Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

Maca, sometimes called “Peruvian Ginseng”, is an ancient food source that grows at high altitudes in the Peruvian Andes region. It is rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and sterols. [1]

Maca is an Andean root labelled as an herb. It is a starchy tuber that resembles radish or beets but tastes more like potato. Like other starches, Maca contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats and dietary fibre. It is also rich in plant sterols and is a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium and calcium. [2] [3]

In Peru, Maca is an essential part of the diet of men, women, children, infants, pregnant and breastfeeding women, elderly people and feeble or inert people. In this area, only the following two crops grow at higher altitudes: potatoes and Maca. This makes Maca one of the most common foods in Peru. People in the Peruvian Andes usually eat a half kilo of Maca a day. [2]

Maca has been showing beneficial effects for generations

According to ancient and modern Peruvian herbal medicine, it is often used to treat anaemia, menstrual disorders, menopause symptoms, to improve mental clarity, tuberculosis, stomach cancer, to gain energy and endurance, to strengthen memory, reduce stress, eliminate migraine, to improve general immune functions. It is also used as a laxative, an aphrodisiac, to help in conditions like the impotence of erectile dysfunction, to enhance fertility, as a natural hormone replacement, and as a natural alternative to anabolic steroids. [1]

Maca has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. It affects both sexes but does not work through hormones and therefore does not increase testosterone or oestrogen levels. Men complement Maca to increase sperm production. Maca strongly inhibits prostate hypertrophy, with finasteride-like activity – synthetic drugs for the treatment of enlarged prostate gland. Preliminary research also suggests that Maca protects the brain from damage, improves bone health and even improves cognitive abilities in healthy people. [2]

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Peruvian herb Maca causes a lot of uproar in its reputation for the ability to increase libido through its use. It is worshiped in the ancient Inca culture for many healing purposes. According to folk beliefs, this plant is known for its legendary ability to deliver energy, mental clarity and increase sexual desire for over 2,000 years. [2][21]

There is a lot of unofficial information about its usefulness that is passed down from generation to generation. But the scientific evidence of its effectiveness is slightly more limited. Some studies suggest that it can improve sperm quality, alleviate menopause symptoms in women and reduce prostate enlargement in men. [2]

Types of Peruvian Maca

When selecting, we distinguish several types of Macs by colour. Each Macy variety is specific in its composition and effects. We recognize these species:

Yellow Maca

Red Maca

Black Maca

Pink Maca (uncommon)

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

Yellow Maca

The powder is light-brown in colour and has a pungent taste. This variety has a unique set of benefits such as alleviating menopause symptoms and does a great job in balancing hormones in the female body. It also helps to a nice and healthy skin. [4]

Red Maca

It is considered a rare type of Peruvian root. It provides the most antioxidants of all varieties. Research has shown that this species is effective against prostate cancer and loss of bone density. Red Maca is the most disadvantageous choice if we want to achieve hormone balance, increase strength and endurance, reduce stress and relieve the symptoms of depression. [3]

Black Maca

Quite often, this variety is referred to as natural Viagra. It can increase sperm count and their mobility in men. For this reason, it may be suitable for couples who have difficulty conceiving a child. It helps build muscle mass in athletes, acts as a natural antidepressant and strengthens memory. [3]


Maca root is most commonly sold in powder form, which can be easily added to drinks, cereals, pastries and other recipes. [3] Maca may be cooked or pressed in a mixture with milk (mainly used in Peru), but it is recommended to search for recipes without cooking. Heat treatment can destroy individual beneficial substances. Maca in powder form is similar to flour and is therefore suitable as a baking additive, for making cakes or pies, or as an ingredient for various smoothies and drinks. If you don’t like this way of eating, Maca in a tablet form containing all the nutrients is a great solution. [2]

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru


Indigenous people in the Andes have been consuming Maca root for centuries, considering this “super food” to be a natural medicine with a diverse range of health uses. While root vegetables and food in the Andean diet have been known for thousands of years, Western scientists have discovered Maca only recently, as well as many benefits it can provide for women. [5]

Sexual health, improved fertility and combating the effects of menopause are just a few of the many benefits of this medicinal herb that it can offer to the female sex. For women, the benefits of regular Mac root consumption are clearly demonstrated. It benefits both men and women, but we will talk about how it can improve the quality of women’s life. The following benefits for women are now supported by modern research. [5]

