The maca plant is revered in the Incan culture not only for its medicinal properties but also for its ability to help improve mental clarity, increase energy and enhance sex drive.
Myth or Fact?
Many of the maca’s supposedly benefits are passed down from generation to generation and although it might prove helpful in certain instances, there is no specific and scientific evidence providing that this information is accurate and real.
There are limited and randomized studies that have been conducted especially when it comes to improving sexual health for both sexes. Some of these researches or studies indicate that the plant can improve the quality of the semen produced, reduce size of prostate glands, relieve, and alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Tests conducted on animals reveal that the plant is considered as an aphrodisiac; however, there are no known studies or tests conducted on human beings. In a review of the plant published in the Current Health Sexual Report Journal, it states that there is no strong evidence that would support the effectiveness of the product when it comes to female sexual dysfunction.
Berman, a professor in Georgetown University Medical Center said that although maca may have positive effects on the sexual dysfunction, there are other aspects that one needs to consider when it comes to sexual healing. Berman, is the author of the book 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Clinical Consult.
Berman believes that claims concerning maca as an aphrodisiac is over the top and evidence only points to the fact that the plant can help increase sperm count as well as fertility for men. No clinical trials that support the claim that the plant can also help reduce menopausal symptoms, according to Berman.
That said, Hyla Cass, psychiatrist and functional medicine physician said that the plant has helped when it comes to hormonal imbalance and sexual appetite and fertility for her clients.
Cris Kilham, author of the Hot Plants believe that maca works, it all depends on how it works.
Maca – A Staple on Peruvian Diet
The maca plant is an Andean root plant, which is also referred to as an herb. The starchy tuber plant resembles that of a radish but has a potato-like taste to it. The plant is rich in protein, fats, sterols, carbohydrates and an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium and selenium.
In Peru, the maca plant is a staple in every household’s diet due to its high resistance to extreme temperatures. Aside from the potato, the maca plant is one of the two crops that is cultivated in the region.
The maca plant can be cooked, dried and mixed with other ingredients, usually to make bread. In the region, the locals consume about half a pound of maca daily.
Is Maca Safe To Take?
Due to its growing popularity, there are a number of different products being sold in-store and online claiming to have maca on them. That said, like any other supplements, these were not reviewed or approved by the FDA.
Kilham believes that maca is safe to consume considering as it is a staple diet for the Peruvian people.
Berman agrees stating that there are no known side effects from maca consumption.
Maca products are derived from the maca plant and assumed as natural and safe; however, it is important to talk with your health care provider to know the risk, benefits and effects of consuming the product.