Phytonutrient Blog

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) – « Natural Viagra »

General

Maca or Peruvian ginseng, like radish, mustard, broccoli and kale, is a plant belonging to the botanical family of cruciferous trees. Maca is an adaptogenic plant. This type of plant plant increases the body’s ability to adapt to different stress regardless of their origins.

Maca is grown in the highlands of the Andes.

Known since prehistoric times, maca is grown on the highlands of the Andes at an altitude of between 3750 and 4500 meters. Remains found have made it possible to discover that its culture dates back to more than 1500 years before our era, well before the Incas. Maca is one of the very few plants that can survive in the climatic conditions at these altitudes. Strong and sustained winds, extreme heat during the day and frost at night have the effect of drying out most of the plants thus creating significant soil erosions which takes us to semi-desert conditions.

Maca was first cultivated for its nutritional value. His tuberculosis was consumed fresh like potatoes but it was also dried to reduce it to powder that could be stored for years. We made a oatmeal or cakes. In addition, maca was traded for various foodstuffs with those who lived lower in the mountains and where the more favorable climatic conditions allowed a more varied agriculture. Its nutritional value, equivalent to that of cereals such as wheat and rice, makes it above all an exceptional food and dietary supplement. Its average composition is 60-75% carbohydrates 10-15% protein, 8.5% fiber and 2.0% fat.

breeding of livestock
Breeding cattle and maca

When the first Spanish herders arrived, the Peruvian natives advised them to give maca tubers to animals that had difficulty reproducing. Maca was certainly efficient because the cultivation of the plant then experienced a remarkable boom and spread from Ecuador to the north of Argentina. Peruvians still consume maca and peasants in the Peruvian highlands eat several hundred grams a day.

Maca is also known as viagra Peruvian because, just like on the animals of the Spaniards, this plant would stimulate libido also in humans and also allow to fight against sterility masculine by improving the quality of semen. Scientific evidence is still lacking for various reasons including the difficulty of properly evaluating the various phenomena in clinical trials. However, it seems very clear that maca would have some aphrodisiac virtues. In Health Canada’s nomenclature, it is the only ingredient mentioned for certain possible sexual virtues. Indeed, Health Canada allows the following timid claim:

  • Helps support the emotional aspects of sexual health

In fact, no plant whatsoever is officially recognized by the Western scientific community and by organizations renowned for Health Canada for its ability to interact effectively on sexual performance. When they seem to actually work like Viagra (Sidenafil/Pfizer)), Cialis (tadalafil/Lilly) or levitra (vardenafil/Bayer), they are considered dangerous and banned for consumption. It is possible that maca is not a true aphrodisiac and that its effects on sexual activity result instead from its tonic action on the whole organism. On the other hand, the aphrodisiac effect seems very real. Then……

No known and safe plant has reactions as fast and effective as products whose active molecule is tedalafil such as Viagra and Cialis. On the other hand, taken during sustained periods, some of these ingredients bring the desired effects by interfering on the psychic side (maca, gingko biloba, ginseng, etc.) or on the physical side (spinach, beets, etc.) of the mind/body phenomenon necessary for a fulfilling sexual health. Their advantage is that they have no side effects and in fact, they delay taking tedalafil products that can cause some side effects.

Phytonutrients and minerals

Maca powder is an excellent source of vitamin C. It has a high content of potassium and calcium. It also contains fatty acids and amino acids. As for the essential elements, it provides iodine, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc. Maca also contains flavonoids and isothiocynates, compounds with high antioxidant potential. Its main acids are argine and lysine.

Its medicinal virtues

Modern science still attributes very few virtues to the exception that maca contains a lot of antioxidants, helps maintain a healthy mood balance during menopause, and helps support the emotional aspects of sexual health.

On the other hand, for its sexual virtues, it is something else. Maca is nicknamed natural viagra because of its purported aphrodisiac properties. Unlike Viagra or Cialis, maca acts over time and not almost immediately like tadefil-based drugs. That we are not yet identifying with certainty the trace food components and phytonutrients at the base of the sexual effects reported for centuries if not millennia is one thing, but to say that they do not exist is another because there is certainly a large part of truth in what is reported. Unlike legends, the effects of maca and some other substances of plant origin of a sexual nature are physically verified. There is an effect or there is none. Many modern writings on the subject report that for many people, it works even if no one really knows why. We doubt, but …. It’s working. On the other hand, it seems that what is effective in some does not do so in others. This is a very common situation in the world of natural health products. It is known, however, that maca contains unique alcoîdes to stimulate the reproductive system in men and women who are not found anywhere in all other plants.

Recent research

Many studies have shown that maca consumption increases sexual desire in healthy men. Others have measured an increase in sperm quality while some claim that glucosinolates in the root have effects on reproductive hormones. Maca is also thought to improve fertility in women. Maca is thought to stimulate reproductive activity. The woman is not left out because the sterols she contains would help to solve some problems related to menopause and her lysine would improve her fertility.

