Good Morning friends! Happy Friday! I hope this finds you all well!
You may have seen my previous post on Nutritional Yeast by my Nutritionist and Food Technologist friend, Abbie-Lee – well she is back again with a wealth of information and knowledge for us all on MACA. I use it in bliss balls and always in green juices. I personally find that the juices with Maca in it gives me loads more energy than the ones without and I know it is super good for me … be warned though if you haven’t tried it before, it has a distinct and strong taste … I had to work up to the flavour! I hope you find this blog and information helpful.
Information from Abbie-Lee Wright Nutritionist and Food Technologist
The maca species Lepidium meyenii grows all over several South American countries but it is the species Lepidium peruvianum which grows exclusively above 4000 altitude meters in Peru’s Central Andes. The edible part of the plant is the root and varieties include black, yellow and red.
Lepidium peruvianum has been found to be rich in minerals containing high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium, silica, manganese, copper, zinc and vanadium. Biologically it is a complex group of sugars, proteins and fibre as well as essential fatty acids. It is particularly high in alkaloids which are believed to be largely responsible for the plant’s traditional healing use.
Studies reported on the plant known commercially as maca root have summarized its effects on sexual function, female reproduction, memory, depression and anxiety as well as osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome. In addition, maca reduces glucose levels and its consumption is related to the lowering of blood pressure.
Medicinal plants have the great advantage that they have followed an indirect clinical trial during centuries of traditional use and usually many of the adverse effects and toxicities are known. Maca cultivars have been found in archaeological sites in Peru and it is estimated that maca was domesticated between the years 4000-1200 BC. Knowledge of this plant and its medicinal properties has been transferred from generation to generation and continues today.
The root (hypocotyls) of maca can be baked and eaten but is typically dried and stored for years before its consumption. Maca has been traditionally used as a food and an essential folk medicine. Its tremendous value has led many Peruvians to regard maca as a fundamental component of their diet and medicinal treatments. In Peru, it is used to enhance sexual behaviour in men and women, fertility, energy and reduce stress and menopausal symptoms.
Traditionally, maca is best known as an adaptogenic plant which means it is a plant that modulates the body’s response by supporting it in dealing with physiological, biochemical and psychological stressors.Adaptogens are among the most useful medicinal herbs, helping individulas to better cope with fatigue, anxiety, stress, depression and sleep problems. Other common adaptogenic plants include American or Asian ginseng and licorice.
While several studies have already been conducted to examine maca as a potential treatment in various disorders, pharmalogical studies are still needed to determine and better characterise the properties attributed to this plant.
A number of issues have clouded the commercial use of maca. Some of the products previously and currently available may contain less than a therapeutically useful dose. It is known that the lowest therapeutic dose is 1g/twice daily of a standardised, concentrated preparation. It is recommended that to ensure you are receiving genuine therapeutic maca you should look for companies with products that are originating in Peru that are in cooperation with Peruvian scientists, healthcare practitioners, researchers, academics and manufacturers.
* the following paper was used as one of the reference points.
Maca: New Insights on an Ancient Plant
Intergrative Medicine. Vol. 7, No. 6. Dec 2008/Jan 2009 Author Tori Hudson ND
Take Care of You,
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