Maca Root Powder (Lepidum mayenil)
Maca (Lepidum meyenii) is an ancient and revered adaptogen and aphrodisiac treasured by a plethora of indigenous peoples living in the Andean mountains of South America. Hand-gathered and eventually cultivated for over 6,000 years maca is known as a "Superfood" due to its reputation for providing a wide variety of health benefits.
Though it is believed that maca was cultivated as early as 4000 BC it was most likely fully domesticated between 1200 and 100 B.C. by the Pumpush, fierce warrior tribes that migrated up from the jungles. It continued to be cultivated throughout the Andean highlands and was brought to greater perfection by the Yaro peoples, who arrived in the Andean highlands between 1100 and 1470 AD and cultivated immense fields of maca. Following the Inca conquest of these tribes great quantities of maca arrived in Cusco as tribute to the new rulers. Much of it was fed to Inca troops to increase their vitality and fortitude. Maca even made its way to Europe after the Spanish conquest of the New World.
The Andean maca are thought to be especially nourishing because they grow in high-altitude habitats, up to 15,000 ft above sea level. According to folk belief, maca is an aphrodisiac, enhancing sexual drive and female fertility in humans and domestic animals*. Maca is also reported to increase energy and vitality*. Other health benefits attributed to maca include the management of daily stress and support of healthy mood changes*, hormonal secretion*, metabolism*, and memory*.
The chemical composition of maca supports its reputed benefits as a food supplement. In addition to alkaloids and sterols, maca contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential to sustained energy and healthy bodies. The nutritional value of the dried root resembles that found in cereal grains such as maize, rice, and wheat. Our Maca 0.5% glucosinolates has 50-100 times the glucosinolates of broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, making it a true superfood!
Glucosinolates are just one of the constituents in maca that might have biological activity translating into desirable attributes. Maca root contains free sugars, amino acids, sterols, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, uridine, imidazole alkaloids (lepidiline A and lepidiline B), isothicyanates, malic acid, macaenes, macamides, macaridine, phenyl acetonitrile, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and m-methoxyglucotropaeolin.
The traditional "panchamanca" method to prepare the roots for eating was to cook them in a pit dug into the ground. The fresh roots were laid on the bottom and hot ashes from burnt sod were placed on top with layers of ashes and roots as fill. This they called "huatia". The Inca also made "atunca" by boiling, mashing, and rolling it into balls and cooking it in clay pots lined with straw. A traditional porridge ("mazamora") described as "sweet and aromatic" was made by cooking dried maca root in milk or water. Peruvian cooking still features maca root in everything from empanadas to preserves and pudding.
Today maca's uses are quite varied. Its most popular use on the international market is in capsules, but maca's diversity cannot be understated because it is also an excellent ingredient in concoctions both sweet and savory.
For all of maca's amazing history and its indubitable service to humans, it is shocking to learn that as late as 1992 it was listed as an endangered species. In 1979 the Peruvian Dept. of Agriculture found only 70 acres of maca under cultivation in the entire country! Careful seed harvesting and the resourcefulness of dedicated native people have protected it from extinction. These families are owed an insurmountable debt for their dedication to the preservation of this astounding, health-supporting crop. Since the 1980s maca cultivation has been rising slowly, and now there is a true renaissance afoot. New life is being breathed again into the soils of the high Andes as the secrets of this lost root are being revealed around the world.
Directions: 1 to 3 teaspoons per day.
If using prescription medications, seek the advice of a health care professional before using this product. Not to be taken during pregnancy or if breastfeeding. Not for use by persons under the age of 18 years. Keep out of reach of children.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease.