What Is Maca Root?

The proper name for maca root is Lepidium meyenii, but it is also known as Peruvian ginseng. Although less common, some other names for it include ayak willku, ayak chichira, maino and maca-maca. As a member of the crucifer family, maca root is an herbaceous biennial. Maca root was and still is grown for its fused hypocotyl and root, which have a variety of medicinal values. Today, men throughout the world use it for its aphrodisiac abilities and also for treating erectile dysfunction.

Grown mostly high in the Andes and mountainous regions of Peru, maca has an appearance similar to a radish. Since maca root may grow as high as 15,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest-altitude plants in the world. The root vegetable is closely related to the potato family, which Peru is famous for introducing and cultivating.

The tube-like maca root typically measures between 4 and 5 centimeters in length, and the color of the root varies. There are black, purple, yellow, and pink maca roots. Supposedly, black maca root is one of the most potent forms. Black maca root is usually sold in dried powder form.

History of Maca Root

For thousands of years, native Peruvians used maca root for several health benefits. Maca root was documented as far back as 3800 B.C. At that time, the Peruvians used it mostly for nutritional benefits. Ancient warriors used maca root to improve their strength and energy before going into battle.

In about 1549 A.D., records showed that Captain de Soto, a Spanish explorer, received some maca root from Peruvian natives in Castille as an appreciation gift for his help in animal husbandry. The health benefits of using maca root were most profoundly documented in the early 1570s.

From the 1570s onward, the Chinchayochas in Peru used maca root for bartering. The people they bartered with sought maca root for its medicinal and health benefits. In the early 1840s, scientists studied maca root closely. At that time, they gave it the scientific name of “lepidium meyenii, Walpers.” The common name excludes Walpers, but that was originally added as a tribute to Gerhard Walpers, a German botanist.

In recent years, Chinese merchants hoping to make money from the root managed to smuggle Peruvian maca root into Bolivia. Since there is no ban on exporting the root from Bolivia, they brought enough back to start cultivating it in the Yunnan province. While there is no proof that their products are less potent, the maca root grown in China does not have a sweet flavor like Peruvian maca root. The shape of the Chinese root is also different.

How Is Maca Root Grown and Harvested Today?

Since maca root thrives at high altitudes, it is grown and cultivated in mountainous regions. Most maca root and maca root powder come from the Junin area of the Andes in Peru. There are several other locations in Peru growing and harvesting maca root. As previously mentioned, it is also grown in China. With China seeking a GMO patent for maca root, people who are against the use of GMOs still buy their products from Peru, where the use of GMOs was banned until 2021.

Farmers start preparing the ground for maca root growth in the spring by turning the soil. After planting the seeds in the spring, maca root farmers allow the plants to mature for about eight months. Mature roots are pulled up by hand or equipment. To yield the best crops, most maca root farmers plant for two successive seasons before leaving the ground fallow for four years. Some may sell the roots raw or dry them.

How Is Maca Root Consumed Today?

Maca root powder and maca root pills are the most common products sold for human consumption. After farmers harvest their maca root, they sell it in local markets or ship it to companies that render or sell it as raw root. Some buyers are companies that powder the root and resell it in powder form. Maca root powder is used for potions, teas, and as an additive. It is also made into maca root pills or capsules.

How Does Maca Root Work?

Maca root contains carbohydrates, amino acids, phosphorous, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, and several B vitamins. Peruvian maca root products also contain glycosides. The ingredients work as a tonic for the human body’s biochemical functions. However, the main purpose is to enhance the endocrine system’s function. This system is responsible for regulating all of the body’s glands that secrete hormones.

The effect that maca root has on hormone secretion is where its benefits in treating erectile dysfunction come in. When the body secretes hormones properly, it helps a person feel more vibrant. Sexual arousal, physical sensations felt during sexual intercourse and the emotional feelings connected to sexual activity are all heightened with the use of maca root. Since it also promotes better nervous system and brain function, maca root is a leading natural treatment for optimal overall sexual health in men.

Are There Maca Root Side Effects?

Maca root side effects are not very common, and they are usually minimal when they do exist. Since the main effect of the root is hormone stimulation, side effects such as acne breakouts may be possible. People who have existing hormone conditions that cause glands to secrete too much of a hormone may notice adverse side effects related to the overproduction of that specific hormone. Some people experienced allergic reactions from taking maca root, and the effects included rash, hives, swelling, and redness.

While not very common, some people reported having headaches or feeling an elevated heart rate after taking maca root. Reports of heartburn and stomach upset also exist, but side effects such as these are not common. The many health benefits stemming from maca root outweigh the potential of adverse side effects. Maca root’s potential for toxicity through traditional oral consumption is very low.

Who Can Take Maca Root?

Maca root is safe enough that it is sold without a prescription. Commonly marketed as a powder or pill supplement, many men with erectile dysfunction buy it and take it without noticing side effects. People also purchase it for its other health benefits without seeing side effects. While most can safely take the recommended doses of maca root supplements, it is still important to consult a physician for long-term use of the root.

People who have thyroid conditions should not take maca root because regular consumption with an existing condition may lead to goiters. When combined with a low-iodine diet, the glucosinolates in maca root taken in large amounts for an extended period stimulate goiter growth. To be safe, always talk to a personal physician before taking any herbal supplement for a long period of time.

Does Maca Root Have Other Health Benefits?

There is a wide range of maca root benefits beyond its use for treating erectile and sexual dysfunction in men. It is an adaptogen, which is a substance classification meaning something that helps the body defend itself from mental and physical weakening. Maca root may help stave off physical illnesses, depression, anxiety, and several mental disorders. In addition to this, its ability to stimulate hormone production means that it also helps produce more of the hormones that are lacking when certain mental disorders are present.

Before its popularity as a sexual enhancer, maca root was mostly sought for its overall promotion of vitality. Maca root supports pituitary and adrenal gland health, which are both vital for optimal endocrine function. Its effects on glands and hormones also mean a person taking maca root has more energy. For this reason, people use it to treat chronic fatigue.

While it is more common among male users, some women use maca root to relieve PMS or menopause symptoms. They also use it to enhance their sex drive or promote fertility. In recent years, this root also gained popularity with athletes hoping to build muscle fast. It is still used as a safer alternative to anabolic steroids by athletes.

Does Maca Root Really Work?

Yes, maca root is very potent and effective. While most men who take it see satisfactory results, not all men should expect identical outcomes. Every person’s body and health status varies, and this affects how the maca root works. As a rule, it is typically recommended for men with mild erectile dysfunction. Since it is cost-effective, natural, and safer than prescription medications, many men try it first. For men who do not see satisfactory results, there are several other natural herbs that may work.

Every man must find the natural erectile dysfunction supplement that works best with his health status and needs. A good way to determine which natural supplement may work is by reading reviews. Read plenty of maca root reviews from independent sources. Be sure to look for reviews from men with similar health issues or limitations. For example, those who have certain medical conditions may search for reviews from people with the same condition who took maca root for erectile dysfunction.

With its combined sexual and overall health benefits, it is easy to see why so many men are using maca root instead of prescription drugs. Erectile dysfunction is distressing to experience, but the good news is there are natural solutions that work and also provide additional health benefits as a bonus. Every man owes it to himself to nurture his sexual health by naturally improving it, and every man definitely deserves an enjoyable sex life.


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