The South American medicinal plant called Maca is well known to all those who take an interest in natural health products. To the general public, it remains relatively obscure, but this is changing. You might also hear it described as Peruvian ginseng. Its natural environment is high up in the Andes Mountains. People eat the root of the plant, or they grind it into powder. You can find it in this form, a liquid extract, or in capsules sold in health food shops.
High blood pressure is a common health issue across the developed world. The pressures of contemporary urban life, work and travel are all factors involved. It is hard to change this environment, but perhaps some maca can help bring blood pressure down? Studies show Natives populations who use this plant suffer less from high blood pressure problems. It is particularly rich in potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. It is also possible that other factors in the genes and diet of people in these areas help keep their blood pressure low, so further studies are necessary.
The vitamins and minerals found in maca contribute to creating a healthy diet plan. The plant is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, and E. It also contains good quantities of iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. In particular, those on vegetarian or vegan diets will benefit from the protein found in maca. For example, in a single ounce (28 grams) you find 20 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein with 85% of copper RDI (recommended daily intake) and an amazing 133% vitamin C RDI.
There are legitimate concerns over the side effects of over-use of anti-depressant drugs. Many would welcome a natural product alternative to laboratory drugs. There is some evidence that maca has a positive effect on the mood. While we still lack conclusive proof, it seems that this plant helps to moderate feelings of anxiety and depression. Studies done on rats indicate that maca might have an antidepressant role.
Athletes are amongst those who take a keen interest in the energy-boosting potential of maca powder. One study found that it helps long-distance cyclists improve their time. It does seem to improve endurance capabilities and exercise performance but claims that it helps muscle mass and increases physical strength are unsubstantiated. Individuals are free to try for themselves and see if they notice a marked improvement in their athletic performance before or after using maca powder.
Most people now know about the dangers of over-exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Producers of all kinds of sun lotions make a good income from catering to the need of protective measures. Studies on rats suggest it enhances protection against damage from ultraviolet rays, but it is not powerful enough to make it safe to rely on maca powder alone. Only people who apply maca externally can expect it to help in this area – there are no similar benefits for those who eat the root or its powder.
Students take a keen interest in possible ways of boosting their exam performance. In Peru, some parents give their children maca in the belief that it enhances their intellectual abilities, so they do much better at school. Scientists have experimented with rats to see if a dose of maca improves their memory. Results suggest that it might help. Maca comes in various colors with the black variety delivering the most noticeable memory improvements in the scientific experiments.
For thousands of years, people have sought natural products that improve fertility. Believers in the efficacy of maca claim that the chances of pregnancy increase if both partners take maca. One of the ways it makes pregnancy more likely is by increasing sperm counts and sperm mobility. No one confronting fertility problems should pin all their hopes on maca offering some magic solution. It requires much more research to clarify to what extent, if any, it really can help. However, pregnant women should avoid maca.
There is no dispute that maca powder is very rich in protein. One estimate says that it contains five times as much protein as potatoes. Consequently, natural health experts argue that a regular intake of maca boosts immune systems. Thus, it can help the body to repair damaged tissues. It also increases resistance to many kinds of illnesses from the common cold to potentially life-threatening diseases. So, in addition to the traditional an apple a day, maybe we should speak of how a tablespoon of maca powder a day keeps the doctor away.
Hopes of an easier menopause encourage women of a certain age to add maca powder to their diet. Believers in its potency argue that it helps counteract the attacks of anxiety and mood swings woman suffer from during this period. Many are concerned about using laboratory-manufactured drugs at this time, so an organic alternative is certain to appeal. In a related context, some believe that maca also helps women achieve a better-balanced emotional state during menstruation. Only those with heart issues need to be cautious about using it, even in very moderate amounts.
The advocates of a wider use of maca powder draw attention to how it can improve both bone density and strength. In this way, it might prevent individuals at risk from developing osteoporosis. The high levels of vitamins it contains are essential to healthy bone development. In particular, it is a valuable source of the calcium vital to a strong bone structure.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.