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Maca is one of those herbs that grows where it is needed most. The best maca grows in the Peruvian central highlands at altitudes of 9-15,000 feet. It is botanically related to turnips and radishes. The root is eaten as food for people and animals and used as an herbal medicine. At this extreme altitude, it is hard to sustain energy and stamina. Even the fertility of humans and livestock tends to decline. Maca has been called “Peruvian Ginseng” because it is an effective adaptogen that helps to restore vitality and potency.
Physical and Mental Benefits
Maca became popular amount athletes and gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. In 1999 tests on healthy adults, maca (prepared as food) increased their 6-minute walking distance by about 12%. The Peruvian Minister of Agriculture, Belisario de las Casas is quoted as saying: “I take Maca and can attest to its invigorating powers.” People who take Maca often describe an increase in their sense of mental clarity.
How Does it Work?
Maca is rich in hormone-like sterols believed to be the “active” components. Research has demonstrated that alkaloids acting on the body’s emotional/hormonal systems are responsible for producing fertility and energy effects. This means that Maca can be expected to balance glandular regulation. Maca is used clinically to correct hormonal imbalances including persistent fatigue and acne in young people and symptoms of menopause in aging women. Hugo Malaspina, MD, a cardiologist in Lima, Peru reported that 200 of his patients have found relief from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and depression after taking Maca. He reported significant improvements for problems of concern to older male patients.
Early European colonists in Peru found that their farm animals did not breed at high altitudes as well as before. Adding Maca to their diet restored their fertility. When Maca is given to animals, their sperm count, number of pregnancies and birth weights increased. In a 1991 Peruvian university test, 50 ewes received 100 g/day of Maca for 15 days prior to breeding. The ewes had almost twice as many successful pregnancies and their lambs’ birth weight was 44% higher than for a control group. In 1996, 12 rams receiving 80 g/day of Maca for 15 days showed a 33% increase in sperm count and 40% increase in sperm motility.
Former president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine reports that: “using this Peruvian root myself, I personally experienced a significant improvement in erectile tissue response. I call it nature’s answer to Viagra. It acts on men to restore them to a healthy functional status in which they experience a more active libido.”
Maca root has been used in Peru for thousands of years as both a food and an herbal medicine. It was tested for safety by the Product Safety Labs of East Brunswick, NJ. They found no toxicity or adverse pharmacologic effects. Increases in energy are generally reported after several days
Maca (90 capsules)