(NaturalNews) Maca (Lepidium mayenii), also known as Peruvian ginseng, is a favorite herb in South America to increase sexual desire in both men and women. It only grows high in the Andes mountains in Peru. While traditionally prepared as a root vegetable similar to radishes, maca is used primarily in powder form in the U.S. Organic maca root powder is added to protein shakes or taken in capsules or tablets. Maca appears to be a scientifically proven aphrodisiac. The herb enhances both male and female libido and even relieves some post-menopausal symptoms with no apparent negative side effects.
Maca is proven to enhance male sexual desire without affecting male sex hormone levels
In 2001, the Asian Journal of Andrology published a study indicating that in men, maca improved seminal volume, sperm motility (the ability to move spontaneously), and sperm count. Nine adult men in their twenties through forties took either 1500mg or 3000mg maca for four months. Sexual hormone levels were tested as well as semen and sperm levels. Male sexual hormone levels were not affected at all from maca, but sperm count and motility were definitely improved by taking maca.
A year later, scientists wanted to know if elevated mood was the reason maca had a positive effect on male sexual desire. For twelve weeks, males between the ages of 21 and 56 also took either 1500mg maca, 3000mg maca, or a placebo. Tests were performed at four, eight, and twelve weeks during the study to determine how each man felt about his own sexual desire, evidence of clinical depression, and anxiety. After eight weeks on maca, the men noted an improvement in sexual desire. There was no change in male sex hormone levels in either the maca group or the placebo group.
Maca improves sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women and increases libido even in women taking SSRIs
Maca is not lost on the ladies, either. A 2008 study published in the medical journal Menopause tested fourteen post-menopausal women to determine if maca had any effect on depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. This was a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, cross-over study. The women were either put on 3.5g maca powder for six weeks or a placebo for six weeks. Then each woman switched products for a second six weeks. At the beginning of the study, at six weeks, and at twelve weeks, blood samples were drawn to test female sex hormone levels and for menopausal symptoms. The test revealed a significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction without any negative effect on female sex hormones when the women took maca powder.
At roughly the same time, CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics published a study specifically targeting women who were experiencing sexual dysfunction due to SSRI antidepressants. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled research study, twenty patients, including seventeen women who were on SSRI medication for clinical depression, were given either 1500mg or 3000mg maca. The patients were then given questionnaires to measure sexual dysfunction. The patients taking 3000mg maca daily reported a significant reduction in sexual dysfunction, while those on 1500mg did not. In addition, the patients taking 3000mg maca every day also reported a significant increase in sexual libido.
Pubmed.gov, "Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men," G.F. Gonzales, et al. Andrologia December 2002; 34(6): 367-72. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620
Pubmed.gov, "Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content." N.A. Brooks, et al. Menopause November-December 2008; 15(6): 1157-82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
Pubmed.gov, "A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction," C.M. Dording, et al. CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics Fall 2008: 14(3): 182-91. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801111