1. Decrease of menopause symptoms

Maca root has been used extensively as a balancing hormone, and research shows that its high nutrient density and phytochemical content may be the basis for this purpose. Researchers evaluating herbs noted that women taking Maca root dietary supplement enjoyed reducing many of the most common symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, night sweats and depression. [5] [6] A similar study found that women taking Maca root benefit from significant relief from the symptoms associated with menopause. [7]

2. Improves sexual function

Female sexual dysfunction is dependent on many factors such as female age, lifestyle and medical / nutritional status of the primary elements. Although conventional medicine has developed pharmaceutical compositions designed to enhance sexual desire and satisfaction of women, these products are often accompanied with side effects that may create more problems than a woman previously had. [5] One study looked at Maca’s activity as a supplement to correcting sexual dysfunction in women as a result of taking SSRIs, which are commonly prescribed antidepressants. Women who underwent this study boasted an improvement in sexual satisfaction when taking the 3g dose per day. [8]

3. Aphrodisiac

No wonder that Maca’s roots have a reputation for being a powerful aphrodisiac for centuries. It is composed of minerals such as zinc, iodine and essential fatty acids. It can therefore balance sex hormones and also improve mood, making it much easier to get excited. [9]

4. Promotes good mood, alleviates depression, anxiety and stress

Research has shown that the natural fatty acids contained in foods, including Maca root, are essential to promote mood and overall brain health. [10] The fatty acids in Maca root improve brain functions that are responsible for stabilizing analytical capabilities, cognitive functions, and rational thinking. Many doctors often recommend omega-3 fatty acids as a first step towards alleviating some of the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and stress. [11] [12]

5. Increases fertility

Nowadays, infertility is an increasing problem that both women and men are facing. There is no wonder why many people today are opting for natural alternatives to improve fertility. So far, research has only addressed the effects of Maca root fertility in animals, but very promising results have been shown. The study has shown that Maca is suitable for enhancing fertility, especially in women for its ability to increase the luteinizing hormone in the pituitary gland. [13] This hormone is associated with fertility. Red Maca is the best choice.

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

6. Increased bone density, alleviated osteoporosis

Maintaining bone density is a common problem in many women, especially due to their mature age. Studies of the effect of Maca on menopause symptoms have found that it increases an important indicator associated with bone density. [14] Taking a red or black Maca could help women who have a family history of osteoporosis or those who simply want to keep their bones healthy and strong.

7. Increase in energy and sports performance

Maca is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and proteins. These nutrients naturally promote energy levels and also help in recovery from injuries and regeneration. Maca root helps build muscle and improves stamina. Numerous studies have evaluated Mac’s root in its role in athletic performance for precisely these reasons. [15] Even if you are not an endurance athlete, feel free to include this herb in your daily life. It can be an excellent way to energize your body.


Maca root is unique in that it acts differently on men and women, although some effects are the same for both genders. Although the Peruvian Maca has a long tradition of use, it has only been scientifically researched for the past 25-30 years. These studies point to several beneficial effects of Macy. A few of the effects mentioned above are equally beneficial for both men and women. Now we focus on the effects related specifically to men. Why should they eat it?

1. Increase in fertility

Peruvian Maca is the most common and longest used to support fertility of both women and men. The indigenous people of the high Andes Mountains in Peru have been using Maca root for 2000 years ago to increase fertility in humans but also in cattle. Many studies conducted in male rats confirm that Black Maca increases sperm count and motility as well as the increase in sexual desire. On the other hand, these effects have not been demonstrated with Red Maca. [16]

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

2. Prostate reduction in men

Conversely, Red Maca was confirmed to have decreased prostate weight without altering testosterone or oestradiol levels, either in mice or rats. [16] [19]

3. In erectile dysfunction

Another thing Maca can improve is blood circulation. Because Maca is also associated with an increase in libido, it can help men to overcome mild erectile dysfunction. Recent studies on the effects of Maca root on men with mild erectile dysfunction show that more than half of the patients studied have seen a significant improvement in erectile dysfunction, but also an improvement in overall sexual health. Black Maca is recommended for this purpose. [17]


We’ve talked about the fact that Maca has been used in diet and in traditional medicine for centuries. Of course, some people may be worried about whether it is safe to use Maca at all, as it is not a well-known food. Researchers, however, leave nothing to chance, and therefore several studies have been conducted on this issue. In one study, no serious adverse events were found, Maca root use was well tolerated and safe. The effects that were manifested were an improvement in mood, energy, health and a change in sexual desire. [18]

