Scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii, Maca is a plant that is native to the Andes of South America and has been cultivated in Peru as a vegetable crop for at least 2000 years. The root of the Maca plant is still used in Peru for its nutritional and medicinal benefits, and is usually dried, crushed, and turned into a powder.
Maca root powder is a great source of several important vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, iron, copper and zinc. It also contains many bioactive compounds including glucosinolates (also found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale) and polyphenols—a rich source of antioxidants.
Here’s our top takeaways about this ancient superfood:
Maca can boost energy
Maca is an adaptogen; a plant-based substance considered to help the body adapt to stress, both physical and mental. This study of eight male cyclists found that they improved the time it took them to complete a 40 kilometer bike ride after taking a Maca extract for just two weeks.
Maca can increase libido
A 2002 study found that men given either 1.5g or 3g Maca daily, reported an increase in their sex drive after 8 weeks.
Another study from 2008, of depressed men on SSRIs (a type of antidepressant that had affected their libido) found that 3g of Maca taken daily significantly increased their sexual desire.
Maca may enhance fertility
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of men conducted in 2001 showed that both 1.5g and 3g of Maca per day increased both sperm count and the ability of their sperm to swim properly (sperm motility).