Maca

Lepidium meyenii

An annual plant which produces a radish like root. The top is a mat like stem of up to twenty scalloped leaves. The root of the maca is typically dried and stored, and is easily kept for at least seven years.

Family: Brassicaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Maca is a key herb in Sustain and Women

Habit and cultivation: Cultivated in the Junin Plateau of Peru’s central highland. One of only two crops (the other is potato) which grows in altitudes of 10,000 to 15,000 ft. Approximately 1,000 acres is grown annually by individual families. Temperatures of below zero and snow in summer are common, and the oxygen-thin air encourages little plant life. Luckily maca is frost resistant and thrives in these poor soil conditions.

Actions (known for): Anti-fatigue, immunostimulant, aphrodisiac, steroidal, nutritive tonic and adaptogen.

History

Dubbed the ‘Peruvian ginseng’, Maca has been cultivated for at least 2,000 years. The Spanish arrived in Peru in 1526 and Maca was one among many Inca treasures they bought back to Europe. The Inca suggested that the Spanish feed their horses Maca as there was no grazing land up in the mountains. Their horses returned with good health and fertility. It has been part of the staple diet of the Inca and a staple of their currency. Inca warriors used it during times of battle as it made them fiercely strong. Its strength in enhancing libido and fertility were well established over 500 years ago.

Parts used:

Roots

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Alkaloids, Beta-ecdysone, amino acids, saponins, protein, tannins, minerals and vitamins. Plant sterols including beta sitosterol, flavones and flavonoid glycosides.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: B1, B2, C, and E. Minerals: calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc.

Indications:

Supports the glandular system. Promotes libido and sexual function. Enhances physical strength and endurance. Promotes mental clarity. Supports stamina and buffers the effects of stress; may boost work capacity.

Dosage:

Eaten as a food in South America – added to drinks, biscuits and cakes. A 1500mg dose appears to be as effective as 3000mg dose.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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