Maca root grows in the Andes Mountains of South America. Maca has been used by Peruvians as a food staple and medicine for centuries. As a food, maca powder contains significant levels of calcium, potassium, iron, and copper along with vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin and B vitamins. It is very low in cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium. It is also a good source of complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber. Maca powder is derived from the dried maca root by pounding and grinding the root, which can be used as both food and medicine.
Use maca as medicine.
As a medicine, both maca root and powder has traditionally been used to treat anemia, chronic fatigue, and to boost energy. It also enhance both physical and sexual performance as well as male and female libido by balancing hormones.
It can also be taken to enhance energy.
Recognize the different types of maca.
Maca can be purchased as a powder, as a flour, or as a supplement, usually in capsule form. You can buy it in many health food stores, nutritional stores, or from online vendors that specialize in herbs and natural remedies.
Look for organic maca root from Peru, as this is the species that has been studied the most.
Talk to your doctor about the side effects.
Maca has been used to thousands of years as a food staple. There are no known safety issues as long as you use the recommended dosing. However, you should always talk to you doctor about new things you put into your diet that you use to treat certain health issues.
Maca may interact with sildenafil and other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Make sure to check with your doctor before using maca if you are taking a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction.
Rare allergic reactions have been reported, but those are minimal and non-lethal.
Since maca root regulates hormones, it is not recommended that you take them if you are pregnant or nursing.
Even though maca is very safe, it is always recommended that you talk to your physician to be certain that maca can benefit you.
Increase libido and sexual performance.
Maca has been shown to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction. Maca may increase levels of nitric oxide, known to be important in achieving and maintaining an erection.
Maca is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is the family that broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts belong to. It is effective in reducing the effects of an enlarged prostate, which may also benefit sexual function and activity.
Animal studies have indicated that maca can also improve sexual performance and frequency of erections, though human clinical studies are not available.
Use maca for fertility and hormone control.
Maca has been studied in relation to fertility and hormone control. Maca does have some phytoestrogenic activity. This means that the phytoestrogens, which are plant substances that can function in varying degrees as human estrogens, are active in maca and may help regulate the hormones in your system.
Maca has been studied in animals with regards to increasing fertility. The results of these studies indicate that maca can increase both male sperm count and female litter size in animals, providing evidence that maca may be useful in increasing fertility in humans. It also increased both testosterone and estrogen, the male and female hormones, levels in animal studies.
Maca may be used to increase libido in post-menopausal women. Most studies have been relatively short term, and results may be seen within 6-8 weeks.
Take the right dosage for sexual health.
If you want to have sexual or hormonal benefits from maca, you need to take the right dosage. Take between 1500 to 3000 mg in divided doses daily to increase sexual interest, performance, and fertility. This amount can also act as an aphrodisiac. Take this dosage for up to 12 weeks for these benefits.
Longer term safety studies are not available, but historically, the vegetable itself has been safely consumed on a long-term basis. This means that you can likely take it longer with minimal to no side effects.
Boost your energy.
Maca is often called “Peruvian Ginseng” because of its reported energy boosting effects. In traditional herbal terms, maca is classified as an adaptogen, which means that it supports physiological properties that help restore the body’s balance after periods of stress. Adaptogens can function to support the endocrine glands and the nervous system. Adaptogens can also be nutrients and can boost overall body function.
The dosage to increase energy levels is usually 1500 mg/day in divided doses, which is typically three 500 mg capsules per day. Supplements usually can be taken with or without food.
The amount of time before the effects are seen can vary, but you should start seeing results within 2-3 weeks.
Put maca in your drinks.
Since maca comes in a powder, one of the easiest ways to use maca is to put it in things you already drink everyday. Add two to three teaspoons of maca powder to rice milk to your favorite cup of tea. It will not change the flavor very much and add all the health benefits of the maca to your diet everyday.
Make a chocolate maca drink.
You can make specialty drinks with maca in them. Try a chocolate maca monster drink, which is a great snack or dessert drink. Blend 2 to 3 tsp maca powder, 8 oz almond milk, 8 oz purified water, 1 cup strawberries or blueberries, 2 tbsp honey, and 2 tbsp of chocolate powder. Blend until combined and enjoy an energy boost that will last hours.
Blend a maca smoothie.
Maca works great in smoothies to add more nutrients to the fruits and vegetables already in the mix. For a green food maca smoothie, take 1 handful of any green you choose, such as spinach or kale, and add it to 1/2 to 1 cup of coconut water. Throw in 1 ripe banana, 1 ripe kiwi, 2 to 3 tsps maca powder, 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar, and 1 tbsp coconut butter. Blend in a blender until smooth.
Throw in some ice to make is a cold, refreshing smoothie.
You can switch out the ingredients if you don’t like kiwis or bananas. Try adding a 1/2 cup of your favorite berries or other fruit such as peaches, apples, or nectarines. Choose whatever fruit combination you like best.
Add maca to food.
Maca powder can be added to many other things. Stir a few teaspoons of it in your morning oatmeal. Add it to the base of any soup your making to add extra nutrients to the mix. Maca can be added to almost any dish, and you can also make recipes with maca as the main ingredient.
Don’t use more than a few teaspoons per serving. It might start to overpower other flavors, but use enough to get your daily boost of maca power.
Make a maca energy bars.
You can make yummy maca energy bars to eat as a snack during the day. To make these, chop 1 cup of almonds to a food processor. Add 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup flax meal, 1/2 cup pepitas, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp maca powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt to a bowl and pour in the almonds. Melt 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 coconut oil, and 1/3 almond butter in a saucepan on low until combined. Add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on an 8×8 inch pan. Spread the mixture on the pan until flat and even. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until hard.