On the other hand, the vast majority if not all of these studies are contested, among other things, because some did not have the sufficient number of patients to conclude anything and others were made with unreliable criteria.

Note that the anabolic properties of maca are highly sought after by bodybuilders, in the same way as tribulus.

 

Its sexual virtues

couple and sexual desire - Phytonutrient CanadaMany plants are supposed to awaken sexual desire or help the physical side to achieve the expected performance. Some of them are part of our diet such as artichoke, ginger, cayenne, vanilla and chocolate. Others such as maca,gingko biloba, Asian and American ginseng, rhodiola that would stimulate the pshychic require some preparation to be consumed. However, with the exception of maca recognized by Health Canada to have certain effects on sexual well-being,Western science has never been able to demonstrate these facts. On the other hand, in Asian culture, more than a hundred species of plants including gingko and also animal substances such as rhino horn and also velvet wood are widely accepted either as a sexual stimulant, mental or physical.

For some fruits and vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, watermelon, pomegranate and broccoli, the explanation is simpler, their nitrate concentration. The cavernous bodies of the penis and clitoris are a small spongy ball of very small nerves surrounded by blood vessels. In men, the cavernous body is located in the penis from its base (much like an inner tube). In women, it surrounds the clitoris. During sexual periods, it becomes engorged with blood and becomes active. Its stimulation depends on the relaxation of the genital muscles. Nitric oxide (NO) and its metabolite cyclic GMP directly influences the erectile mechanism in both men and women. In men its action leads to the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the penis, which has the effect of facilitating the passage of blood from the penile veins and leading to swelling of the penis. The more marked the presence of cGMP, the longer lasting and stronger the erection will be. In women a similar but less strong phenomenon occurs in the clitoris.

Health Canada Product Monograph: Date: 2013-03-06

NHPID Name: Lepidium meyenii

Proper name(s):

  • Lepidium meyenii Walp. (1843) (Brassicaceae)

Common name(s)

  • Peruvian ginseng
  • Maca

Material of origin

  • Hypocotile
  • Root

Route of administration

Oral

Dosage form(s)

  • Foods or food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gum or beverages are excluded from this monograph.
  • Acceptable dosage forms include, but are not limited to, strips, capsules, tablets, chewable dosage forms (e.g., tablets, gummies), liquids or powders.

Recommended use(s) or purpose(s)

Statement(s) specifying the following:

  • Provides antioxidants
  • Helps maintain a healthy mood balance during menopause
  • Helps support the emotional aspects of sexual health.

Dose(s)

Adults:
Preparation: Dry, powder, decoction and infusion + all unalized extracts

Dose(s): not to exceed 3 Grams per day, dried root/hypocotyl or equivalent

Mood balance
Preparation: Dry, powder, decoction and infusion + all unalized extracts

Dose(s): 2 – 3.5 Grams per day, dried root/hypocotyl or equivalent

Sexual health
Preparation: Dry, powder, decoction and infusion + all unalized extracts

Dose(s): 3 – 3.5 Grams per day, dried root/hypocotyl or equivalent

Duration of use

  • For products providing 0.6 – 3 Grams per day:
    For use beyond 3 months, consult a health care practitioner
  • For products providing Doses equal to or greater than 3 Grams per day:
    For women during or after menopause only: For use beyond 6 weeks, consult a health care practitioner

Mention of risks

Statement(s) specifying the following:

Precaution(s) and warning(s):

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health care practitioner before using it.
  • Doses equal to or greater than 0.6 Grams per day:
    If you have hypertension, consult a health care practitioner before using it
  • Doses equal to or greater than 0.6 Grams per day:
    If you are taking blood thinners, consult a health care practitioner before using them
  • Doses equal to or greater than 0.6 Grams per day:
    If you are taking antidepressants, consult a health care practitioner before using them
  • Sexual health:
    If you have a psychological disorder or illness, such as frequent anxiety or depression, consult a health care practitioner before using it
  • Contraindication(s):
    Statement not required

Known adverse reaction(s):Statementnot required

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be selected from the current Natural Health Products Ingredient Database and must meet the restrictions defined in the database.

Specifications

  • Finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements outlined in the NHPDNatural Health Product Quality Reference Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements set out in the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database(NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements set out in the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database(NHPID).

