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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 part of the plant, called 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 seems to be crucial 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, allowing it to grow at altitudes of 3,800 to 4,800 m above sea level in the puna and suni communities, where just alpine grasses and bitter potatoes can survive. Maca and numerous associated wild species also are discovered in the bolivian andes. While generally cultivated as a veggie crop, use for its medicinal residential or commercial properties has actually ended up being more prominent in peru.

Scientific name( s)

Lepidium meyenii walp. Family: brassicaceae (mustards).

Common name( s)

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


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

Maca is a plant that grows on the high plateaus of the andes mountains. It’s been cultivated as a root vegetable for a minimum of 3000 years. The root is also utilized to make medication, however there isn’t adequate reputable information readily available to understand how maca may work.

People take maca by mouth for male infertility, health problems after menopause, increasing libido in healthy people, and other purposes, but there is no good clinical proof to support any of these uses. [2]

History and custom

Maca has actually been cultivated in the peruvian central andes, in the former chinchaycocha (plateau of bombón); present-day: carhuamayo, junin, and óndores in the junin plateau near 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 published in 1553, in which cieza de leon, a chronicler of the spaniard conquest of perunoted that in the peruvian highlands, especially in the province of bombón (chinchaycocha; present day: junin) the natives utilized certain roots for maintenance. The roots, he was referring to were maca.

Dad cobo was the first to explain the name of maca and its homes in 1653. He specified that this plant grows in the harshest and coldest locations of the province of chinchaycocha where no other plant for guy’s sustenance could be grown. Cobo likewise referred to using maca for fertility. In the 18th century, ruiz described the fertility-enhancing homes of maca and also its stimulant impact. I believe stimulant result could be related to energizer result or an impact on state of mind or well-being.

Typically, after being collected maca is dried naturally and can therefore be stored for many years. The dried hypocotyls are tough as stone. After being naturally dried maca hypocotyls can be eating. Before eaten, the hypocotyls need to be boiled in water to obtain a soft product which can be consumed as juice, the most frequent kind of use.

The boiling procedure seems to increase active metabolites. In fact, increased temperature level affects the availability of a number of secondary metabolites in plants often increasing some metabolites and in others a reduction in metabolites is observed. In maca, among the essential constituents is glucosinolates. These substances are sensitive to heating. Other metabolites, nevertheless, are increased after heating. For example, heating decreases the activity of epithiospecifier protein and increases formation of sulforaphane, a derivative of isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, in broccoli.

After 2, 15, and 30 min of heating at 88 ° c, the vitamin c material of raw tomato drops significantly. Yet, the content of translycopene per gram of tomato boosts. Furthermore, antioxidant activity likewise increases after heating up tomatoes.


Maca is characterized by an overground and an underground part. The overground part is small and flat in appearance. This appears to be the outcome of an adjustment process to prevent the effect of strong winds. The underground part is the hypocotyl-root axis.

The principal and the edible part of the plant is a radish-like tuber that makes up the hypocotyl and the root of the plant. This hypocotyl-root axis is 10– 14 cm long and 3– 5 cm broad and makes up the storage organ keeping a high material of water. After natural drying, the hypocotyls are drastically decreased in size to about 2– 8 cm in diameter. The typical weight of the dried hypocotyls might vary significantly. For instance, in our experience, we discovered a series of weight between 7.64 and 23.88 g in the peruvian central andes.

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

Uses & effectiveness

Insufficient evidence to rate efficiency for …

Sexual dysfunction triggered by antidepressant drugs. Early research study recommends that taking maca two times daily for 12 weeks slightly enhances sexual dysfunction in women taking antidepressants.

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

Postmenopausal conditions. Research recommends that taking maca (maca powder healthychoices, murwillumbah, nsw, australia) daily for 6 weeks a little improves blood pressure and some elements of mood, including depression and stress and anxiety, in postmenopausal ladies. However benefits are extremely little.

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

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

Advantages of maca root

Helps the body handle tension

Maca is an adaptogenic herb, and something all adaptogens share is that they can assist the body manage ecological stress, discusses dr. Shah. “adaptogens have long been used in ayurvedic and standard chinese medicine, however they’re experiencing a renaissance [in the west],” she says.

