What is Maca and Its Health Benefits

Maca is essentially a Peruvian herb cultivated in the high Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and also in some parts of Brazil. Also known as Ledpidium meyenil, Maca is known for its medicinal properties along with the ability to render energy and mental clarity in Peruvians for more than 2000 years. To the natives of Peru and Bolivia, Maca is more of a root vegetable, although globally it is a well known medicinal herb.

Uniqueness of Maca

Maca is considered to be a potent super-food consisting of nutrients which can contribute to the overall well being of human system.  The composition of calcium, vitamin B1 & B12, phosphorus, and fatty acids work well on the nervous system, while simultaneously aiding in digestion. Its composition of Vitamin C, sterois, and calcium promotes building of muscle mass and physical endurance. However, Maca is believed to be unique as an aphrodisiac, having the capability to create a hormonal balance, and depicts an increase in stamina, libido, and fertility in both men and women.

Health Benefits of Maca

Maca is said to have several health benefits for both men and women. It is a potent energy booster, which is extremely safe in its use. Maca is believed to support the overall functionality of the human body, making it function to its fullest potential. The health benefits of Maca are as follows.

Beneficial in promoting sexual performance : Maca has mood enhancing ingredients, which in turn helps to promote sexual performance in both men and women alike. Women experiencing vaginal dryness are said to benefit from the use of Maca. A study carried out by the researchers at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, in Lima, in which Maca root was administered on men aged 21-56 and compared with placebo, confirmed the fact that Maca has the ability to improve sexual behavior in men, as compared to placebo. As such, Maca was found to be beneficial for both men suffering from erectile dysfunctions. Maca increases the production of serotonin in the body, which acts as an antidepressant to enhance the libido function  in both the sexes.

Beneficial in improving fertility in men : Maca is said to increase the sperm motility, as well as the semen volume and the sperm count. A study carried out to test the effect of Maca on fertility was conclusive to depict an improved sperm count in men, which was noticed after four months. Black Maca was said to be the most optimal for fertility enhancement.

Beneficial in increasing energy and endurance : Maca is believed to enhance the body's resistance power, energy level, and endurance. It has the ingredients to gel well with the body's natural rhythms for re-building a weak immune system . It is also known to mineralizing body with deprived nourishment. As such, Maca is considered to be a true adaptogen.

Beneficial as hormone regulator : As an endocrine adaptogen, Maca directly fuels the body's endocrine system enabling it to produce vital hormones appropriately suited to one's own body standards. Thus, the body's endocrine system primarily consisting of the adrenal glands, pancreas, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thymus, ovaries, testes, thyroid and parathyroid glands, is said to function better with the help of Maca.

Beneficial in stimulating the body growth : The essential vitamins and nutrients in Maca, namely the B-vitamins and fatty acids, increase the body's metabolism, while the phosphorus component in Maca provides fuel to the body cells. The steroids inherent in Maca, help the building of the muscle tissues and fibers in the human body, whereas its alkaloid component promotes the building of the bones. All in all, Maca has excellent properties to stimulate body growth.

Beneficial in Osteoporosis : Maca powder (a popular way of consuming  maca) is rich in fatty acids, proteins, fiber, iron, calcium andmenopause and maca other nutrients. Maca powder with all these nutrients is found to be a helpful supplement in preventing Osteoporosis.

Beneficial for women during menopause : Maca being a very good hormonal balancer, aids women during menopause. Apart from balancing the hormones, Maca nourishes the glandular system as well as reduces several symptoms of menopause such as mood swings, depression, and hot flashes. As Maca is calcium rich, it is also recommended for women suffering from osteoporosis. Women can safely use Maca as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy drugs used for correcting menopause. Further, Maca works uniquely in aiding women with their menopause problems, as compared to the help rendered by phytoestrogen herbs like black cohosh and licorice root. Also, as the mode of menopause correction utilized by Maca is different from conventional hormone replacement therapy, women can discontinue the use of Maca at any time without any danger done to the system. Conventional hormone replacement therapy or drugs stimulate the ovarian system, while combating the issue of menopause, whereas Maca regulates the ovarian function of a woman.

Beneficial for premature aging and chronic fatigue in men : With easily absorbable calcium and magnesium found in Maca, premature aging and weaknesses such as chronic fatigue can be arrested instantly. Maca is believed to treat rickets and various forms of anemia.

Beneficial to boost immunity : Due to anti fungicide and antiseptic properties of Maca it can help increase resistance of body to several diseases better. It is known to improve overall immunity  and aid in quick healing and faster recovery. Studies have shown to have a 5% faster increase in healing cuts and wounds if one is consuming Maca.

Benefits in Increasing Muscular strength : Since ancient times Maca has been chosen to act as muscular strength and stamina enhancer. This is because of its anabolic properties. It is often mentioned that Incan warriors relied on Maca to give their muscles the much required boost and also help increase their strength and proficiency in the battle.

Other benefits of maca : Maca's other benefits include benefits in digestion and aiding memory.

Storing Maca

Maca is best stored in powder form. After placing the powder in zip-top bag, air tighten it before transferring it into an opaque container in order to protect it from moisture and light. Maca powder can be ideally stored for up to 24 months in a cool, dry place.

Side effects of Maca

The side effects of Maca are not proven. Maca, as such, does not cause any side effects unless taken as an overdose. Also, Maca contains glucosinolates, which can be harmful for people having thyroidal problems, if such person consumes Maca along with an iodine deficient diet. Likewise, such person can also face the danger of contracting a Goiter. Moreover, certain physicians have suggested that pregnant or breast feeding women should refrain from the use of Maca, as a precautionary measure.

Recommendation

Maca is certainly a potent super-food which can be consumed by both the sexes without any hassles or danger. However, one has to make sure to not cross the prescribed limit as suggested for taking this magical herb.