There is a plant extremely high up in the Peruvian Andes mountains called Maca and is a vegetable which has been eaten by humans for thousands of years. It is a large vegetable similar in appearance to a radish or turnip and it produces leaves and off-white flowers. It is sold in Peru as a very nutritious vegetable and is also highly regarded as an herbal medicine. The root is high in sugars, protein, starches, iodine and iron. It is often baked like a sweet potato.
Since the 1960s there has been a lot of scientific research into Maca and it has been discovered that it contains energy boosting qualities which enhance fertility, reproductive organs, sperm counts, and seminal fluid volume and sperm mobility.
To meet demands in the USA and abroad cultivation has dramatically increased. Currently, there is much research into Maca Root and its effects including its ability to building immunity to invasive infection.
At the John Hopkins University research undertaken has found that the protein nrf2 encourages cells to produce enzymes that detoxify harmful substances. Maca is part of the Brassicaceae family which is known to contain this helpful protein. The studies claim that by “elevating the level of nrf2 detoxifying enzymes, we can enhance the resistance to carcinogens. Some of the constituents in Maca Root include alkaloids, whole fibre, lipids, twenty amino acids (including arginine, serine, clycine, valine, histidine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid, etc.), proteins, beta-ecdysone, beta-sitosterol, hydrolyzable carbohydrates, essential fatty acids (including linolenic, palmitic and oleic acids), glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, protein, steroid glycosides, saponins, sitosterols, stigmasterol, tannins, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B12 and vitamins C and E”.
Previous and current studies look into Maca Root benefiting in many areas, including:
- Sexual performance and endurance
- Acting as an aphrodisiac
- Helping sterility and other reproductive and sexual disorders
- Treating impotence and erectile dysfunction
- In women, it is said to increase libido, perk up a low sex drive and enhance fertility
- Balancing adrenal gland hormones
- Treating menopausal women and women who suffer menstrual difficulties
- Hormonal imbalances
- Increasing energy and stamina
- Boosts endurance in athletes
- Helps with chronic fatigue syndrome and restoring lost vitality and vigour
- Enhancing memory and promoting mental clarity
- Treating memory loss and other disorders resulting from depleted energy stores
- Reducing thyroidal symptoms
- Treating anaemia
- Strengthening and boosting the immune system
- Strengthening the body’s fight against foreign, harmful substances that may try to invade it
- The glucosinolates found in Maca Root may help to combat serious invasive infection
- Maca Root is thought to be an adaptogen which helps to balance bodily systems especially during stressful situations
Maca Root is the highest source of nutrients growing in the Andean region. It is rich in:
- Essential fatty acids
- Amino acids
- Essential nutrients (especially iodine, iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium)
The Maca Root is not for everyone, but maybe it just might help replace other prescription medications. Always remember to consult your doctor first before taking any new supplements.
By Eirian Hallinan