10 Uses For Maca

Regardless of its centuries-long record of use, maca root has not made it into the natural health community’s spotlight until quite recently. Used for medicinal purposes in various countries for thousands of years, it has finally reached center stage as a powerful super food in the Western world. Research continues to uncover new and valuable health benefits associated with the use of maca as a dietary supplement.

This powerful root vegetable, for which the scientific name is Lepidium meyenii, belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and is native to Peru’s Andes Mountain Range, where it grows year-round. Its appearance is similar to that of turnips or radishes, with lush, green tops and roots ranging in color from black and purple to yellow and white.

Maca’s pleasant tasting root is typically processed by grinding it into powder after the plant is harvested. Among natives of Peru and the Andes Mountains, the root is regarded as a holistic source of healing nutrition, as well as a completely safe super food that can be consumed on a regular basis, just as one would consume any healthy vegetable.

Holistic practitioners refer to the root as an “adaptogen.” The latter is a term used to describe plants, herbs and natural substances that assist the human body to adapt to a broad range of common stressors, such as illness, a demanding job, an overwhelming schedule, or a personal crisis.

In addition, this healthy edible root offers its users a vast array of essential antioxidants and micronutrients. Some researchers believe that it has more antioxidants than any other vegetable consumed by man. Preliminary studies have shown that among other benefits, maca root can boost energy, memory and mood, balance hormone levels, and improve sexual health. Below are some details about the numerous ways one can benefit from adding this vegetable to his or her diet:

1. Sexual Dysfunction

Many people prefer natural cures for sexual dysfunction, as the alternative is often synthetic medications that are sometimes associated with negative side effects. Lepidium meyenii has recently gained attention as a potential treatment for sexual problems, particularly erectile dysfunction. Clinical trials conducted on men between the ages of 21 and 56 show promise that this substance may be very helpful when taken consistently for several months. It is believed that maca’s ability to normalize and regulate testosterone is the reason it is beneficial regarding the sexual well-being of men.

Additionally, this edible root also contains L-arginine, which is an amino acid believed to aid both men and women suffering from sexual dysfunction. A clinical trial conducted on 50 Caucasian men experiencing mild to moderate erectile dysfunction showed highly promising results. During this four month-long trial, 25 of the men were given 2400 mg of dry maca extract, while the other 25 consumed a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who were given maca reported great improvement in sexual performance, less instance of erectile dysfunction, and more stamina during sexual activity. A 2010 review summarizing results from four clinical trials reported that improvement in sexual dysfunction was experienced equally by both male and female participants.