Not to be confused with the popular matcha powder, maca powder is derived from the root of the maca plant and has been dubbed the “superfood of love”. Originating from the Andes mountains of Peru, the radish relative has been consumed by the native people for centuries. The Peruvians used the tubular plant to increase energy, regulate their hormones and bump up their libidos. It has been called an aphrodisiac that not only boosts the sex drive in humans but also domestic animals. Limited research has revealed that its consumption may even improve semen quality and reduce enlarged prostates in men and balance hormones and relieve symptoms of menopause in women. Although evidence has not been wholly accepted within the scientific community, many studies and anecdotal claims exist regarding the mysterious maca.
Maca, A History
The craze for maca became a global phenomenon around 2013. In China, maca prices soared as the desire for the plant appeared to consume users across the nation. A 2014 article by the “China Real Time Report” said it was believed to boost energy and act as “a natural Viagra” and that during 2014 maca exports to China surpassed $5 million. China even began growing their own maca powder to use in lieu of importing from Peru. Official reports and publications like “The Guardian” said that between 2009 and 2013, Peru’s maca exports increased from $5 million to $14 million.
Maca Could Boost Sex Drive
Maca has been said to boost the sex drive of both humans and animals. A “Mens Health” writer detailed his experience consuming the plant powder for a month and its effect. The author and guinea pig, Jeremy Glass, said that not only did his sex drive increase but so did his enjoyment. Although he admitted, there is always a risk of experiencing the placebo effect. The 2015 study “A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women” revealed maca could help both pre- and post-menopausal women with sexual dysfunction. Most professionals still believe any results and research should be taken with a grain of salt as maca’s supposed powers remain inconclusive.
How to Take Maca Powder
With a slightly nutty smell and earthy taste, there are many ways to take maca powder. Most recommended dosages range from 1 to 3 tablespoons daily. However, for those who have never had maca powder, starting with ¼ to ½ teaspoon is suggested. Maca can be added to coffee drinks or smoothies, sprinkled over oatmeal or cereal or even used in recipes like coconut oil energy balls or vegan ice cream. There are many possibilities. One of the easiest ways to include maca in your daily routine is to add to coffee. A relatively simple recipe is to mix cinnamon and maca powder into almond milk and then pour that mixture into coffee over ice. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, maca can also be added into a cup of milk or any variety of nut milk and mixed with an assortment of spices.
Is Maca Safe For Me?
Maca, although not reviewed or approved by the FDA like many other herbal supplements, is generally not regarded as dangerous to consume. There is currently not enough information on the long-term effects of maca but generally, it is accepted as a healthy supplement if taken at a small dosage (1 to 3 tablespoons daily). In a WebMD article, Hot Plants author Chris Kilham claimed that the evidence of maca’s safety can be found in the millions of people who consume it every day. The mystery of maca powder may never be fully understood. However, that could be yet another reason it has evoked such interest and discussion. The only way to understand if maca powder is a good option for your own needs (whatever they may be), is to try it for yourself.
Elizabeth is a longtime writer and current documentary filmmaker from Los Angeles California. Knowing the greater story of all who cross her path is her inspiration. She’s deeply passionate about food and health and enjoys cooking, exercise and being active in nature whenever possible. You’ll likely find her on a hike, in a documentary screening or at the local Farmer’s Market.