(NaturalNews) There are many plants and herbs that are able to affect libido in both men and women. However some of those plants, such as yohimbe, have negative side effects such as raising the heart rate and increasing blood pressure. Thanks to recent research done on a Peruvian plant, we now have a safe alternative for increasing libido and sexual function in men and women. During our rediscovery of this superfood, we find maca to be packed full of nutrition and a great alternative for libido enhancement.
History Maca has been grown and cultivated in the Peruvian Andes of South America for nearly 2,600 years. Maca is grown for its root, and is a member of the cruciferous family of plants. Maca closely resembles a radish in shape, yet is slightly larger in size. Maca is grown in an altitude of 9,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. This makes maca the highest altitude crop on earth.
Traditional Andean shamans used maca to increase fertility in both animals and humans. Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the Spanish noticed their livestock were doing poorly in the desolate highlands. Andean natives suggested that both the Spanish and their livestock consume maca. Apparently the results were remarkable since some of the first written Spanish records of the Andes were on the subject of maca.
Libido Dr. Gloria Chacon de Popovici published her first study of maca's effect on animal fertility in 1961. Her research determined that maca increases fertility in rats, dogs, guinea pigs, rams, cows, and humans. She suggests that maca has been shown to act on the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, and the adrenals. She theorized that by activating these areas in our endocrine system maca is then able to increase libido, energy, and vitality. The activation of these systems allows us to produce higher levels of testosterone, progesterone, and DHEA. In turn this is also beneficial for the balancing of hormones in both men and women.
While Dr. Chacon was doing her research and feeding maca powder to rats, she discovered that male rats had increased sperm counts and motility rates, and the female rats showed multiple egg follicle maturation. The effects were shown within seventy-two hours upon feeding the rats maca. The effects on humans are similar. This research indicates that maca is a superfood capable of increasing fertility and can be extremely useful for those trying to conceive a child. Maca has also been shown to help women produce more breast milk after pregnancy.
Maca is also an adaptogen. Adaptogens help our bodies to adapt to stress. It is well known that the stresses of life have a serious effect on libido in both men and women.
Nutritional Profile Maca powder is approximately 10 percent protein. The protein in maca contains twenty amino acids and seven of the eight essential amino acids. Although not a complete protein, maca is an excellent source of hormone precursors and amino acids.
Maca has a lipid content of about 2.2 percent which includes linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. Maca is also a good source of sterols. Sterols have been shown to have immune enhancing properties.
Maca is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, sodium, and iron. Maca is also a great source of the trace minerals zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, bismuth, manganese, silicon, and tin.
Maca also contains vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Maca is truly a power packed superfood that is beneficial for both libido and nutrition. In order to achieve best results, consume between 2 to 6 tablespoons of maca powder daily.
Superfoods: The Food And Medicine Of The Future, By David Wolfe, Pub 2009
About the author
Brett Brown is a contributing journalist with a strong desire to help others receive factual information in the health industry. He also writes for and updates his own blog on a regular basis which can be found at: http://rawhealthforce.blogspot.com