The maca plant is a native plant cultivated in South America, specifically in the Andean mountains. It is related to the radish and turnip family, though unlike its counterparts, its nutritional and medicinal contents makes it highly valuable to the local people. The natives of the Andean region have long cultivated the plant and consider it not only as a source of food but also as a medicinal plant, having used it as such even during the Incan times.
The medicinal herb was given to the Incan warriors to help increase their stamina and endurance during battle, however, it was forbidden after a battle as the plant can also increase sexual desire, which can be a problem after the fighting ceases as women and kids of the losing tribe are vulnerable. Today, the maca plant is known also as an aphrodisiac not only for men but also for women.
After the Spanish conquered the land, the maca remained as a valuable commodity and was given as a tribute to the King along with other precious commodities such as gold. The plant became known in the European nation for its medicinal properties. The value of the maca was lost as time passed, and it was forgotten by the western world. However, recent studies have been made and interest for the plant been noted of late.
Maca Root-Nutritional Value
The maca powder is widely used today as a valuable source of nutrition. It is rich in iron, calcium, carbohydrates, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B, essential fatty acids and is a rich source of fiber. In the region where it is cultivated, the maca is also a staple food in the diet. The roots of the plant are either boiled or grilled. Some use the dried roots, grind it and add this as another ingredient to baked goods. The green leaves are added to vegetable salads. Some ferment the roots to make beer.
Maca Root-Medicinal Benefits
The maca plant is very helpful when it comes to regulating hormonal imbalances. The plant helps people with hypothyroidism, a disorder that affects both sexes, which can lead to fatigue, weight gain, loss of hair and other symptoms.
The plant however does not have hormones but rather chemicals that stimulate the hormones ensuring that there is balance in the hormone levels that the different glands secrete. As the maca does not have its own hormones, it is safe for both sexes.
The plant also provides other benefits especially when it comes to mental well-being. Researchers believe that the plant can alleviate mild depression and help increase energy levels as well as sexual drive for many patients.
Women who have PMS or menopausal symptoms would experience a reduction of symptoms like hot flashes as the plant helps correct hormonal imbalances in the body.
All in all the plant has been used for thousands of years and is considered not only as an excellent food source but also known for its medicinal value. It helps improve one’s well-being, increase sexual desire, and correct hormone levels.