Maca is the common name for Lepidium meyenii (wild growing maca) and Lepidium peruvianum (cultivated maca), which are plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family (the family that also includes broccoli, turnips, and radishes). Although similar, the two plants have distinct differences between them in terms of visual appearance and phytochemical profiles. The roots of the plants can be red, black, pink, or yellow. As a supplement, maca root is usually sold in the form of dried powder and is often mixed into smoothies and other beverages.
A small amount of research suggests maca can increase libido to a notable degree and improve sexual function to a small degree. Maca may also improve the symptoms of menopause, especially those related to mood (such as anxiety and depression), though more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn regarding its effectiveness.
Although no significant toxicity has been reported after human consumption of maca, there is very little toxicological or safety information available.
It is currently unclear how maca works. However, its effects do not appear to be mediated by altering levels of hormones usually involved in aphrodisia, such as testosterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone.
- Lepidium meyenii
- Maca root
- Peruvian Ginseng
- Lepidium peruvianum
The standard dose for maca is 1,500-3,000 mg.
Maca can be supplemented by eating maca root or through a maca extract. Extracts should be water or ethyl acetate-based.
Maca should be taken daily, alongside food.
Traditionally, maca is treated as a food product, rather than a dietary supplement. Animal studies use 1,000-2,200 mg/kg bodyweight doses of maca, which translates into:
- 10.9-24 g of the maca vegetable for a 150 lb person
- 14.5-32 g of the maca vegetable for a 200 lb person
- 18.1-40 g of the maca vegetable for a 250 lb person