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Peruvian Maca, or just Maca, is a root of the turnip, cabbage and watercress family, rich in alkaloids, flavonoids and glycosides, which give it antioxidant properties, being therefore widely used in medicine traditional to increase vitality and libido, and decrease tiredness and fatigue.
The scientific name of this medicinal plant is Lepidium meyenii and it can be known as Andean Ginseng or Inca Viagra. Maca is still considered a superfood because it is rich in fiber and essential fats, nourishing the body and contributing to increased energy and physical vigor.
Maca can be purchased in natural food stores in the form of capsules or gelatinized powder, which can be mixed in vitamins or fruit juices, for example, and must be used under the guidance of a doctor, nutritionist or by the herbalist.
What is it for
Peruvian Maca has several he alth benefits, the main ones being:
1. Increase sexual desire
Peruvian Maca has substances such as macaridine, macamides, glucosinolates and alkaloids, with stimulant, tonic and antidepressant properties and, therefore, is considered a powerful sexual stimulant, being indicated to increase sexual desire.
A study  showed that doses of 1500 to 3000 mg of Peruvian Maca per day, in gelatinized powder form, can help improve sexual desire and increase libido in men, after 8 weeks of treatment.
Another study  done with women, with doses of 3000 mg per day of Peruvian Maca root, taken for 12 weeks, showed that the plant was able to help to increase libido in women with sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressants.
However, more studies are still needed to evaluate the effect of Peruvian Maca to increase sexual desire. See other strategies to increase sexual desire.
2. Improve erectile dysfunction
According to a study , which used 2.4 g of Maca root for 12 weeks in men, this plant may help improve mild erectile dysfunction in men, improving general well-being and sexual desire.
3. Help control blood glucose
Some studies [4, 5] carried out with rats in the laboratory have shown that Peruvian Maca can help control blood glucose due to the presence of flavonoids and phenols in its composition, with antioxidant action, which help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals in cells and improve the production and/or action of insulin, which can be an interesting natural ally in the treatment of diabetes.
Still, human studies are needed to prove this benefit.
4. Decrease tiredness and fatigue
Polysaccharides present in Peruvian Maca can help increase energy and performance, both physical and mental, reducing symptoms of tiredness and fatigue.
In addition, Peruvian Maca, by increasing energy levels in the body, can be used by athletes or people who wish to improve performance in physical activities. When consumed after playing sports, it can help reduce muscle pain or fatigue. See other supplements to improve physical performance.
5. Improve concentration and thinking
Fatty acids present in Maca essential oil have an antioxidant effect that reduces the damage caused by free radicals in cells, protecting neurons. In this way, this plant can help increase mental performance, improving reasoning, concentration and memory.
6. Relieve menopausal symptoms
Some studies [6, 7] have shown that the flavonoids present in Peruvian Maca can help alleviate menopausal symptoms such as anxiety or depression, improving mood and disposition.
Also, Maca can help regulate estrogen levels in the body, which can reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, for example.
7. Help to lose weight
Maca can be used as a supplement during weight loss processes as it improves energy levels and increases the willingness to perform physical exercises. However, its use must be done with the guidance of the doctor, and be part of a balanced diet indicated by the nutritionist. See how to make a he althy diet to lose weight.
How to take it
The recommended daily dose of Maca is approximately 3000 mg, divided into 3 times, taken with meals for up to 4 months.
However, dosage may vary depending on the type of treatment or condition being treated. Therefore, it is always best to consult a nutritionist or a naturopath before using Maca capsules.
Maca can also be consumed as a food, in the form of root or powder, and must be added in the preparation of dishes or drinks, for example, in the proportion of 2 to 3 teaspoons.
Possible side effects
Peruvian Maca is safe for most adults when used in small amounts with food or taken at recommended doses of 3000 mg daily for up to 4 months of treatment.
However, when consumed in excessive amounts or for a prolonged period of treatment, it can cause allergy, so its use should only be done with medical advice, a nutritionist or a he alth professional with experience in medicinal plants.
Who should not take it
Peruvian Maca should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Also, it should not be used by women with a history of any type of estrogen-dependent disease or cancer, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.