The leaves of maca are used to make tea (maca tea) and the roots are dried and ground into a powder. The powdered root contains biologically active compounds, especially macamides A & B (around 8% of the dry root weight) which will be discussed later in this article. Maca has been used for centuries for both medicinal and culinary purposes, especially in pre-Columbian cultures. It was introduced to the Western world after it was found in a Peruvian mummy's tomb discovered by archeologists in Machu Picchu, Peru in 1877.
It has often been confused with ginseng because of their similar names but they are quite different. Since maca is an Andean plant, it can only be found growing in the highlands near the Andes Mountains. At these high altitudes (between 3,000 - 5,500 meters/10,000 - 18,000 feet) there is little to no rain and therefore poor soil that prohibits other plants from growing. These conditions discourage other plants from growing because of the lack of food and water for most other species. Maca, however, thrives in these harsh conditions and grows higher than any other plant in the region. The climate in which maca is found is just one of many reasons why this plant is so acclaimed for its nutritional value.
Light and heat do not affect maca's nutritious potential during its growth period. It can grow in extremely cold temperatures without becoming damaged or dying off; it can also grow in extremely hot temperatures without losing any nutrients. Its ability to thrive under any condition makes it such a nutritious food source that people have been eating it in the Andes Mountains for centuries. Maca is a root vegetable so its nutrition comes with having a fuller meal while still being able to satisfy your appetite. It is actually able to be consumed like a vegetable since it is not a grain or bean and therefore has the ability to provide full nutrition without being overly filling.
Benefits of Maca Root
Many people choose to consume maca powder because of its versatility. It can be added to chocolate or smoothies, used in sauces, soups, or baked goods. The taste is somewhat nutty and has been compared to maple syrup. One unique aspect about maca root is that it contains more protein per 100 grams than any other food source in the world (100g of Maca contains 25 grams of protein). It's also used in dairy products, beverages, bread, snacks, cereal bars, and vegetarian sausages. It is even added to beer in its early fermentation stages. It is known for helping build lean muscle and is often used by bodybuilders. Maca has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals that gives it various health benefits. It contains seventeen amino acids, six essential fatty acids, six B vitamins, and 21 trace minerals (these are all essential nutrients that your body needs but cannot produce on its own). It also includes zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron which help contribute to the normal function of the immune system. Maca can be eaten as a food source as well as an ingredient in other prepared foods.
Maca's distinctive features include the fact that it is a good source of protein, antioxidants (vitamin C and beta-carotene), essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid), calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, beta carotene (which gives it its red color), protein, phenols, chlorophyll (which gives it a dark color), and the amino acids tyrosine and methionine. Its uniqueness also includes being the only plant grown at the high altitude of 3200m/10550ft in Peru and is now used throughout the world. The maca root has many medicinal properties that have made it an all-around useful plant. Some of them come from the fact it contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that can help people (especially athletes) increase their overall energy and stamina. The nutrients can even help people increase their libido, relieve depression, improve their sleep patterns, support their immune system as well as improve low sperm count. Maca root has also been used to lower blood pressure as well as protect against cancer cells and fight off the effects of aging on one's health. It is also used to treat infertility in women in combination with Fertility enhancers like Chanca Piedra because of its ability to balance hormones. A study done on rats showed that maca was able to increase sperm count and motility of the rodents. Maca Tonic is another great source of maca.
Maca contributes to the maintenance of the normal bone structure and is a beneficial dietary supplement for those who suffer from osteoporosis. It tones muscles, boosts energy, and helps maintain normal bone density. Weight loss in people with osteoporosis has been shown to be due to maca's effect on increasing one's energy level. Maca root has also been used as a natural remedy for dysmenorrhea (difficult menstruation). To treat it, women take maca root tea for up to four cycles before menstruating again. It can also be used to help relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS this way. Maca also helps with the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. It contains a substance in its root called chondrite, which is involved in reducing the release of acid from the stomach as well as increasing bile output. Because maca can help regulate and maintain a person's normal levels of hormones, it may be able to help those dealing with hormonal imbalances or varicose veins. Maca has also been used to treat lung disease and diabetes. To boost lung function essential fatty acids are absorbed in the lungs through maca powder. This property of maca root combined with other antioxidant properties shows promise for helping fight against bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema as well. It has also been used to treat diabetes by elevating levels of the hormone insulin. Maca has been used in angina pectoris to increase circulation and relieve chest pain. Some studies involving rats have shown that maca root can help lessen the effects of macular degeneration, a disease that slows vision loss among older adults.
