Lepidium Meyenii – The Peruvian Superfood Called “Maca”
The maca plant, also known in the scientific world as “Lepidium Meyenii” has been around since the Incan times. The maca root is popular due to its many health benefits. The Incan people had used the root not only as food, but also to treat various health conditions. According to ancient Incan tradition, the roots have special properties that allow it to increase the stamina and energy of the individual that consumes the root.
Aside from being called as “superfood”, the maca is also known as “Peruvian ginseng” because its health benefits are similar to that of the ginseng plant.
The Maca Agronomy
The maca plant thrives high up in the Andean mountain. Although the harsh weather condition allows only few crops to thrive well, the maca plant is able to thrive well in that condition and is only one of two plants that can do well in such extreme climate.
The maca plant is related to the mustard plant and has similarities in its appearance. The flowers of the maca resemble that of the mustard plant so much that inexperienced individuals can mistake the two at first glance.
Maca and its Role in Sexual Health
The maca plant is not only rich in nutrients vital to human needs but it also contains compounds that can improve sexual health. Some people who suffer from impotency, low sexual drive as well as fertility issues consider the plant as an aphrodisiac. The root plant helps increase sperm count and sperm quality as well as improve fertility rate.
Maca and the Sports Industry
In the sports industry, the maca roots are also taking center stage due to its ability to increase energy level and improve endurance. Many athletes and sports-minded individuals use maca powder and other products to help them in their bid for success. There is an indication that the plant can also increase testosterone levels.
Maca and Women’s Health
Maca is not only exclusively for the opposite sex as women also find benefits from using maca. Researches show that the plant can help provide relief for women suffering from menopausal symptoms as well as those experiencing chronic fatigue. The chemical compounds that the plant has also help reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and regulates the female hormone preventing these women to seek synthetic hormone replacement, which is often used to treat such symptoms.
Women who are having problems with their menstrual cycle such as irregular periods, cramps may also find that the maca root can help alleviate these problems.
Maca can also contribute to younger looking skin for both men and women and help people with skin problems such as acne.
Maca and Mental Health
Aside from the physical ailments, the maca plant is also said to help people suffering from mental issues such as mild depression. The maca root can help increase the serotonin in the body. Often anti-depressant drugs can cause unwanted side effects such as fatigue, weight gain and dulled senses. The plant has no such side effects and in fact, the active ingredients in the maca help boost energy and lift depression naturally.
The full benefits of the maca root is still under study; however, the plant has been gaining attention and it will not be long before its full benefits are exposed to the public. That said, people who are already taking the superfood recommend the maca for its health properties.
For those who want the fresh maca, it is important to cook fully the root crop first to prevent any digestive issues. The maca is also available in capsule and powder form. Depending on the amount of active ingredient present, dosage would be 500mg twice daily. Powdered maca should be taken in doses of 1 tablespoon a day.