Maca (ma-kuh)

a herbaceous plant native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru. It is grown for its fleshy

Maca Root

hypocotyl, which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb.

The root of the maca plant has been used in indigenous Andean cultures as a source of nourishment and healing for many millenniums. A radish-like root, maca is indigenous to the mountainous and ragged terrain of the Peruvian highlands. Although its foliage may be small and unassuming, the harvested root of the maca plant was traditionally used by Incan warriors in preparation for difficult expositions and battles, and was consumed to increase stamina and energy. So esteemed was this special root, that it later became used as a form of currency by the Spaniards — a practice which still carries on in some areas of Peru even today.

Maca has long been used to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue for good reasons. The root is a superb adaptogen, as it enables the body to more easily adapt to and regulate stress factors imposed upon it. Studies have also identified four alkaloids present in maca, which are known to nourish the endocrine system. Maca root is a highly nutrient-dense whole food, as it is packed with vitamins, plant sterols, many essential minerals, amino acids and healthy fats. This is a particularly powerful and balanced food for athletes and those who are looking to combat stress or increase stamina.

Uses:

Maca is a very potent food, and just a little maca sprinkled into recipes turns any meal into a supermeal. It has an earthy taste.  Maca is easily blended into smoothies, various milks,  or mixed into dessert recipes.

Dr Sal’s Thoughts:

Maca Root comes in a powder form which you can buy the raw powder, a gelatinized version of the powder or you can buy it in capsule form. A little bit goes along way which is great since I am not a big fan of the taste. I mix it in my smoothies or sometimes use as one of the ingredients in my raw vegan bars.

It is a great adaptogen. A good source of potassium, iron, copper, and calcium as well as amino acids, plant sterols and phytonutrients.  Peruvian lore tells of maca’s use during the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. The root was prescribed to warriors in preparation for battle to increase their strength and endurance. However, outside of war-time, warriors were banned from maca as the leaders knew that maca can increase the libido.

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