Lifestyle & Nutrition <<back
Maca lepidium Meyeni
Marijke Vogel, MCIA, MIFA, MGNI, MIAIM
Recent research on an increasingly popular herb, not only for male and female problems, but also to help those suffering from CFS, exhaustion and ME.

This plant has received a lot of press lately particularly in the States where it has been hailed as a powerful aphrodisiac. The root grows high up in the Andes of Peru, 4000 to 4300 metre above sea level, in the coldest regions, where no other edible plant can be cultivated or grown. In order to collect these roots the farmers have to endure the bitterest, the most hostile and freezing weather conditions. They are used to it and do it happily as they are aware of the power hidden in these roots.

Archaeologists discovered these roots, which have been used for centuries before pre-Hispanic times. Old pictures found in tombs depict the consumption of the root by the male population, to help sustain them and survive the hostile environment in the glaziers and icy deserts. Due to the root's richness in calories, sugars, minerals, vitamins and mysterious molecules, it was discovered that it was able to help the reproductive system in humans and animals.

A farmer noticed that a large group of llamas (as well as pigs, goats and other animals) were unable to produce offspring. After the Spanish invasion they seemed to have become barren, they were scrawny, lethargic and weak, when he began to feed them Maca roots. Within a very short time they regained their strength and were able to produce baby llamas, and the same effect was experienced by the human population, as the root enhances the libido in both males and females. The root's power seems to be increased by the freezing temperatures, the altitude and the sun's rays. The locals consume the roots on a daily basis as part of their staple diet. They are highly nutritious, and rich in minerals, carbohydrates and protein.

The rest of the world has, by and large, ignored this small powerful root which looks like a larger version of the well-known common radish. The colours range from white, yellow, red, grey and purple depending on the region. It is part of the family of cruciferous vegetables. They call it the Andean ginseng.

Plant family: Cruciferous
The chemical constituents are alkaloids, tannins, glucosides, sterols, phyto-sterols, polysaccharides and P-methoxybenzyl-isothiocynate. Vitamins such as the B family, B1, B2,B12, Vitamins C & E, Minerals such as Calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, Iodine. It is also rich in Amino Acids.

The therapeutic actions of the herb are;
1. Aphrodisiac
2. Anti-ageing, (endocrine, skin)
3. Anti-debility
4. Anti-exhaustion
5. Anti-depressant
6. Anti-stress
7. Emmenagogue
8. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
9. Fertility enhancer
10. Hormone balancer
11. Immuno-stimulant
12. Laxative (very mild)
13. Nutritive
14. Restorative, effect on the endocrine, nervous and digestive system.
15. Steroidal (balances testosterone progesterone and oestrogen levels)
16. Tonic

The roots are collected in June and July, under diabolical temperature conditions; temperatures are often below 10 C and accompanied by hail and thunder storms.
The roots are stored in dry and dark conditions for about 45 days. They are cleaned and packed hygienically and keep for several years. In the first year of life the Maca plant does not produce flowers or fruits.

Is Maca a fruit or a vegetable?
The reason the root is called a fruit in Peru is that a portion of it is grown above the ground. The rays of the sun on this high level, where the Maca plants grow are so much stronger, as in ultraviolet rays as there is less filtering. The infrared rays give heat to the cold heart of the earth, the rays are solely directed at the solid objects within the earth, and are not absorbed by the atmosphere.

The rays of the sun are cool on this level. As the distance to the sun is much closer the light of the sun is colder in higher regions then at sea level. The rays of the sun are very important to help our vital functions; without the sun we cannot produce vitamin D.

Green plant life needs a certain amount of the rays of the sun for the process of photo synthesis. Without this their biological function would be inadequate.
Too much sun on the skin is adverse, as we are constantly reminded, and can produce skin cancer. The sun should be respected and a certain amount of caution should be employed, but is should not be totally avoided as it helps strengthen the pituitary and pineal gland. (A lot of the time a bad reaction to the sun can be the result of certain drugs circulating in the bloodstream).

Due to all these adverse conditions under which the plant is obtained it very nearly came to extinction. Now Maca is actively cultivated due to its increasing and revived popularity. Recent research indicates the properties contained within the root are indeed a powerful aphrodisiac.

The demand for the herb is immense in the US. And it is becoming popular in the rest of Europe, not only for the obvious reasons, but also due to its ability to restore strength and energy to chronically exhausted patients such as those suffering from ME. Women suffering from adverse effects caused by the menopause have also reported a reduction in associated symptoms ranging from depression, hot flushes and a lack of sex drive, the same applies to men who suffer from diminished potency and a lack of drive and erectile dysfunction caused by age or diet.

The entire endocrine system is balanced byMaca. The pituitary gland is stimulated in such a way that it responds to the needs of the person at whatever stage in life, balancing the hormone system where necessary, helping the ovaries, thyroid, adrenals, pituitary and testicular hormones. The root also helps women suffering from the unpleasant effect of PMS. Furthermore the roots are used by a variety of athletes who take the herb in order to prolong their endurance particularly for long distance running, finding it to be far more beneficial than the other harmful stimulants used in the past with their known side effects.

© Copyright Wholistic Research Company 2001
    Click here for additional copyright information.
Links to Related Articles...
Guidelines for choosing your course of treatment : Orthodox or Alternative?
Health Tip ~ Biology versus Chemistry
Herbal Medicine and Natural Healing
Herbal Medicine FAQs
Herbalism & The Use of Herbs
Immune System (Part 1)
Lungs
Psoriasis
Quick Result Not Always Possible
The Effects of a Stressful Environment : Toxic Residues


Back to previous page
references to follow very soon
John Morley, Editor
December 2001