Maca - Ancient Peruvian Superfood
by Paul E
and studied by Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D. Maca grows at an
elevation of approximately 11,000-15,000 feet making it likely the highest altitude
food-herb crop in the world. The root grows well only in cold climates with relatively
poor agricultural soils, areas where few other crops can be grown. Although mostly
cream in color, there are also red and black Maca varieties, the Peruvian cream color
being the sweetest in taste and size. Archeological data has shown that Maca was
domesticated over 2,000 years ago by the predecessors of the Incan people. Many
indigenous inhabitants of the Andes, still view Maca as a valuable commodity.

The Maca root has been used over the ages for its nutritional and herbal qualities.
Once harvested, the Maca root was traditionally dried, then powdered. Once
powdered it was either eaten or put into sacs and traded for other commodities.
Maca was used as money by ancient indigenous peoples.

For thousands of years, Maca has been known as a powerful strength and libido
enhancer. Maca is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the ability to balance
and stabilize the body's cardiovascular, nervous, musculature and lymphatic systems.

Maca has the ability to provide more energy if it is needed, but without over-
stimulating the body's systems. Adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the
body's overall vitality; this is why the Maca root is so well received in the past and
present.

According to Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D., Maca alkaloids act on
the hypothalamus-pituitary axis and the adrenals. She has theorized that by
activating these endocrine glands, Maca is able to increase energy, vitality and libido.
In addition Maca improves memory, and blood oxygenation. Maca's actions on
sexual function are better researched than its effects on mood and memory.

One study showed that Maca increased fertility in rats. I look forward to see more
studies in this area in the near future but for now I feel that the high density of this
super food is what provides the improvement in this area.

Maca is dense in nutrition, providing high quality vitamins and minerals. Dried Maca
powder is commonly available and contains 60% carbohydrates, 9% fiber, and 10%
protein or higher. It has a high lipid profile for a root plant: linoleic acid, palmitic acid,
and oleic acid are the primary fatty acids.

Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and iron, and
contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, manganese and
silica, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E. Maca contains nearly 20 amino acids and
seven essential amino acids. Maca is also a rich source of sterols, and is higher in
protein and fiber then other root vegetables.

Are there any side effects or interactions to overeating Maca? In toxicity studies
conducted in the U.S., Maca showed absolutely no toxicity and no adverse
pharmacological effects. Maca should be used in balance and moderation with other
natural foods. Maca comes in the form of a dried powder and has gained popularity in
the US and in Europe.

It is best to consume Maca in an organic root powder form. You may use a
tablespoon or more of this powder in any natural beverage or food such as
smoothies, teas, yogurts, puddings, broths, juices, coffees, homemade chocolates,
oatmeal, muffins, cookies, breads. Maca provides nice flavor to pies and pie crusts. It
is also a great emulsifier in foods bringing texture, richness and a very nice
consistency.

Maca is a powerful super-food and should be consumed in moderation. Up to two
tablespoons a day is a good start and, like every herb, I always suggest taking a
break from it for a week after about a month of consumption.

According to Marion Gray from Natural Remi-Teas:

Maca is a big hit at her store. She likes using it in smoothies and especially in hot
teas. Her customers report improvement in libido and energy, and that is what I like
to hear. We all want that extra push of energy. I, for one, use Maca periodically and
do enjoy the benefits. It is high on my list of super foods to include in my diet. I have
found it goes well with chocolate especially homemade chocolates. I love using it in
my daily shakes as well.

I have included a recipe below that is very tasteful and delicious-Enjoy! Paul E

Maca Coconut Blast Shake
by Paul E
1 tbs Maca powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbs Agave Nectar
8 oz Coconut Milk
3-4 ice cubes

Add ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth for about 45 seconds. Pour and serve.


About The Author

Paul E is a writer and researcher in the many areas of nutrition, organization and
efficient lifestyles. He has over 20 years experience in Pharmaceuticals,
Nutraceuticals and Efficiency Management. He is also an author of several books and
articles, and the founder of Carlyle Collection Publishing. Please ask about his 10
week program KISS (Keep It Sustain-ably Simple) that is designed to help individuals
implement a healthy and more organized lifestyle.  
Maca is a herb native of the high
Andes of Bolivia and Peru for
thousands of years. Maca is a
member of the cruciferous family of
plants. The plant is considered a
member of the species Lepidium
meyenii; it is a distant relative of the
tuberous root vegetable radish. The
Maca plant produces leaves that
grow close to the ground and the
plant produces a small, off-white
flower.

Maca root was first observed by a
German Botanist back in 1843 but
has been more recently recognized
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