Maca is a member of the mustard family that has been cultivated by the native people of Peru for over 2000 years. As the world’s highest growing food crop, it flourishes at altitudes of between 3048 meters and 4572 meters in the harsh conditions on the barren high plateaus of the central Andes. Maca is grown as an annual, and its root or tuber is harvested after seven to nine months. This root is so nutrient-packed that the Inca warriors reportedly consumed it to energize themselves for battle. Although unrelated to ginseng, Maca is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng because of its similar properties.
Common Name: Maca
Botanical Name: Lepidium meyenii
Other Names: Peruvian ginseng, mace, maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, ayuk willku, pepperweed
Growing Area: Peru
Nutrients & Applications:
Dried Maca root contains 60-75% carbohydrate, 10-14% protein, 8.5% fiber and 2.2% lipids. It contains more calcium than a glass of milk, is a good source of iodine, contains anticancer compounds, potassium, antioxidants, and two groups of compounds called macamides and macaenes.
Maca is widely known for its outstanding stamina enhancing properties because it contains a number of sterols that help improve our energy and vitality. Maca is not a stimulant, but rather, it works as a stress – adaptor and aids energy production and endurance, making it a safe and effective way for athletes to increase their endurance, body mass and stamina.
In Peruvian herbal medicine Maca is used as an immunostimulant and to re-mineralize poorly nourished bodies. Maca is also traditionally used for anemia, tuberculosis, to treat stomach cancer, to help support joint and respiratory health, improve mood and to support memory functions.
Maca is also well-known as a natural hormone balancer and may be used to help alleviate certain menopause symptoms, to treat menstrual disorders, infertility and some reproductive disorders.
The fresh tuber is consumed baked and the dried tuber is boiled in water or milk to make a porridge. Maca is also made into a popular sweet, fragrant, fermented drink called maca chicha. The tuberous root has a tangy, sweet taste and smells like butterscotch.