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

Maca as a charge for athletes

In addition to vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins and other valued ingredients, Maca contains 5 natural sterols: sitosterol, campesterol, ergosterol, brassicasterol, ergostadienol. Thanks to these ingredients, Maca is very effective in improving performance in sports and is increasingly appreciated by bodybuilders and active athletes of all industries. It has become a permanent part of the diet of those who care about the development of muscle strength, overall enhancement of the body’s condition and its immunity in a natural and safe way. [15]

It allows healthy and harmonious muscle development, strengthening and enhancing performance without using any harmful chemical substances. Delivers a natural, relaxed and safe effect with no side effects. [15]

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

Benefits offered to athletes:

  • strengthens the immune system,
  • adds vitality and energy,
  • reduces stress and stress associated with racing;
  • has a positive effect on the structure and endurance of the musculoskeletal system,
  • prevents excessive wear on joints and tendons,
  • increases alertness and concentration,
  • reduces fatigue and quickly regenerates power after sports performance.
  • Increases physical fitness and resistance to stress. [15]

One study conducted in male mice in connection with sports fatigue has shown that Maca can improve the body’s ability to expose to fatigue after sports performance and increase concentration. The higher the concentration, the better the fatigue resistance. [20]

Maca: super food and miracle from Peru

Another of the studies on athletes that examined endurance performance and sexual desire was on trained cyclists. The results showed improved cycling performance and sexual desire. [15]

The recommended daily dose of Maca in athletes is 1500-3000 mg per day according to individual needs. [22]

Have you heard of this miraculous herb? Or have you tried it already? Share your opinions on Maca with us in the comments. If you liked the article or think it might be helpful for your friends, support it by sharing.


[1] Willow Tohi - The unique superfood power of maca - Latest research, 2013 – https://www.naturalnews.com/042635_maca_root_superfood_sustained_energy.html

[2] Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD – The Truth About Maca and Your Libido – Can this Peruvian herb improve your sex life? – https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/the-truth-about-maca.

[3] Meyer Nick - Did You Know There Are 3 Types of Maca Each With Different Health Benefits! 2013 – https://althealthworks.com/1085/the-health-benefits-of-red-yellow-and-black-maca/.

[4] Williams Sybil, Varieties of Maca. 2015 – https://www.livestrong.com/article/169014-varieties-of-maca/.

[5] Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM – 7 Benefits of Maca Root for Women, – https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/7-benefits-of-maca-root-for-women/. 2014

[6] Meissner HO1, Reich-Bilinska H., Mscisz A, Kedzia B., - Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women - Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674976.

[7] Meissner HO1, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski J., - Use of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674952.

[8] Dording CM1, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. - A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801111.

[9] Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609.

[10] Pino-Figueroa A1, Nguyen D, Maher TJ. Neuroprotective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca). Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20633111.

[11] Parker G, Gibson NA, Brotchie H, Heruc G, Reese AM, Hadzi-Pavlovic D. Omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16741195.

[12] Rubio J, Caldas M, Davilla S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF. Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16796734.

[13] Uchiyama F1, Jikyo T2, Takeda R2, Ogata M2. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) enhances the serum levels of luteinising hormone in female rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24333960.

[14] Meissner HO1, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia I. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23675006.

[15] Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. - A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2009 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622.

[16] Gustavo F. Gonzales, - Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184420/.

[17] Shin BC1, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E., - Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691074.

[18] Gonzales-Arimborgo C1,2,3, Yupanqui I4,5, Montero E6,7, Alarcón-Yaquetto DE8,9, Zevallos-Concha A10,11, Caballero L12,13, Gasco M14,15,16, Zhao J17, Khan IA18, Gonzales GF19,20,21. - 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 (Basel). 2016 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27548190.

[19] Gustavo F Gonzales,corresponding author Sara Miranda, Jessica Nieto, Gilma Fernández, Sandra Yucra, Julio Rubio, Pedro Yi and Manuel Gasco - Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) reduced prostate size in ratsh. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC548136/.

[20] Miao H1- The Research on the Impact of Maca Polypeptide on Sport Fatigue. Open Biomed Eng J. 2015 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26998182.

[21] Gonzales GF1, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo S. - Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. 2002 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620.

[22] Aphrodisiac or waste of money? The truth about Maca root.– https://examine.com/supplements/maca/