Maca root's beneficial uses are only a few examples of what the tree can do for our overall health. From helping to boost energy levels and make us feel full to assisting with disorders like asthma and diabetes to even improving our eyesight, maca is a versatile plant with many uses and applications. It is a multipurpose and effective food that will benefit many people. Maca makes a great addition to anyone's diet as it helps to increase energy levels and improve overall health. It can also be taken with other supplements or medications for even more benefits. The plant is believed to have originated in the Andes Mountains of South America. It was brought from Bolivia to Peru during the middle ages in order for its roots to be used as medicine. Throughout the years, maca has been used in traditional medicine and remains an important part of the Andean culture today (known as "Peru's national treasure").
Maca is a nutritious and useful plant that is used on a daily basis in many cultures and countries across the world. I find it very interesting that, while maca is everywhere, it still remains one of the most under-utilized foods. It's been shown to provide many benefits to the human body that many people do not realize. I would highly recommend experimenting with adding maca to your diet, as its health benefits are numerous and can be life-saving. So next time you hear about this potential secret weapon for your body, I encourage you to try it out. If you still prefer your maca in a different form, I encourage you to try making your own tonic from the root. Remember, even though maca is completely safe, it is still recommended that it be taken with a little caution. If you have any concerns about how to consume maca or what its effects are then please consult the links provided throughout this article for more information. Maca is truly one of the most amazing foods that I have come across and I recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their health and well-being.
Maca originally developed in the high Andes mountains of South America growing between 3200m/10,550ft and 5500m/18000ft above sea level. It is commonly found in Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Bolivia. Maca is actually a relative of the radish family (Brassicaceae) and is most closely related to the turnip and mustard family. In fact, some people have used maca to replace their store-bought mustard. This fascinating plant grows over a large area, not only in South America but also in Japan where it has been called "Peruvian ginseng" because of its similarities to the root of the Asian ginseng plant.
Maca can be used as food as well as a medicinal herb. The benefits discovered from its consumption have led to an expansion of maca's uses worldwide and it now grows throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. In the Andes, the natives have used it for centuries and have made a domesticated crop that is consumed by many of the tribes. The Inca were well aware of its benefits as they grew it in their highlands and used it in many of their religious ceremonies. In Peru, maca has been used for thousands of years and has been referred to as "Peru's national treasure".
Today, maca is being studied worldwide due to its ability to hold benefits to such a wide variety of medical conditions. Maca is believed to have originated from ancient India, where Emperor Ashoka was known to have used it as a medicine for his soldiers. When traveling through Central America, Machado Frias found the people to be completely unaware of its merits. They believed it to be poisonous however this was not the case. The Inca and Mayans used it in many cultures and considered maca a sacred substance and gift from their gods. Today, maca remains a popular food among the Peruvian people as well as those who live in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Colombia. In Peru, it is commonly referred to as "Peru's national treasure" because of its great benefits.
Maca is listed as a food product under the Food Safety Enhancement Act (FSEA) enacted by Congress in 1990. This act, also known as the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) regulation categorizes maca as food with general recognition of safety. It is used as a food additive in the United States and Japan with uses including one or more of the following: stabilize emulsions, control acidity, and modify texture. It has not been approved for use by the FDA, however, it does fall under the category of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).
Like other root vegetables, maca is rich in minerals. The most common minerals found in maca are potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. These minerals can assist in the nourishment of bones and muscles. Other maca root nutrients are vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C as well as carotene. These vitamins help in maintaining healthy muscles, skin, and hair. It contains 8 essential amino acids which are good for building muscle mass and can also help with nervous system problems and enhance mental function. Maca's protein content may also be beneficial to people who do not have a high consumption of meat in their diets.
Maca has much anti-inflammatory action due to the presence of polyphenols such as flavonoids called macamides which give the root its characteristic taste. It also has a strong effect on the endocrine system and thus has been recommended as a tonic for menopausal women.
The endocrine system includes a number of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream to create specific effects on the human body. Hormones can be responsible for sexual maturity, growth, and other functions in humans. Maca may help treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, fatigue, lack of energy, and sleep difficulties. It is believed that maca's phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances) can help relieve symptoms of menopause by supporting the production of female hormones in women.
