When it comes to sexual health, we see plenty of plants advertised as sexual enhancers or even aphrodisiacs. However, most of those plants do have unpleasant side effects. One example is the yohimbe plant, which is known for its sexual enhancing capabilities but also, side effects such as increasing the person’s blood pressure and heart rate.
Thankfully, though, with recent advancements in research and development, other alternatives that are safe to consume have been discovered. The maca plant is not only used as a food but can also be a safe alternative for people who are looking for other ways to increase their sexual desire or libido as well as address sexual dysfunction.
The maca plant was first cultivated in the Peruvian Andes Mountain in South America over 2600 years ago. Although all the parts of the plant is useful, it is grown specifically for its roots. The maca is a member of the cruciferous family of plants like broccoli or cabbage though it looks and resembles a radish. It is grown in harsh weather conditions, thriving in an altitude of 9000 to 14000 feet above the sea level, making the plant a hardy one.
Ancient shamans use the roots to increase fertility not only for human females but also for animals. During the Spanish conquest, the Spaniards observed the poor condition of their livestock and the locals recommended the use of the maca plant. Some of the early records found talks about the benefits of the plant.
In 1961, Dr. Gloria Chacon de Popovici published her first study of the effects of the maca plant towards animal fertility. In her research, she determined that the plant helped increase the fertility rate not only of humans but also of animals including cows, rats, pigs, dogs and rams. The study shows that the plant influences the adrenal, hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which affect the endocrine system resulting in increased release of libido, improved vitality and energy. The activation helped the body to produce increased amounts of progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. The plant also helped balance the hormone levels for both sexes.
During the study, Dr. Chacon discovered that the male rats fed with the maca powder showed an increase in their sperm count as well as motility rate. The female rats were also observed to have multiple egg follicle maturation. The results were measured within seventy-two hours after feeding the plant to the test subjects. The effects were also observed in their human counterparts.
The research indicated that the maca is capable of increasing fertility rate and can be beneficial for couples who are trying to conceive. The plant also shows promising results for women who are breastfeeding.
Aside from these benefits, the maca plant is also considered an adaptogen. These kinds of plants are beneficial as they help the body adapt to stress. Some studies show that stress can have negative and serious effects especially on sexual desire for both sexes.
The maca powder contains an approximate 10% of protein including 20 amino acids and 7 essential amino acids. Although the plant is not a complete protein source, it is an excellent source of amino acids and a source of hormone precursor.
The maca plant is an excellent source of lipids, with 2.2% containing essentials such as palmitic acid, linolenic acid and oleic acid. It is a good source of sterol, which has immune enhancing properties.
Aside from the benefits mentioned above, maca is also a good source of minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium and sulfur. It is an excellent source of trace minerals such as selenium, copper, bismuth, silicon, manganese, tin and zinc.
The maca powder supplement is available in the market now and consuming 2 to 6 tablespoons daily can be beneficial for full nutrition as well as enhance sexual desire for both men and women.