Maca, Maca root, Maka, Peruvian ginseng
Lepidium peruvianum Syn. L weddellii, L. affine, L. gelidium
Cabbage Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
Maca is wildly found in Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The plant is mainly cultivated in the agricultural zone found in the central highlands of Peru. Maca is considered to be an important crop by the indigenous people of the area and to the Andean Indians.
Maca is also called Peruvian ginseng though it is not a member of the ginseng family but with the mustard, instead. Maca is a low-growing herb that can only reach a maximum height of 20 centimetres and grows in mat-like manner. Renewing from the centre of the rosette, the leaves of maca are like scallops. The grey and tiny flowers fertilize themselves and commonly appear similar to mustard. Maca’s propagation is through the seed. The roots require 7-9 months to completely mature and be readily available for harvest. The four core cultivars of the plant are cream, red, purple, and black; not any has been established to be dominating the others in terms of therapeutic use.
Brief History and Folklore
Since the pre-Incan times, maca has been traditionally used by Native Peruvians to give out medicinal and nutritional benefits.
The cultivars of the plant have already left traces in the archaeological sites that dated way back 1600 B.C.
The Plant Composition
- Medicinal Parts Used: Roots
- Chemical Constituents: proteins and sugars, malic acid, uridine, benzoyl derivative, m-methoxyglucotropaeolin, and glucotropaeolin
- Brings back body balance and increases resistance to stress.
- Relieves the symptoms of menopausal periods.
- Stimulates the immune system to build the body’s primary defenses.
Medicinal Actions, Uses, and Health Benefits
Maca contains the constituents that can prohibit the formation of exogenous and endogenous carcinogens to prevent carcinogenesis and result into a full-blown deadly cancer.
This herb does not contain hormones; however, it gives off ample amount of nutrients to nourish the endocrine system and stimulate the endocrine glands to produce the regulated and essential hormones needed by a person.
This herb is highly nutritious and can essentially supply the body’s daily needs to maintain vitality and shield the body from getting debilitating diseases.
Maca is a good herb to stimulate the nervous system and brings back body balance and builds resistance to stress.
Maca regulates body metabolism and is becoming popular in its ability to enhance the body to produce steady energy. This herb is good for athletes as it enhances endurance, energy, and stamina.
The plant is also utilized an herbal remedy for menstrual disorders, chronic, fatigue, and the symptoms of menopause like mood swings and hot flashes.
Preparation Methods and Dosage
According to studies, the successful does for this herb in capsule form is 500-1,000mg to be taken three times a day. The whole root can be consumed raw, boiled, or cooked.
Cautions and Side Effects
Make sure to consult your doctor when using maca especially for those with thyroid problems as this herb contains high iodine content.