A radish-like plant from the Andes Mountains of South America is growing in popularity in Europe and North America as a medicinal herb.
The root of the maca plant (Lepidium meyenii) has several medicinal properties that:
• increase energy and endurance
• relieve stress
• strengthen the immune system
• restore hormonal balance in both men and women
• enhance libido and sexual function.
Controlled clinical trials over the past 20 years have confirmed many of the nutritional and healing properties of maca. For example, athletes have been using it to improve performance, and trials have shown that maca increases energy, strength, endurance and blood oxygenation.
Maca’s other benefits appear to be hormonally facilitated. Its unique nutritional profile supports the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which control all the other endocrine glands. This explains why it benefits both men and women, easing menopausal symptoms in women, improving erectile dysfunction in men, and increasing libido in both. Maca’s (indirect) support of the adrenal glands explains how it increases athletic endurance, improves the ability to deal with stress (both physical and mental), and enhances the immune system.
Side effects of insomnia, anxiety and headaches have been reported in some people. Consult a health care practitioner before using maca if you are taking antidepressants, blood thinners, digoxin, or are diabetic. And, as always: This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.