Tha Maca plant (Lepidium meyenii), a medicinal plant native to the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia, grows in high altitude caves at 4,000 metres. The root of the Maca plant is used for medical purposes - mostly to stimulate sexual desire and to energise/vitalise, both in men and women. The main active constituents of maca root are benzyalkalmides (macamides), macaenes and alkaloids, and maca plant is also rich in fibre, vitamin C and iron.
Interestingly, Maca can come in different colours and therefore have slightly different effects.
- Yellow Maca is the most widely researched and used, and is best known for its hormone-optimising and physically and mentally stimulating effects.
- Red Maca has the sweetest flavour and is the richest in phytoestrogens, making it the most effective for women for hormone optimisation and bone strenght.
- Black Maca is the rarest of all, black maca is the most beneficial for men, it can increase muscle strenght and mental performance, it can also have sex drive enhancing effects, black maca is the most useful in increasing sperm count - making black maca the most useful in increasing male fertility.
All 3 maca help to maintain a healthy nervous system, which may protect against the development of many diseases affecting the nervous system. The macamides in maca are responsible for this effect. These compounds have been showing in studies to inhibit the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters (namely endocannabionid breakdown, which act on the CB1 and CB2 receptors). Cannabionoid receptors are involved in pain sensation, mood and the reward system. In this way, maca indirectly increases the activity of CB1 and CB2 receptors without having a mind-altering effect. Furthermore, maca root extract also has anti-inflammatory effects. Together, these two effects enable maca to protect the brain from pathological (unnatural) changes and help restore balance to the complex processes in our brain.
Maca also contains phytoestrogens, but it has an interesting way of optimizing hormones - flavonoids with a structure similar to human hormones (like phytoestrogens) directly replace the effects of the hormone - similar to synthetic hormones, but with a more natural, balanced effect thanks to the many different active ingredients in the herbs. In contrast, the Maca plant also contains alkaloids that act on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in our brain. These organs are responsible for the production of many hormones, so Maca helps to balance our hormone balance by acting directly at the root of the problem. These alkaloids work through the pituitary gland to improve uterine and reproductive function, as well as thyroid and pancreatic function.
Studies have shown that it can improve pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms, as well as increase sexual desire in women and improve symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
The average daily dose of maca extract is 1500-3000 mg.
Maca root is available as an extract or in powder form. For powder, 5 grams per day is recommended.
Studies have found that maca extract up to 3000 mg to be safe in the long term, so never exceed this limit. Do not use as a pregnant or breastfeeding mother and consult a doctor before taking maca before suffering any medical condition.