Maca is a plant native to Peru (scientific name: Lepidium meyenii) that grows in the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains, mainly in harsh conditions at altitudes above 4,000 meters. It has been developed as a vegetable crop for at least 3000 years and has a long history of being used in cooking and medicine. It is related to broccoli, cabbage, and radish.
Maca is a common ingredient in Peruvian cooking. The main edible part of the plant is the root, which is generally dried and used in powder form. It can be consumed in powder form and added to meals or used in smoothies. It is eaten baked or roasted, prepared as soup, and used for making a fermented drink known as maca chicha.
In addition to its many uses in cooking, maca has also shown great promise in recent research studies. While research is in its infancy regarding its health benefits, we will look at five health benefits of using the maca plant below.
- Increases Libido
Reduced sexual desire is a common problem for adults these days. As a result, there is great interest in plants and herbs that boost libido.
The most well-known benefit of maca root is its ability to increase libido. Studies have shown positive results that maca root increased libido when compared to a placebo, maca improved libido, and helped reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.
So while additional research is needed before science can claim that maca increases libido, preliminary reports are very promising in this regard.
- Prevents Erectile Dysfunction and Increases Male Fertility
Maca root may help people suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Research has shown that consuming small amounts of maca root daily improved participant perception of their general and sexual well-being.
Also, recent research has shown that maca root may increase semen quality in both fertile and infertile men.
Maca has shown to increase sperm production and improve sperm quality. Thus, maca is promising for enhancing male fertility.
- Reduces Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is the stage in which a woman has her menstrual periods stop permanently. It is accompanied by a decline in estrogen, which can cause various unpleasant symptoms.
Maca has shown promise in balancing levels of estrogen. As mentioned, estrogen levels fluctuate and cause a variety of symptoms for women during the perimenopause and menopause stages. Maca may help counter these effects, including hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, irritability and night sweats, by providing a more stable level of estrogen.
- Improving Learning and Memory
Maca may help improve learning and memory performance. In fact, maca has traditionally been used by natives in Peru to enhance children’s performance in school. While studies are limited, the evidence does suggest that maca improved these cognitive functions. And researchers have suggested that maca may be effective in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease which is related to these processes.
- Improving Your Moods
Maca contains flavonoids, which are believed to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Research found that the use of maca reduced feelings of anxiety and depression.
Maca root powder is very nutritious and is an excellent source of several essential vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin C, copper, and iron.
Maca has shown various health benefits through human consumption. This is particularly true for sexual health. Because there are almost no health risks with using maca, people can try maca without fear of experiencing any adverse side effects.