What adaptogens may do (maca consisted of) is help stimulate the body’s stress security system by stabilizing the body’s hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (hpa) axis, according to dr. Shah. The hpa axis is responsible for how the main nervous system and hormonal agent systems react to tension. When we feel stressed, cortisol levels go up. But clinical research studies on rats show consuming maca can help keep cortisol levels from rising.

May aid with depression

A 2014 study of mice found a link in between consuming maca for six weeks and increased dopamine levels, leading to lowered feelings of anxiety. Registered naturopathic doctor cassie wilder, n.d., states this connection is likely due to maca’s adaptogenic nature. “when people are more resilient to tension and are better able to manage day-to-day stress factors, their state of mind gets better,” she states. So if you’re constantly feeling like you’re “on edge,” frequently consuming maca might potentially assist– although more human research studies require to be done to confirm the connection between maca and state of mind.

Might result in increased energy

One common reason people take in maca is for a caffeine-free energy increase. “while clinical studies have not had the ability to show exactly how maca improves energy in the body, it does appear to have energy-producing results in some individuals,” states dr. Koffler.

While more scientific research studies need to be carried out to confirm this connection, a small study of 175 people suggests a connection between maca and energy. In the study, people who took 3 grams of maca for 12 weeks reported experiencing more of an energy boost than individuals who didn’t consume 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 reasons as to why we do not understand precisely how maca impacts energy levels in the body, states integrative medication physician siri chand khalsa, m.d. “there is so much that’s linked to how energized we feel; it’s not just something,” she says, including that it’s really tough to identify one herb to energy considering that many other lifestyle aspects also play a role.

Might assist with signs of perimenopause and menopause

Dr. Wilder advises maca frequently 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 says.

While more research is required, a small study found menopausal females who took in maca knowledgeable less hot flashes and night sweats than they did when not consuming it.

Advantages your bones

The same research study that revealed a connection in between maca and lowered menopause symptoms also exposed that participants had increased bone density after taking in maca. Another study– this one in rats– likewise discovered a connection in between maca and strong bones. In the paper, the study authors say it’s likely because maca contains polyunsaturated fats, a nutrient crucial for bone health.

” maca helps make bones harder,” describes dr. Wilder, adding that this trait is particularly notable because females lose bone density as they age. “this is not to say that maca can be consumed in place of vitamin d or calcium– which are crucial for bone health– however there is still a connection there.”.

May increase libido

All 4 experts say increasing sex drive is one of maca’s most well-known homes, a connection developed by numerous clinical studies. “maca has actually been stated to have aphrodisiac residential or commercial properties and, again, this is without altering hormonal agent levels,” says dr. Wilder, adding that this response could be connected to maca’s link to decreasing stress, helping with state of mind and a subtle energy increase.

May aid with male fertility

Here’s a maca benefit particularly for males: dr. Koffler says consuming maca is linked to producing a greater sperm count. “guys are continuously producing new sperm, so this is especially noteworthy in terms of fertility,” she says. Contributing to this significance is the reality that infertility cases stem just as much from male infertility concerns as they do from women infertility issues. [5]

May aid alleviate signs of menopause

Menopause takes place naturally in people who menstruate. It’s the time of life when menstrual periods stop completely.

The natural decrease in estrogen that happens during this time can trigger a variety of signs, a few of which individuals may find undesirable. These consist of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, state of mind swings, sleep problems, and irritation.

Some research studies recommend that maca might benefit people who are going through menopause by helping minimize some signs, consisting of hot flashes and interrupted sleep.

A 2011 evaluation that consisted of four high quality studies discovered some proof that maca treatment has favorable effects on menopause symptoms.

Other prospective health benefits

Human research investigating the possible health advantages of maca is limited.

Nevertheless, initial findings from animal research studies suggest maca might impact health in the following methods:.

May assistance maintain cognitive function.

rodent studies have actually demonstrated that maca helps enhance cognitive function and motor coordination and may help slow age-related cognitive decrease.

May advantage benign prostatic hyperplasia (bph).

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

May advantage skin health.

