Maca (Lepidium meyenii): An Inca super food that can energize and invigorate you.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated in the high reaches of the Andes Mountains for at least 2000 years. It holds a cultural significance to the people of the Andes, not only historically as food of wealthy Incas, but also today, as a valuable medical and nutritional resource. Due to little else growing so high up in the mountains, it is used to trade with the low lands for other essentials to their lives, such as rice and green vegetables.
As mentioned, maca is highly nutritional. It contains high amounts of protein, starch, natural sugars, fiber, vitamins, as well as iodine and iron. With so little else growing in the region, it is a vital life line for the native people of the area.
Other than being highly nutritional, maca also contains p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, a chemical associated with aphrodisiac like qualities.
Maca also contains glucosinolates, a chemical that has been found to help act as a preventative measure against cancer, (do not confuse preventative with treatment).
Finally, maca also contains phenolic and saccharide compounds, these act as antioxidants.
Effects of maca
Maca is known for quite a few effects. Those who ingest it regularly find that they feel the following benefits. Consuming maca improves and increases energy levels, balances hormone levels, improves fertility and acts as an aphrodisiac. More anecdotal, (word of mouth) effects include helping with menstrual irregularity, mental clarity, treating impotence and helping with chronic fatigue.
Preparation, dosage and use of maca.
Generally speaking, the recommended, and most standard dosage is to take 450mg of powder 3 times a day with food or drink. Dried maca root can be eaten as it is, or boiled with water into a drink or porridge. In Peru it is not uncommon to find milk, soda and jam made from maca.
There have been no toxic or negative effects found by research into the consumption of maca. It is a herbal medicine that is legal globally.
Saying this however, it is not advised that anyone suffering from thyroids conditions take maca. This is because a high amount of glucosinolates when combined with a low-iodine diet can cause goiter.