NAME: Maca Root
LATIN NAME: Lepidium Meyenii
HABITAT: This plant grows in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina at a height of at least 3000 meters above sea level.
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Maca Root is a biennial herbaceous plant of the genus Lepidium. It has an edible pear-shaped root. It is usually of yellow, purple or black color. The root reaches weight up to 1 kg. Maca Root has thick pinnately-divided leaves and little flowers, gathered in racemous flower head. The seeds of the plant are tiny, ovate and are of red-gray color.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: The main importance of Lepidium Meyenii is the root, which has a yellow color, and looks like a turnip or radish. The value of maca root is in its rich chemical composition. Here are the main elements/components:
- vitamins of group B, vitamin C, vitamin E;
- calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, iodine, potassium;
- amino acids-glycine, aspartic acid, methionine, arginine, tyrosine, isoleucine, glutamine, lysine, tryptophan and others;
- alkaloids. The most valuable biologically active substance is macaridin alkaloid, found only at the root of maca.
- fatty acids- palmitic, oleic, linolenic, malic.
- 7 alkamides
ACTIONS: Maca root provides anticancer, antiaging, tonic, antioxidant and fortifying effects on the body.
HEALTH BENEFITS: Because of a rich chemical composition, Lepidium Meyenii has a wide range of beneficial effects on the human body:
- Maca root helps to boost the immune system;
- It relieves fatigue and tones the whole body;
- Reduces the risk of cancer. Maca root acts as a natural antioxidant which helps to counteract harmful free radicals and preventing damage to cells;
- It grows stamina of the body. Maca root powder and extract are popular supplements among bodybuilders and athletes;
- Helps to prevent skin aging. When using maca regularly it rejuvenates the skin of the face and body. There is a significant regeneration of the cells and tissues of the body. The skin becomes more elastic and wrinkles disappear;
- Improves metabolism. It is good at fighting against obesity;
- It is effective at strengthening the heart and vascular walls;
- Maca Root normalizes both men and women hormones, solves problems caused by hormonal imbalances. It is recommended for asthenozospermia and oligospermia, as it grows the activity of sperm. Some Maca Root varieties can reduce dysuric symptoms when having prostatitis. One review of 4 studies in menopausal women found out that Maca Root helped top reduce menopausal symptoms, such as sleep problems/insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes and irritability;
- It is extremely effective in the fight against depression, fear and panic state. Maca contains flavonoids, which have been claimed to be responsible in reducing these psychological conditions;
- Lepidium Meyenii improves the function of the genital organs. Some studies claim that Maca was able to improve libido and both women and men sexual function;
- Maca helps to increase mental activity and memory. Lepidium Meyenii has traditionally been used by natives in Peru to boost children`s performance in school;
- Because of its high calcium content, maca strengthens and protects the structure of teeth and bones.
Although maca is thought to be secure for many people still it should be taken with some caution:
- If you suffer from thyroid problems, you should stick to moderate consumption of maca;
- Maca should not be taken by people who rely on hormone changing treatment;
- People with high-blood pressure are also should be very careful with Maca Root;
- There is little information on the safety of maca for pregnant or breastfeeding women. So it is better for these women to avoid using Maca Root.
HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS RECIPES:
Green Maca Smoothie:
Ingredients: ¼ cup milk or water;
½ cup yogurt;
1 cup fresh spinach;
1 tsp maca root powder;
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter;
Blend all these ingredients until smooth and enjoy!
Mocha Maca Matcha: Boil water or heat almond milk on the stove, pout it into your blender together with maca, matcha, coconut oil, raw cacao, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon blend until frothy. Enjoy this healthy drink to start your morning.
Some resources clam that Maca was cultivated in Peru 1600 BC. In general, the use of maca root can be track down to more than 2000 years. Lepidium Meyenii was thought to be a gift of the gods to Peruvian Indians, along with corn and potatoes. Actualy, this veggie was used by ancient Peruvian people as a form of currency and was cherished for its healing power. It was able to treat women health problems, stomach cancer, fatigue, stress and anemia. Moreover, it was considered as the only crop that can flourish at the extreme height of the Peruvian mountains.
During the flourishing of the Inca civilization in the Andes region, Maca Root was believed to be incredibly valuable. What is more, its use was controlled and reserved for royalty only.
*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.