What is Maca Root?
Maca plant is a perennial root vegetable resembling radish or turnip growing about 2 inches in height and spreading about 1 foot in diameter. The maca plants’ leaves are lobed forming a rosette around the rhizome with yellow flowers at the middle. Maca has a small fruit with ovoid shape seeds.
According to wikipedia,The first person to describe this species was Gerhard Walpers who, in 1843, named it Lepidium meyenii. In the 1990s Dr. Gloria Chacon made a further distinction of different species. She considered the widely cultivated natural maca of today to be a newer domesticated species, L. peruvianum.Most botanists today doubt this distinction, however, and continue to call the cultivated maca L. meyenii. The Latin name recognized by the USDA also continues to be Lepidium meyenii. There is a still ongoing debate about the correct nomenclature, and whether the distinction between meyenii and peruvianum is botanically correct or if they are the same species.
The natural environment of the maca is at 11-12ºS latitude and at an elevation of 3800–4400 m above sea level. At this elevation, temperatures of the growing season vary between -2 to 13°C in monthly mean minimum or maximum respectively. Temperatures can decline, however, as low as -10°C and frosts are common. Strong winds and sunlight also are characteristics of the native habitat of the maca. Maca today is still mainly cultivated in Peru, in the high Andes of Bolivia, and to a small extent also in Brazil.
Chemical constituents of Maca Root Powder Extract
maca contains selenium and magnesium，and includes polysaccharides.Maca’s reported beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients; maca contains a chemical called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties. But Maca Root Powder Extract has been confirmed the most important active ingredient is Macamides.
Benefits of taking Maca Root Powder Extract supplements:
- General application
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Enhance physical endurance and strength
Improvement of memory
Boost immune system
HIV and AIDS
>Men’s and women’s health
Maca has long been used by the Peruvian natives as an energy boosting food and taken as medicinal herb that increased strength, enhanced stamina and endurance. Recently, Maca Root Powder Extract is gain popularity for its medicinal effects in male sexual performance and fertility boosting effects to women.
>>A study published in Andrologia Journal December 2002 reported the benefits and effects of maca on sexual desires for men 21 to 56 years old. The study was a 12 week double blind placebo controlled, parallel trial. Results have shown that the effects of maca on the perception of sexual desire have increased since the 8th week of treatment although there is no significant increase in testosterone level. This study confirmed the aphrodisiac effects of maca although further investigation was recommended.
>>A systematic review for the benefits of maca in improving sexual function in men and women was published in the Journal of BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, August 2010. Two randomized controlled trials suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women and healthy adult men. Although other RCT reported no significant results, further studies were recommended.
>>In the Menopause Journal, November 2008, a report has been made about the study done in School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Victoria University, Australia on the benefits and effects of lepidium meyenii (maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. Preliminary findings show that Lepidium meyenii (Maca) reduces psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, and lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.
>>In a study done in the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru and was published in the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, January 2005, reported that red maca (Lepidium meyenii) has reduction effects in the size of ventral prostate in rats. In the study, male rats are given testosterone enanthate to induce ventral prostate growth. The red maca aqueous extract has a reduction effect likewise preventing further increase in weight of ventral prostate. The study suggested the potential ventral prostate reduction
benefit from maca root extract and further study in human samples is recommended. 
- SportS Nutrition
Maca was used by troops in the Tahuantinsuyo Empire before battle as a strength aid.Carbohydrate taken immediately before exercise is believed by many to improve workout performance by supplying the muscles with the glycogen they need for high intensity exercise such as weight lifting. In addition to carbohydrate, maca root contains easily digestible high quality protein, small amounts of essential fats, and minerals such as zinc, calcium and magnesium, all of which have been shown to improve performance and reduce recovery time when taken before, during and/or after a workout.
Side effects and safety of Maca Root Powder Extract
Maca Root Powder Extract is considered safe for most people when taken in amounts found in foods.
Maca supplements and medicine preparations are considered safe when taken as directed.
There are no reported side effects for maca.
There are no sufficient studies done to determine the side effects of maca to pregnant women and breast feeding mothers. Use of maca as medicine is discouraged.
Dosage of Maca Root Powder Extract supplement:
Many people take maca at around 3 teaspoons per day for a few months to resolve their health problems.