are examining various sexual parameters including erectile function, sexual appetite, performance, the frequency of
copulation, ejaculatory volume, sperm motility and fertility. Maca is also used in Peruvian folk medicine to treat symptoms of menopause.”
This all-encompassing, nourishing fertility superfood proves to be supportive alone, but also in combination with most natural fertility programs.
When purchasing maca you want to make sure the product you are using has only
maca root in it, not leaves or stem. Maca is available in powder, capsules or tincture.
It is also available in varying strengths.
Maca powder comes in two forms. Plain maca powder that is just powdered maca root or gelatinized maca. Gelatinization is a completely vegetarian process that removes the starch from Maca to improve assimilation and increases the concentration.
Maca capsules are a convenient way to get maca daily. Many people will find using the maca capsules to be easier since they can be taken at any time with some water.
A tincture of maca root is a liquid extract of the medicinal properties of maca. Maca tincture is can be taken with water, in juice or added to smoothies.
Maca Use During Pregnancy:
As a safety precaution, most manufacturers state that their supplements should not be used during pregnancy. There have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy. Acute toxicity studies and cytotoxicity evaluations have demonstrated an absence of any evidence of potential toxicity of maca. The Peruvians have been consuming maca as a food for thousands of years. Since there have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy we can not state that it is proven safe to use during pregnancy. Please do your own research and
make a personal decision on the use of maca during your pregnancy.
As you can see from all the actions maca can have on the body, it is a wonderful fertility superfood and tonic. Maca can complement any fertility program and should be used on a daily basis for best results. It can also be used in conjunction with other fertility and supplements.