› What is it?
Maca, also sometimes called Peruvian ginseng, is an edible plant native to the mountains of Peru. It is typically grown for its root, which can be cooked like a vegetable or dried and ground into powder for use in traditional medicine.
› Health benefits
Maca has been reputed to be beneficial for low libido and to help with sexual function. However, a systematic review of studies on these topics found that more research is needed in order to draw firm conclusions about its benefits. A few animal studies have determined that maca can be an aphrodisiac.
Other studies have shown that maca may improve semen quality, help relieve symptoms of menopause and reduce enlarged prostates, but more research is needed.
› How much do I need?
Maca is considered safe, although Peruvian natives believe the root may have adverse health effects when eaten fresh and therefore recommend boiling and drying it. People with thyroid issues should be aware that maca contains goitrogens, substances that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels, and consult your pharmacist, physician or other healthcare professional before using.
› In food
Maca root powder can easily be added to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods or other foods. It has an earthy, nutty taste. It’s a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper, iron, potassium and vitamin B6. It also contains 2 grams of fiber per ounce.
› Dietary supplements
Maca root powder can be found in capsule form and in liquid extracts.
Source: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, Maturitas, Healthline
Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.