October 24, 2013

What Is Maca or Lepidium Meyenii

What we know and love as  maca root powder is the nickname for  Lepidium Meyenii. But what is  maca root powder? This is a common question we often get asked, and rightly so, as it is a very powerful compound which has a rich history since it was first discovered by the early European explorers to the  high Andes of Peru. Of course Maca root has been used for centuries by indigenous South American before Europeans stumbled across it.

Maca root or maca root powder as we will refer to it, or Lepidium Meyenii as it is rarely called these days, has been used for many different purposes over the centuries, from a playful  aphrodisiac to a serious medicine. Whatever the use maca root powder is held in high regard by the Peruvians and the people of native Central America. For those who have been using it as part of their customs and heritage maca root powder is of extreme importance.

The First Studies On Maca Root

The first studies on maca root were carried out by German botanist called  Gerhard Walpers in 1843. However, the first in depth studies were carried out by a Peruvian biologist called  Gloria Chanconde Popivvci Pd.D, her study was orientated towards the alkaloids that are an element contained by the root. The alkaloids were tested on rats to ascertain their effects on fertility. Her experiments showed that within 72 hours of the rats being dosed with the extracted maca root alkaloids, their was an increase of activity in their ovaries.

Benefits of Maca Root Powder

Maca root powder has been used in many different ways over the centuries, but the three most reason it is used are:

  • Nutrition supplement
  • Medicine
  • Aphrodisiac

Each of the three uses utilises the same raw product, maca. The root vegetable can be prepared in different ways to reap the various benefits it has to offer.

Maca root powder has been proven safe to consume for both men and women by numerous and conclusive studies.

Maca Powder Benefits As a Nutritional Supplement

Maca root is most commonly used as a nutritional supplement these days. There are many urban myths that surround maca, most along the lines that only women should use it, but this is untrue, men can reap the many  benefits maca root powder has to offer to; but it is true that in women maca helps address certain hormone imbalances that can in turn aid fertility.

Maca root is known as an 'adaptogen', this means it is a very complicated term, but in the case of maca it means it has the ability to decrease cellular sensitivity to stress and rebalances the body. Maca doesn't contain any hormones, what it does is help the body to produce the hormones it is lacking, and provides a sense of overall well-being.

This return to balance that body experiences helps improve a number of stress related ills, such as:

  • Improving labido
  • Aiding fertility
  • Improving sperm count
  • Clearing up acne and skin conditions
  • Boosting overall energy levels
  • Easing menopausal symptoms
  • Regulating menstrual cycles
  • Balancing glade functions and regulating chemical imbalances

Maca Root Benefits For Men

Maca affects men physically in different ways to women, man usually notice that they can build and maintain muscle mass more easily; maca root is commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes alike.

Middle aged men experiencing a drop libido a period known as 'andropause' can benefit greatly from using maca root. In a few rare cases 'andropause' can lead to short-term impotence, but it is usually easily reversible.

Men can also benefit from a hormonal rebalancing that regular maca use provides, as testosterone and progesterone levels destabilise when the make body ages.

Maca Root Powder Benefits For Women

For women maca root powder has the most dramatic effects, it helps the body restore order and maintain hormonal balance, even at times when significant changes are happening, it is also reported by many users that maca adds curves to the female form; larger breasts and more evenly distributed proportions.

It has been hypothesised that because maca is an 'adaptogen' it redistributes body fat to areas which may not have formed fully during puberty. Noted changes are reported by female users that excess fat which would usually find its way to the arms and thighs is migrated to the breasts and posterior.

The consumed powder improves virility in women by way of allow more balanced hormones to be released into the body at time of excitement.

Maca Root Used As A Medicine

Before the recent rapid development of pharmaceutical medicines maca would have been at the front of the 'go to' medicine cabinet in Peru. There is evidence that suggests maca has been used as a food source and to treat illness for over 2000 years.

How To Use Maca Powder

Maca root is very easy to consume, just by adding a couple of teaspoons into a glass of water, maca has a great taste and is easily digested by the body. Traditionally in Peru where maca is not only a medicine but also a stable vegetable, it is consumed in a whole verity of ways, from roasting to boiling in soups, much the same as Europeans would eat turnips or parsnips.

Maca is available in many different forms, but the  organic maca powder is by far the most popular and readily available. It also comes in soft gel capsules which are convenient to take and store.

Women Who Should Not Use Maca

Maca is completely safe to use for men and in nearly all circumstances for women. However there is one instance when Maca is not recommended to be used by women. Caution should be exercised by women who may have endometriosis. Women who have endometriosis generally experience high levels of oestrogen and this puts them at high risk of for breast cancer, this is about the only hormonal imbalance that maca is not recommended for.

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