Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a plant from the highlands of Peru showing promise of being similar to ginseng in improving the activity of multiple organ systems. Maca powder is from a root which grows at the elevation of 4000 to 4500 meters in the Peruvian Andes. Maca is both nutritional and medicinal. Traditional use in Peru has been to improve fertility.
Studies have shown that maca improves learning and memory in mice and is an antidepressant. It is an antioxidant and protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation. In a post-menopausal model in rats, maca improves blood triglyceride levels closer to pre-menopausal levels and may prevent bone loss.
Maca increases sperm counts and sperm motility, without changing testosterone levels. Maca improves sexual activity in men with erectile dysfunction and increases athletic performance and sexual desire. It has been shown to improve prostatic hypertrophy.
Maca is available at Rainbow Grocery in the supplement department as powder and liquid extracts and in the bulk herb department as powder. The powder can be sprinkled on cereals and is tasty when mixed with shakes or yogurt.
CONCLUSION: “The available animal toxicological studies did not indicate severe toxicity from oral intake of cat’s claw preparations…” “Some studies suggest that secondary metabolites found in maca extracts are important constituents responsible for its physiological effects.”
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