Maca is also used to treat symptoms of thyroid disorders. It may have a direct action on the thyroid gland to boost its function and help regulate metabolism. Maca is considered one of the best herbs for supporting healthy thyroid function.
The uses of maca vary depending on the region, culture, and taste preferences. In Peru, maca tea can be taken orally as a beverage or wrapped into patties, or served with other foods. In Chile, it is used in soups and stews while in Venezuela it is commonly added to casseroles and bread. In Ecuador, it can be ground into a powder that is sprinkled onto food or added directly to drinks or dips such as guacamole. In Japan, it is used as a seasoning in soups, sauces, bread, and confections. Different tastes of maca root can be ground into powder and mixed into various types of food such as chocolate drinks.
So how do you take it? There are many different ways that maca can be consumed. You can eat it raw or roasted, drink it fresh or concocted into tea or smoothies, or consume it by mixing it with other nutritional ingredients such as cereal and rice. With all of its incredible nutrients, you can even take maca capsules.
Maca Root Side Effects
Finally, the Maca purchase is not without danger. Although these root vegetables are not typically harmful, they can cause harm if taken in excess. According to studies, the side effects of maca include dizziness, headaches, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that is affected by your hormone levels, it is best to consult with your doctor before taking maca root. If you experience any of these mild side effects, you can reduce your intake until your body adjusts to its consumption.
Maca Root for PCOS or Hypothalamic amenorrhea
In case you are nourishing your body with a diet plan low in calories, maca root can be valuable if you are looking to regain ovulation. It is rich in nutrients that help energy levels for women who have low estrogen levels which is common in women with PCOS or hypothalamic amenorrhea.
It has diuretic properties that can help purge the body of excess water, and improve hormonal situations. Some of the symptoms alleviated by maca include anxiety, depression, fatigue, hot flashes, and mood swings. Maca can also stimulate endocrine system activity which helps regulate metabolism responsible for providing energy to our bodies at all times.
Maca Root Effect on Your Brain
Maca root is rich in phytoestrogens which help in improving the nervous system and boosting mental function. Through phytoestrogens, maca root helps with creating new brain cells which can alleviate the symptoms of AD (Alzheimer's Disease) or age-related dementia. For people with depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), stress-related disorders, and memory deficits maca root may provide a much-needed boost of mood-enhancing elements to your overall health.
Maca Root for Men
Men experiencing a lack of libido and poor sperm quality may benefit from taking maca root which is rich in nutrients beneficial to the reproductive system. Maca contains male hormones responsible for the production of sperm in men. It also contains the same hormone that helps women during their menopausal stages. The phytoestrogens in maca can also help create new brain cells which are responsible for boosting a man's memory and mental function.
Maca Root for Women
While maca root typically does not have noticeable effects on women, it may assist in improving vaginal lubrication and the blood flow through the reproductive organs which can create better conditions for a successful pregnancy. It also has diuretic properties beneficial to maintaining vibrant-looking skin and hair. Maca Root Benefits:
• Boosts energy levels. • Improves moods. • Helps with bloating, flatulence, and fatigue. • Improves sexual function during menopause. • Stimulates the endocrine system. • Boosts mental capacity and brain function. • Helps with hormone regulation. • Improves digestion problems thanks to its diuretic properties.
• High in nutrients. • Enhances fertility and reproductive health in women and men.
Maca Root Dosage
Another thing to consider is that not everyone can tolerate the same amount. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right amount that works for your body, so start small and work your way up. For example, take 1 teaspoon of powder daily for a week before increasing your intake by one teaspoonful daily every week until you find the right amount. You may also try just 250mg of maca extract capsules and then increase as needed.
The most common dosage is 500-1,000mg taken about 30 minutes before meals as a food supplement. This dosage should only be considered for short-term use (less than 4 months). It can be consumed in pill or powder form. Dosage should not exceed 5g/day.
You can also use maca powder to make smoothies, tea, and food. For example, make a smoothie with 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of maca powder. You can also mix the powder with wheatgrass juice or just eat it as it is. I recommend always taking maca in tea form for better absorption of the nutrients into your system, however, you can also take it by itself as a supplement to your diet if you can't stomach the bitter taste of the raw root.
Pregnant women and those nursing should not take maca root extract without discussing any medically necessary concerns with their physicians before taking any herbs or supplements.