What is Maca Root?
Commonly known to many as Peruvian ginseng or Lepidium meyenii, maca root is a turnip obtained from an ancient plant originally discovered in the high plateaus of the Andes. The herb has been used as a medicinal remedy in India and other parts of the world for centuries. Its root, which offers these properties can either be red, yellow, pink or black.
Maca Root active ingredients
There are various active ingredients in the maca root, including;
Macamides and macaenes which are directly linked to the herb’s efficacy in libido enhancement
Benzylated alkamides such as, phenyl acetonitrile
Essential oils; methoxyphenylacetonitrile, phenyl acetonitrile and benzaldehyde
Glucosinolates like, glucosinalbin, glucoalyssin, glucobrassicin among others
Essential minerals; magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and selenium
Acids like, oleic acid, palmitic acid and linolenic acid
Besides, the ones listed above, researchers believe maca root contains several other ingredients, which serve different health purposes. More studies are recommended to unearth all the components of maca root.
Nutritional constituents of Maca Root
Although many people only know maca root as a remedy for people with low libido, the herb also has a wide range of nutritional benefits. In many parts of Peru, where it was discovered and has been cultivated over the years, maca root is part of everyday die. The following are the main constituents that give maca root its nutritional value;
Vitamin B1essential for conversion of carbohydrates to body energy and function of key organs like muscles and heart
Vitamin C, an important part of nutrients required by humans
Vitamin B2, critical for the production of RBC and other body functions
Copper and Iron, which are crucial in the creation of hemoglobin
Calcium, which is important for the nerves and function of the circulatory system
Maca root also contains fructose, which is crucial in semen production. When the source of fructose is digested, it ends up in the bloodstream through absorption. Besides, research has also revealed that maca root contains phosphorus that helps in storage of the chemical energy of the body.
Maca root has been used across the world for centuries as a remedy for various kinds of health conditions. The following are the main health benefits of maca root;
Maca root is used in different forms to enhance libido in both men and women. It enables users to endure sexual intercourse for a longer period of time. Besides, maca root also plays a critical role in improving fertility in males owing to its ability to increase the production of semen. Maca root is also essential in the balance of hormones for great sexual pleasure in humans as well as animals.
General health improvement
Considering the wide range of ingredients found in maca root, it effectively works in enhancing general health of users. It ensures the supply of iron and production of red blood cells, thereby protecting the body against health conditions like, anemia and cardiovascular infections. Studies also show that a combination of maca root and proper workout can enhance muscle mass. However, it is recommended you ask your doctor before using maca for any health-related condition.
Maca root has been prescribed to many people suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and mood swings. Its anecdotal properties enables it to provide relief from such health conditions. Some studies have reported that the herb helps in increasing mental energy and improving concentration.
Relief from menopausal symptoms
In females, studies have indicated that maca root can effectively work in alleviating the symptoms of menopause. Many users report decline in hot flashes and sweating at night, mainly attributed to its ability to balance body hormones. In women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it works by controlling the levels of estrogen. This is crucial for enhancing productivity and fertility.
Maca has also been used as a natural antioxidant, which helps in boosting the levels of SOD and glutathione. The are crucial disease fighting constituents that hinder the development of chronic human health conditions, caused by the existence of too much bad’ cholesterol, impaired tolerance to glucose in the body. It has properties that help in maintaining proper balance of cholesterol levels to avoid diseases like obesity. On the other hand, it also lowers glucose levels in the blood, thereby improving tolerance.
Generally, there are several other health benefits of maca root that can be derived by those who use it. Maca can also be used for the treatment of acne, stimulation of hair growth, improved skin tone among others.
Although many people have been using maca root for years, studies and users reveal it has certain side effects that beginners should be aware of. The following are the key side effects of maca root;
Consumption of large quantities regularly may cause slight increase in blood pressure.
Unsafe for people on hormone-altering treatments for conditions like prostate, breast cancer among others
Also not advisable for people with high blood pressure
Maca root is also believed to contain high concentration of iodine and too much use may worsen the symptoms of thyroid conditions.
Considering the testosterone-producing qualities of maca root, consuming it in large quantities may also cause abnormal hormonal changes in women, like, changes in body shape, growth of facial hair, breast and uterine cancers among others.
Nausea and stomach upsets
Some studies have also indicated that maca may be unfit for pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, more research still needs to be done in order to prove any additional side effects.
It should be noted that dosage usually varies from one user to another, depending on the purpose.
For sexual enhancement in males, maca should be taken in the form of food supplements at a daily dosage of about 1000 to 2000mg. This can be gradually increased to about 3000mg. If consumed in the form of liquids, users are advised to take about one teaspoonful daily, which could be increased by another after 5 to 7 weeks.
For hormonal levels improvement, the recommended dose is 1 to 3 tablespoonful (2-8 capsules) each day
When using extracts, the recommended daily dosage is 2-4 droppersful.
Maca root can be used in the form of liquids, capsules, powder or extracts. Despite the few side effects, reserach has shown the herb has lots of nutritional and health benefits. Before using maca root for any kind of health or nutritional benefit, it is always advisable to seek advice from your doctor.