Maca root is one of the newest herbal remedies to gain attention in the natural health community. It is a superfood native to the high Andes of Peru. Maca has been revered for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.
Although it shares many characteristics with other root vegetables in the mustard family (such as radish and turnip), maca is unique biochemically. It produces a rich array of antioxidant polyphenolics and sulfur-containing ingredients that benefit our health.
Maca’s antioxidant effects extend to its role in boosting the body’s own innate antioxidants. These include the most important one of all, glutathione. Maca also boosts levels of our main antioxidant enzyme, SOD (superoxide dismutase).
Traditional uses of maca include its roles in enhancing fertility and sex drive. Modern research has rounded out this list with additional benefits based on recent studies. The main benefits so far include:
• Enhancing energy, mood, and memory
• Improving female sexual health
• Balancing estrogen levels
• Boosting mail fertility
According to a 2012 scientific review out of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, maca also protects against osteoporosis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate overgrowth), and skin damage by UV radiation.
In addition, those who regularly consume maca supplements often mention how maca makes them feel energized and more awake without getting the “jitters” that comes from caffeine.
The phenomenal diversity of its health benefits rest on its role as an adaptogen. This is a term that scientists give to certain herbs that help the body to adapt to everyday stress, including physical and emotional stress.
In other words, maca is a “balancing” herb that supports the function of our system of glands that regulate hormone control.
A 2006 study at the Charles Sturt University (Sydney, Australia) even found that maca could relieve the symptoms of menopausal discomfort. This study recommended maca as an alternative non-hormonal plant option to reduce dependence on hormone therapy programs (HRT).
The research on maca clearly points to it as a rising star among herbal supplements.