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The Origins and Benefits of Maca Root
Maca root - Lepidium Meyenii - has been renowned for its medicinal benefits for thousands of years. Grown in the Peruvian Andes, this super vegetable has attracted a lot of mainstream attention in recent years, which has fuelled its popularity. But what are the precise origins and benefits of maca root? Let’s find out.
Where does maca root come from?
The maca root is native to the Peruvian Andes and is grown at heights of more than 4,000 metres. Andean farmers have cultivated maca for 2,000 years and have long been aware of its various medicinal benefits. Traditionally, maca root was enjoyed as a type of food, as it’s classified as a cruciferous vegetable and is a relative of broccoli and cauliflower. The Andeans used maca root as a key ingredient in a fermented drink or porridge, which they then used to treat certain respiratory conditions. Today, maca root is grown in many other countries in the world, notably in Yunnan Province in China.
What are the benefits of maca root?
Maca root is rich in a range of bioactive compounds, including alkaloids and glucosinolates. Research suggests that it’s these bioactive compounds that are responsible for the vegetable’s various health benefits, which include:
Enhanced mood and energy
Researchers have long believed that maca root can improve mood and increase energy levels. Numerous small studies have found promising results, particularly helping those living at low or high altitudes. Thanks to the energy boost it provides, we have included maca root in our popular Immune Health Supplement, alongside other ingredients.
There is some evidence to suggest that maca root may help people who have low sexual desire. For instance, a 2015 study discovered that prescribing 3,000 mg of maca root for three months helped improve the sexual function of women who had been taking antidepressants. However, the evidence is limited and requires further study to be conclusive.
Studies have also shown that maca root can potentially improve sperm concentration in males. Compared with a placebo treatment, taking 2 grams of maca daily for 12 weeks enhanced semen concentration in some men significantly. In fact, this study found that after eight weeks of treatment of 1.5 and 3g of Maca, subjective scores of sexual desire increased by 40% and 42% respectively, amongst a cohort of healthy men aged 21-56 years old. Again, further study is required before making any groundbreaking announcements about maca’s role in male fertility.
How long does it take for maca root to work?
It typically takes maca root between six and twelve weeks for its results to show. Regardless of how you take it, being consistent with your dose is crucial if you want to see the benefits. The multiple studies that have been conducted into maca root’s effectiveness have all shown results around the three-month mark.