Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii) - Facts, Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Facts

It is a very spread plant in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina.

Its scientific name is Lepidium meyenii, known as the Peruvians ginseng although it is not from the same breed as ginseng, maca being a representative of the mustard breed.

It is a vegetable similar to the radish, a plant related to the potato and it has a tuberculous and spherical form. The diameter of the actual root is somewhere between 3 and 6 centimeters and a length of 4,7 centimeters.

There are four acknowledged types of maca root, depending on the color of the root, which can vary from a cream or light pink color up to dark purple or even black.

Nutritional profile

In dry form, contains 60% carbohydrates (starches and sugars), 9% fiber and slightly more than 10% protein. Dry, it has a higher content of lipids (fats) than any other root plant (2,2%), of which the essential fatty acids are linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid.

Also, it is a rich source of plant sterols, including sitosterol, campesterol, ergosterol, 19 amino acids, vitamins B and E, fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (Omega 3) and oleic acid (omega 9).

The mineral content of this root exceeds in nutrition value potatoes and carrots, being the main source of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iodine.

Health benefits and uses of maca root:

It has fungistatic, bacteriostatic, anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties, improving your entire energy system, stress resistance, memory, learning and allowing to maintain healthy teeth and bone resistance.

Adaptogenic properties

It is known that this plant has adaptogenic properties.

Adaptogenic plants help organisms to increase their stress resistance, no matter if the nature of stress is physical or effective. Natural herbal integrators help to normalization of body functions, especially the endocrine function of the adrenal gland.

Natural hormones

Our endocrine (glandular) gland controls and regulates the body by releasing hormones, chemical messengers that influence all our body functions.

The root of this plant is a powerful natural hormone but essentially does not contain hormones. The high concentration of nutrients, including phytosterols, feeds directly the endocrine system and creates optimum conditions for its operation.

This makes maca root to have the reputation of energizing food. The root is effective in restoring the adrenal function, thyroid and pancreas normalization treats hypoglycemia, increases thymus mediated immunity and optimizes reproductive hormone activity.

Increases libido

The use of this plant for sexual stimulation increased, both men and women discovering its benefits.

Reduces cholesterol

In the composition of this root, there are many minerals, vitamins, 18 amino acids (including 8 of the 9 essential amino acids) and sterols, known for their ability to reduce intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

Eases the menopausal symptoms

Researchers found that women who took supplements of it improved their symptoms associated with menopause, premenstrual syndrome.

The hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats are rare for women who use this herb.

Increases energy

Like other adaptogen plants, it also stimulates natural cause of the adrenal gland and increases energy. Adaptogen plants give support to the adrenal glands and cause no exhaustion as other CNS stimulants such as caffeine. Simultaneous, this plant increases vitality and endurance.

Reduces the symptoms of sexual dysfunction

The various symptoms of sexual dysfunction in men and women can be relieved of it. Clinical studies show that this plant improves sperm production, motility, semen volume in men and increases libido in both sexes.

It increases erectile tissue sensitivity and also improves mood, reduces anxiety, both factors having a positive effect on sexual desire. That is why this root is sometimes referred to as “natural viagra.”

Muscle growth

Researchers found that athletes use this root as a natural alternative to anabolic steroids in order to increase the muscle mass.

Doctors have found that this plant contains no chemicals or other toxins that interfere with hormone production of the body, which makes it an effective product for muscle growth. It is used as a healthy alternative to steroids used to increase athletic performance.

Hypertension

Reduces the diastolic blood pressure, this being beneficial for those who suffer from hypertension.

Regulates metabolism

It has proven effective in regulating metabolism, allowing the body to naturally produce stable energy instead of temporarily energy due to strong incentives.

Other benefits

The extract from this plant protects against UV irradiation. Also, for those suffering from depression, it improves resistance to stress and decreases anxiety. It has an important role in improving sperm quality, strengthen bones and immune system.

What is the recommended daily intake:

The root is used as a food ailment and it is consumed in cooked form.

It can be included in the regular diet as a natural adjuster of appetite. For its preparation as a food supplement, we have to use a certified formula.

Typically, the supplements come in a capsule or in powder form; powder from this plant may be raw or boiled.

The dose that is intended to be used is recommended by your doctor – usually, it is indicated after starting treatment with a lower daily dose, which gradually increases until it reaches the optimal dose for some time. In this way, the body will adapt to the rich nutrient without any perturbation.

Side effects and contraindications of maca root (Lepidium meyenii):

It may have a negative effect on people suffering from thyroid disorder or those having a low diet in sodium. In this case, people can show forms of allergies and rashes associated with fatigue.

Consumed in too large quantities, can also cause accelerating heartbeats, feeling hot, excessive sweating or may intensify the menstrual flow. The plant is contraindicated in hypertensive patients and pregnant women.

When combined with caffeine-based products may produce “hyperactivity”. It is likely to cause the development of insomnia. It is not recommended to use food supplements based on this plant with other supplements.

 

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