Written by Erica Mirabilio BHSc (Nat)
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Lepidium meyenii, commonly known as “Maca” has also been referred to as the ‘Peruvian ginseng’ due to its Traditional use in Peruvian medicine for its invigorating effects. Maca is a plant from the Brassicaceae / Cruciferae family. It’s related to the radish, yet has an aroma similar to that of butterscotch. The Maca plant grows as a root vegetable and has an appearance which is similar to a turnip or parsnip. There are variations to the Maca plant although the most widely used form is the flattened-circular shaped, yellow coloured root. For medicinal purposes and therapeutic benefits, the plant part used is the tuberous root.
Maca is a plant which is native to South America in countries such as Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. Maca is most commonly found growing in what is known to be the ‘highest plateaus’ of the Peruvian Andes Mountains, reaching between 3700m – 4500m above sea level, where it has been found and cultivated as a root crop for over 3000 years.
History of Maca
The history of Maca root usage dates back before the 13th century, where it had been incorporated into the Incan culture after conquering the Peruvian Andes population in the highlands. During these times and within the community, consuming Maca was considered to be a privilege, as it was limited only to the wealthy, noble, clergy and even warriors.
Maca was first described as a medicinal food in 1553 and later in 1653 was followed-up for its effects on sexual function, energy and emotional wellbeing. Traditionally, Maca has been used in humans and even livestock for agricultural practices. It was recognised as a medicinal food throughout traditional Peruvian medicine and was used to support emotional wellbeing, enhance vitality and maintain energy levels while supporting physical endurance, stamina and capacity. Primary indications in traditional Peruvian medicine supported female complaints by relieving symptoms of menopause and regulating healthy menstrual cycles.
Benefits of Maca
Maca is considered to be a superfood, which is a food that is nutritionally dense, provides health benefits and supports wellbeing. Maca contains a powerhouse of macro and micro nutrients, such as: a high energy content, protein, amino acids, fibre, healthy fatty acids, plant sterols, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and zinc. It also contains an array of active constituents that add value to its therapeutic effects as a medicinal herb.
There is a rich content of active constituents found in Maca, including multiple glucosinolates and the polyunsaturated fats, macaene and macamide. The actions which these constituents convey are abundant, although the most beneficial health effects are: antioxidant and aphrodisiac. These actions support healthy sexual functions including the maintenance of a healthy libido. Maca provides female reproductive hormonal support by relieving symptoms associated with menopause and also in reducing the occurrence of these symptoms, in both menopausal and peri-menopausal women. Maca has shown to work efficiently for healthy emotional balance and reducing menopausal symptoms such as moodiness. Additional benefits of Maca may include antioxidant support in reducing free radicals, maintaining physical endurance, capacity and stamina and also promoting general health and wellbeing.
Some health indications of Maca:
– Maca maintains healthy sexual wellbeing and sexual functions in men and women.
– Maca helps to support a healthy libido in men.
– Maca helps to reduce symptoms of menopause. Additionally, Maca can help to relieve moodiness and support emotional wellbeing associated with menopause.
– Maca can support physical endurance and maintain physical stamina.
– Maca is an antioxidant herb which can reduce free radical formation within the body and also help to decrease free radical damage caused to body cells.
– Maca maintains general health and wellbeing, including emotional wellbeing.
Use of Maca
As a food, Maca root has been consumed for thousands of years and popular choices have been cooking methods of baking, roasting, a soup and also fermented as a drink or coffee. Traditionally Maca was prepared with dosage ranges of 50-100g daily. Research supported by clinical evidence now demonstrates doses between 2-3.5g daily have optimal results. Caruso’s Maca 3500 for vitality and libido is a one-a-day 3.5g dose of Lepidium meyenii.
For more information, please contact one of our friendly naturopaths from Carusos on 1300304480. Always read the label and follow directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase. If you would like to purchase Caruso’s Maca or browse our product range, please visit here
- Braun & Cohen (2015). Herbs & Natural Supplements, 4th, vol. 2.
- Therapeutic Research Faculty (2005). Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database.