The Maca root, also known as Ginseng Andin, Maca Peruvien, Lepidiun meyenni, Ginseng Peruvien, Maca-Maca, and Ayuk Willku, is a herbaceous biennial plant that grows in Central Peru. It grows particularly in the plateaus of the Andes mountains. Even though the Maca plant was unheard of by many a few years ago, it is becoming very popular today because of its uses as a medicine herb by humans.
What Exactly is the Maca Root?
The top part of the Maca plant that grows above the ground typically has about 10 to 20 branch-like leaves and grows closely to the ground. The root, which looks more like a turnip and referred to as the hypocotyl, is the part of the plant that is particularly used by humans. The hypocotyl is fleshy and has a variety of colors such as cream, red, purple, and black. The cream-colored root is highly preferred in Peru because of its sweet taste, while the darker colors contained high amounts of iodine and have other uses. The Maca root is about 3 to 5 centimeters wide and about 10 to 14 centimeters long and is particularly important to humans because of its many medicinal uses.
How has the Maca Root been used by Humans?
Over the years, the Maca root has been scientifically proven to help humans stay healthy or improve their overall health in numerous ways. Some of the ways by which humans used the Maca root are:
1. Food: The Maca roots have been used extensively in Peru and parts of South America by the Natives where it is believed that the root possesses high nutritional and health value. It is also believed that whoever consumes the root on a regular basis reaches old age full of energy and good health. The root is used as food and prepared in several ways such as roasted, boiled and mashed to produce a paste which can be combined with milk to form a porridge, soups, jams, and even drinks. The root can also be dried and stored for several years in the dehydrated form.
2. Increases energy and reduces stress: The Maca root is very rich in nutrients such as carbohydrates, fiber, protein, iron, amino acids, fats, magnesium, vitamins, etc. As such, it is one of the main reasons humans consumed this miraculous root to help support the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems. It also increases a person’s energy level as well as help alleviate his or her stress.
3. Improves sexual function: The Maca root is believed to increase the libido in both men and women. It is believed that the sterols in the herb blocks the production of estrogen and boost testosterone level. It also helps males with erectile dysfunction. According to a clinical trial study involving 50 men suffering from erectile dysfunction, half of the men were given dried Maca extract while the balance was given a placebo. After 12 weeks, the 25 men who had intake the Maca extract experience a significant increase in their erectile performance.
4. Reduce prostate enlargement/cancer: Maca extract is used significantly to help reduce prostate enlargement. This is particularly true for red Maca which has high levels of glucosinolates which are excellent at preventing certain cancers.
5. Menopause: Maca root extract is used by women to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause. The glucosinolates in this herb stimulates the body to regulate the hormone levels thereby reducing hot flashes, night sweats, depression, and other menopause-related symptoms. The red Maca is particularly used for reducing hot flashes due to its high level of nutrients compared to the other varieties.
6. Fertility: Maca root has been scientifically researched and used by humans to improve fertility since 1961. The alkaloids in Maca roots are responsible for this by balancing the hormone levels since high or low levels of estrogen can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant and can lead to miscarriages. Consuming Maca root extract aids in a healthy pregnancy. It also increases healthy sperm production in men.
7. Improves memory and learning ability: The black Maca root has been used by humans for improving memory and enhancing learning ability.
8. Osteoporosis: The red Maca has been used by humans to effectively treat osteoporosis. This is due to its high level of antioxidants than the other varieties.
Watch: Maca Root Is A Superfood
How to Use Maca Root?
The Maca root is available in powder, capsules or liquid form and comes in various strengths. The powdered form of the Maca root is available in the regular Maca powder form or the gelatinized form. The latter form is easier to consume than the first. The suggested dosage ranges from 500-3000 mg per day and should not be consumed if pregnant.
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