Maca is slowly beginning to permeate the consciousness of people in the West nowadays, even as the people of the Andean regions of South America have been aware of these benefits for quite some time.
Maca is an herbaceous biennial or annual plant posessing radish-like roots that is native to the high altitudes of the Andes mountains in Peru and Bolivia. Maca is cultivated its fleshy hypocotyl /root that is used both as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb.
Related to the turnip and the radish, maca has green and fragrant tops that lie along the ground. It has thin leaves in rosette s that are located at the soil surface. It possesses off-white colored flowers and fruits that contain small, reddish-gray seeds. Maca has a fleshy hypocotyl that is fused with the taproot forming an inverted-pear-shaped body.
Maca has gained the nickname of “Peruvian ginseng” as it has been used in Peru as a folk remedy to enhance stamina, energy, and sexual function.
Maca is prepared and consumed in several ways in Peru. The freshly harvested maca hypocotyl is often roasted and is eaten as a delicacy. The maca roots are often mashed and boiled, producing a sweet, thick liquid that is dried and combined with milk to form a porridge. It may also be combined with other vegetables or grains to produce a flour that can be used in baking. The maca leaves can also be cooked or eaten raw as in salads. Leaves can also be boiled to make tea.
The maca root is found to be high in minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc), sterols, essential fatty acids, lipids, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids.
Maca root tea is usually made by combining an herbal tea base with ground maca powder. After preparing a cup of hot herbal or black tea, add a teaspoon of the ground maca roots and stir. Milk or honey can often be added for enhanced taste and flavor.
Some of the following the health benefits which are attributed to maca tea:
- Maca tea may help increase the sexual urge and endurance. It is said to help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
- Maca tea may help enhance the fertility rates of men and women. It is said to help increase production of sperm.
- Maca tea is said to help in increasing the body’s strength and vitality.
- Maca tea may help relieve the symptoms of menopause.
- Maca tea may help hormonal imbalance in men and women.
- Maca tea is said to help in raising the body’s resistance to diseases.
- Maca tea is said to contribute to improved emotional well-being.