Maca has actually been revealed to speed up injury healing, and an older study discovered that it secured versus uv damage when applied to the skin of animals. Effectiveness of maca for dealing with menopause signs. [6]

Is it safe?

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

Unique preventative measures & cautions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: there isn’t adequate trusted info to understand if maca is safe to utilize when pregnant or breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and adhere to food amounts.

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

Possible negative effects

Little is learnt about the safety and risks of short-term or long-lasting use of maca. Because it is a health food, it is generally thought to be safe in big doses.

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

Because of these possible hormone results, if you have one of the list below conditions, you should not take maca without consulting your healthcare provider:.

  • Breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Thyroid disease
  • Just like lots of other supplements, maca hasn’t been checked for security in pregnant people, nursing mothers, kids, those with medical conditions, or those who are taking medications.
  • Maca soft gels
  • Verywell/ anastasia tretiak


Maca is readily available commercially in a number of dosage kinds including powder, liquid, tablets, and pills. Most business website suggest a daily dosage of 1 dried maca extract 450 mg capsule 3 times day-to-day taken orally with food.

A little study (n= 16) reported a dose-dependent effect, with 1,500 mg maca daily ineffective, but 3,000 mg maca daily as reliable in ssri-associated sexual dysfunction in males.

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

Pregnancy/ lactation

Prevent usage during pregnancy and lactation due to lack of safety and efficacy data.


None well recorded.

Unfavorable responses

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


No negative responses were reported in an animal research study with rats fed maca extract in doses up to 5 g/kg, equivalent to an intake of 770 g of hypocotyls in a 70 kg male.

The presence of considerable amounts of a heart glycoside in the related species, l. Apetalum18 is cause for concern. Cardioactive compounds have likewise been identified in l. Sativum.48 however, dried maca roots have actually been taken in for several years without reports of cardiotoxicity. Lepidium virginicum was inactive in a screen for genotoxicity. [10]

What are the adverse effects of taking maca?

Reported side effects of maca consist of altered menstrual cycles, altered mood, cramping, problem sleeping, and stomach inflammation. Nevertheless, these side effects are not well recorded. One case of prolonged menstrual bleeding has actually been reported in a female discovered to have raised testosterone levels following supplements with maca. The female had been taking one teaspoon of maca powder liquified in milk daily to enhance energy levels and libido. Bleeding improved upon cessation of maca supplements.

Does maca engage with any other drugs?

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

Extra factors to consider:

Taking maca may affect certain lab test outcomes. Testosterone lab results may not be accurate following supplements with maca. Make certain your healthcare provider knows you are taking maca prior to examining 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 comes from the radish household, 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 revealed no negative adverse effects or toxicity, nor have there been cases of overdose. Maca’s basic security has actually been validated by the national institute of health in a study. You can read more about the topic at the maca group.

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

General precautions

Indigestion: some maca users have reported indigestion, heartburn, and indigestion, though this isn’t a typical incident. Though undesirable, these effects aren’t damaging and will pass. If maca disagrees with you to such an extent, listen to your body and do not utilize it! There are other superfoods to check out, 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 identified “gelatinized” (more about that later) has actually been prepared, which reduces those compounds. If you have thyroid problems, you ought to seek advice from a signed up dietician prior to using maca. Traditional mds are less likely to be knowledgeable about it.

Jitters: if you’re just starting to use it, or use too much simultaneously for your body weight, maca can make you feel tense or wired, nearly like caffeine may (though maca doesn’t contain caffeine). because maca is energizing, this is rather possible. If this happens, simply reduce the quantity you’re taking.

Insomnia: just like jitters, it is essential to remember that maca is promoting. If you discover it hinders sleep, take it early in the day.

Maca powder and root.

Pregnancy and lactation

Here’s a location where there’s dispute benefits and drawback, and the authors and factors to this book aren’t in a position to decide. 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 been done on the safety of taking maca during pregnancy.

Some health care professionals think it’s safe to take throughout the entire pregnancy, while others point out the possible threats of selecting to do so.

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

Other practitioners stress that maca may raise testosterone levels in the expectant mom to a degree that’s not desirable. 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 with your practitioner and/or signed up diet professional prior to making a decision. [12]


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