What Is Maca?
As people who use and promote Maca powder regularly, one of the most common questions we here is, What is Maca? We’ll do our best in this article to give you all the basics about this simple, yet powerful superfood.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a perennial plant that grows high up in the Andes mountains (above about 14,000 feet – 3500 m). Growing in some of the most hostile regions on the planet, Maca thrives where other plants can’t. The tuber, similar in size and shape to a white turnip, is eaten by animals of the region and has also been used by people indigenous to the Andes mountain ranges for 1000s of years.
What Is Maca Good For?
For people working at such high elevations in oxygen starved air, Maca has been a true blessing. One of the most notable properties of Maca is how quickly it increases strength, stamina and endurance. Maca has also been used traditionally to boost fertility for both livestock as well as humans. This use dates back about 1000 years that we know of and continues to the modern day. Maca is regularly prescribed by doctors in Peru to support fertility in both men and women.
What is Maca in Terms of Western Medicine
Although Maca has always been known and commonly used in modern Peru, it wasn’t until the last 30 years or so that it attracted the attention of medical researches and natural health practitioners. In the 1970s it was discovered that Maca is one of those few unique plants that is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are very powerful in that they are able to “adapt” to a given body’s health condition and in many cases stimulate it to heal whatever is out of balance. Another more famous adaptogen that you might have heard of is Ginseng, which has enjoyed a tremendously long history of use in Asia.
Because of its adaptogenic properties, Maca works to help improve a wide variety of health conditions. Over 254 studies on PubMed database and 100s of others have shown that the major benefits of taking this herb include:
- More energy and endurance
- Higher stamina and muscle strength
- Elimination of chronic exhaustion (fatigue) syndrome
- Higher libido in both men and women
- Enhanced fertility in people and animals
- Hormonal balance during menopause & andropause
- Decreased depression
- Reduced anxiety, worry and stress
- Improved circulation leading to reduced anemia and faster wound healing
- Enhanced memory, learning, and mental ability
- Improved and more youthful skin appearance
- Healthier teeth and bones
What Is Maca Powder Made Of?
High quality Maca (and not all of it is) is made by simply washing, cutting and drying the root vegetable at low temperatures (ours is sundried). Keeping the drying process under 45c or 120F is of the utmost importance to preserve the healing properties of Maca. Maca that has been dried in such a fashion is considered “raw,” and therefore premium. Once the pieces have been dried, they are then ground into a fine powder.
What Is Maca ‘s Taste Like?
Maca has a unique and pleasant malty taste, so most people choose to use Maca in powder form. Maca can be taken mixed into water, juices or smoothies. You can also simply eat it straight out of the bag. Some people choose to purchase Maca that has been put into capsules. The disadvantage of this is that capsules sometimes don’t dissolve well in the stomach which means less Maca will be absorbed than if you take the powder. Also, Maca in capsules tends to be very expensive relative to the powder.
Who Uses Maca?
There are hundreds of thousands of regular Maca consumers in the world. Outside of the Andes, the herb is used in Europe, the United States and Asia/Pacific. It is a very commonly prescribed by fertility doctors to help people conceive naturally. It is also quite common for women passing through menopause to use the herb. Beyond that, Maca is popular among athletes. Endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists use the herb to boost their stamina. And natural body builders use it to increase their muscle mass and strength. Another group of people who use Maca regularly are people committed to eating a very healthy and high energy diet.
So, in just a few words: what is Maca? Maca is a gift from nature and one of the most potent superfoods in the world. Here at the Maca Team, we all love Maca and the benefits of it. We hope this article has been helpful and invite you to learn more about our Maca here. If you have any further questions, please do let us know. We’re always happy to help.
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