Incan Secret of Vitality and Fertility
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 30, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Maca has been an important food for the native people in the Andes for at least 2,000 years, including the Incas. Legend has it that during the height of the Incan empire, warriors would consume Maca before entering into battle, to increase strength and stamina.
Harvested high in the Andes of South America, Maca is a hardy herb native to Peru and Bolivia. Because it grows at altitudes of 13,000 – 15,000 feet, nearly all Maca cultivation in Peru is carried out organically because there are few pests naturally occurring at such high elevations.
Used as a root vegetable, the nutritional value of Maca is high, similar to grains such as wheat and rice. Maca’s typical nutritional profile contains 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 2.2% fats. Moreover, Maca is rich in essential minerals, especially selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, and includes fatty acids including linolenic, palmitic, and oleic acids, 19 amino acids, as well as polysaccharides.
Maca provides an optimum level of nutrients for the body’s endocrine (hormonal) system. This system is instrumental in regulating metabolism, growth and development, puberty, fertility, meno/andropause, and also plays an important part in determining mood.
In addition to Maca’s renowned strength, stamina, and energy promoting properties, preliminary results in small-scale clinical trials in healthy men have shown that Maca extracts can heighten libido and improve semen quality, including an increase in volume, sperm count, and enhanced motility. It does this without influencing levels of testosterone or any other sex hormones. These hormone-normalizing effects may be due to Maca’s unique nutritional profile.
• May support a healthy libido
• May increase strength and stamina
• May improve sexual function
• May improve mood and increase overall energy
For more information on Maca and how it can help with energy, fertility, and more, visit our Maca page.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan