Lepidium Meyenii (Maca)
Lepidium Meyenii (Maca)
Lepidium Meyenii, the scientific name of the maca plant, is also known as Peruvian ginseng. Maca is normally found at the Peruvian Andes mountain range. In fact, Andean people have been cultivating maca for over 2000 years. It’s one of the few edible plants that can withstand the harsh weather conditions in the Peruvian Andes above 4000 metres 1. It is a natural remedy that is used by the Andean people to treat a variety of health problems, such as respiratory conditions and rheumatic disease 2. The root of the maca plant is commonly used as it contains fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Other bioactive compounds found in maca include macamides, macaridine, alkaloids, and glucosinolates 1.
Published Health Benefits
1. Increase fertility
Studies have shown that supplementing with maca may help to increase sperm concentration, or the number of sperm per mililiter of semen. This indicates that maca possess fertility enhancing in men 3.
2. Increase libido
- A study of 45 women with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction discovered that taking 3000mg of maca root per day for 12 weeks significantly improved sexual function and libido when compared to placebo 5.
- An older study from 2002 discovered that men who took 1.5 or 3g of maca per day had higher libido than those who received a placebo 5.
3. Improve mood and energy
- One reason people consume maca is to get a caffeine-free energy boost. A small study of 175 people found a link between maca and energy. People who consumed 3g of maca for 12 weeks reported having more energy than those who did not consume maca 6.
- A 2014 mouse study discovered a link between consuming maca for six weeks and increased dopamine levels, which resulted in less depression 7.
4. Relieve symtoms of menopause
According to some studies, maca may benefit menopausal women by alleviating some symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disruption 8.
- da Silva Leitão Peres, N. et al. (2020) “Medicinal effects of Peruvian Maca (lepidium meyenii): A Review,” Food & Function, 11(1), pp. 83–92. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1039/c9fo02732g.
- Beharry, S. and Heinrich, M. (2018) “Is the hype around the reproductive health claims of maca (Lepidium Meyenii Walp.) justified?,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 211, pp. 126–170. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2017.08.003.
- Melnikovova, I. et al. (2015) “Effect oflepidium meyeniiwalp. on semen parameters and serum hormone levels in healthy adult men: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, pp. 1–6. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/324369.
- Dording, C.M. et al. (2015) “A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, pp. 1–9. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/949036.
- Gonzales, G.F. et al. (2002) “Effect of lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men,” Andrologia, 34(6), pp. 367–372. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x.
- Gonzales-Arimborgo, C. et al. (2016) “Acceptability, safety, and efficacy of oral administration of extracts of black or red maca (lepidium meyenii) in adult human subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” Pharmaceuticals, 9(3), p. 49. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/ph9030049.
- Ai, Z. et al. (2014) “Antidepressant-like behavioral, anatomical, and biochemical effects of petroleum ether extract from maca (lepidium meyenii) in mice exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress,” Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(5), pp. 535–542. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2013.2950.
- Ross, K. (2021) “Nutritional management of surgically induced menopause: A case report,” Women’s Health, 17, p. 174550652110314. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/17455065211031492.