Maca is a turnip-like plant native to the Peruvian Andes mountains grown largely for its root, which has adaptogenic properties. It provides long-lasting energy, fight stress and fatigue, strengthens and balances the body’s hormonal and endocrine systems, and increases fertility and libido, all without being a stimulant. Maca is also rich in minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium), polysaccharides, fatty acids, and is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids.
Maca comes in three main colours – yellow (the most common), red and black. They are slightly different in their chemical components and physiological effects. In comparative studies, black maca appears to be most beneficial for spermatogenesis and also has neuroprotective effects. Red maca, which has the highest amount of amino acids, has been found to be very helpful in boosting stamina and handling stress. It may also reduce prostate size. Yellow maca is most prominent for its aphrodisiac and mood-enhancing effects. It is also helpful in dealing with symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes.
Maca can come in the form of raw or gelatinised. Some believe that raw maca is hard to digest (as would eating other raw cruciferous roots) and the active components are less bioavailable to the body. To make gelatinised maca, maca is heated under pressure to remove all starch content. This is believed to make maca more easily digestible, nutrient-dense, and the active components more bioavailable and potent.
Maca offers a strong aroma with a smokey bitter butterscotch flavour. Its unique taste may be pulled in both sweet and savoury directions. It is usually sold as powder or tinctures.« Back to Glossary Index