References cited

  • Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on physiological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause 2008;15(6):1157-1162.
  • Brotto LA. The DSM diagnostic criteria for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Archives of Sexual Behavior 2010;39(2):221-239.
  • Dording CM, Fsher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neuroscience Therapy and Therapeutics 2008;14(3):182-191.
  • Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Gonez C, Costillo S. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia 2002;34(6):367-372.
  • Gonzales GF, Gonzales-Castaneda GC. The Methyltetrahydro- {beta} -Carbolines in Maca (Lepidium meyenii). Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine 2009;6(3):315-316.
  • McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. Herbs of Commerce. 2nd edition. Silver Spring (MD): American Herbal Products Association; 2000.
  • Meissner, Kapczynski, Mscisz, Lutomski. Use of Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium peruvianum) in Early Postmenopausal Women – a Pilot Study. International Journal of Biomedical Sciences 2005;1(1):33-45.
  • Meissner, Reich-Bilinska, Kedzia. Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon) used as a non-hormonal alternative to HRT in perimenopausal women – Clinical Pilot study. International Journal of Biomedical Sciences 2006;2(2):143-159.
  • NS 2012. Natural Standard. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) Copyright 2012 [Internet] . [Consulté le 18 avril 2012] . Available at: http://www.naturalstandard.com.
  • Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim H-S, Ernst E. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010;10(44):1-6.
  • USDA 2011: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). [Internet]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. [Lepidium meyenii Walp. Last updated 2011 June 25; Accessed April 24, 2012]. Available at: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl
  • Valentova K, Stejskal D, Bartek J, Dvoráckova S, Kren V, Ulrichova J, Simanek V. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) and yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) in combination with silymarin as food supplements: in vivo safety assessment. Food and Chemical Toxicology 2008;46(3):1006-1013.
  • Vecera R, Orolin J, Skottova N, Kazdova L, Oliyarnik O, Ulrichova J, Simaner V. The Influence of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Antioxidant Status, Lipid and Glucose Metabolism in Rat. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 2007;62(2):59-63.
  • Zenico T, Cicero AF, Valmorri L, Merculiali M, Bercovich E. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Andologia 2009;41(2):95-99.

References reviewed

  • Baldwin DS. Depression and sexual dysfunction. British Medical Bulletin 2001;57:81-99.
  • EFSA Compendium of botanicals that have been reported to contain toxic, addictive, psychotropic or other substances of concern; European Food Safety Authority. Parma, Italy. EFSA Journal 2009, 7(9): 281. [Consulté le 19 avril 2012]. Available at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/doc/280rax1.pdf
  • Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Gonzales C, Chung A, Vega K, Villena A. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian Journal of Andrology 2001;3(4):301-303.
  • Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Gonez C. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. Journal of Endocrinology 2003;176(1):163-168.
  • Herraiz T, Galisteo J. Tetrahydro-beta-carboline alkaloids occur in fruits and fruit juices. Activity as antioxidants and radical scavengers. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2003;51(24):7156-7161.
  • Laumann, Paik, Rosen. Sexual Dysfunction in the United States: Prevalence and Predictors. Journal of the American Medical Association 1999;281(6):537-544.
  • McCollom MM, Villinski JR, McPhail KL, Craker LE, Gafner S. Analysis of macamides in samples of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) by HPLC-UV-MS/MS. Phytochemical Analysis 2005;16(6):463-469.
  • McKay D. Nutrients and botanicals for erectile dysfunction: Examining the evidence. Alternative medicine review 2004;9(1):4-16.
  • Mehta K, Gala J, Bhasake S, Naik S, Modak M, Thakur H, Deo N, Miller S. Comparison of glucosamine sulfate and a polyherbal supplement for the relief of osteoarthritis of the knee. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2007;7(34):1-13.
  • Health Passports 2011: Maca [Internet] . Montreal (QC): Totalmedia Inc.; 2011. [Consulté le 9 juillet 2012] . Available at: http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Solutions/PlantesSupplements/Fiche.aspx?doc=maca_ps
  • Piacente S, Carbone V, Plaza A, Zampelli A, Pizza C. Investigation of the tuber constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.). Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2002;50:5621-5625.
  • Sandoval M, Okuhama NN, Angeles MF, Melchor VV, Condezo AL, Lao L, Miller JSM. Antioxidant activity of the cruciferous vegetable Maca (Lepidemium meyenii). Food Chemistry 2002;79(2):207-213.
  • Schumacher M et al. Novel perspectives for progesterone in hormone replacement therapy, with special reference to the nervous system. Endocrine Reviews 2007;28(4): 387-439.
  • Sloley BD, Urichuk LJ, Morley P, Durkin J, Shan JJ, Pang PK, Coutts RT. Identification of kaempferol as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and potential neuroprotectant in extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2000;52(4):451-459.
  • Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson A. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2009;126(3):574-576.
  • Valentova K, Buckiova D, Kren V, Peknicova J, Ulrichova J, Simanek V. The in vitro biological activity of Lepidium meyenii extracts. Cell Biology and Toxicology 2006;22(2):91-99.
  • Valentova K, Ulrichova J. Smallanthus sonchifolius and Lepidum meyenii – Prospective Andean crops for the prevention of chronic diseases. Biomedical papers of the Medical Faculty of the University Palacky, Olomouc, Czechoslovakia 2003;147(2):119-130.
  • Zheng BL, He K, Kim CH, Rogers L, Shao Y, Huang ZY, Lu Y, Yan SJ, Qien LC, Zheng QY. Effect of a lipidic extract from Lepidium meyenii on sexual behavior in mice and rats. Urology 2000;55(4):598-602.

 

 

You cannot copy content of this page

en_CAEnglish (Canada)