Superfoods Series: Marvelous Maca

maca root

“Although maca is unrelated to the ginseng family, it has been dubbed "Peruvian ginseng" because it is used as a folk remedy to increase stamina, energy, and sexual function.”
—Cathy Wong, ND, CNS

Maca Mania

Maca (Lepidium meyenii), a well-known aphrodisiac, is an antioxidant-rich superfood that comes in many forms: capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, powders, teas, in coffee blends, and the root itself. But what exactly is it, what does it do—and where does it come from?

Native to the Andes Mountains in South America, Maca (aka Peruvian ginseng) is a cruciferous root vegetable that resembles the radish. (Ironically, maca is a member of the potato family!) Unlike the simple radish, though, this superfood is known for its powerful ability to enhance the immune system, increase fertility, treat anemia, lift your mood, help make you feel stronger and add vitality to your (love) life, so this rockin’ raw root has become quite popular!

“For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used maca root as food and
medicine, to promote endurance and improve energy, vitality, sexual virility and
fertility. (…) Maca root contains sterols, uridine, malic acid, macamides, and
glucosinolates. Oil components include phenyl acetonitrile and benzaldehyde. Many of
 the compounds in maca have an effect on the central nervous system. This plant has
alkaloids, steroids, tannins, saponins, and cardiotonic glycosides.”
—Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Maca Makeover

Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can benefit “romantically” by adding maca to your diet; maca is a sexual stimulant for both men and women. Superfoods are notorious for giving you a sense of strength and well-being but maca specifically targets the libido, thus laying the foundation for an improved sex life.  Try it and you’ll see what some consider to be “magical maca” is capable of. Not only can maca add a little pep to your step, it can bring those sizzling sensations to the bedroom you’ve been fantasizing about. And who doesn’t crave a romantic revamp, right?

“Maca’s great for rebuilding our adrenal glands and has reported beneficial
effects for sexual function due to its high concentration of proteins and vital
—Ani Phyo, Raw Foodist, Executive Chef and Cofounder, Smart Monkey Foods

Miracle Maca?

Going through menopause? Have to endure grueling menstrual cycles? Try maca! It can alleviate hormonal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, lack of concentration… Maca is also thought to reduce an enlarged prostate.

“Maca has traditionally been a staple superfood-food-herb in the harsh cold climates of the high Andes in
Peru for thousands of years.(…) Maca, like goji berries and ginseng, is a powerful adaptogen, which means
 it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body's systems (cardiovascular system, nervous system,
 musculature, lymphatic system, etc.). As an adaptogen, maca can provide more energy if it is needed, but
if it is not, it will not overstimulate. Adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the body's overall vitality
by 10-15% according to most studies. Rather than addressing a specific symptom, adaptogens are
used to improve the overall adaptability of the whole body to diverse and challenging situations and
—David Wolfe, (World Authority on Chocolate, Raw Food Nutrition, Superfoods, Herbal Healing)

Still not convinced?

Okay, let’s take a look at the nutritional value maca has to offer…

This protein-rich superfood also contains the following nutrients:


•    Beta-sitosterol
•    Saponin
•    Stigmasterol
•    Tannins


•    Amino acids
•    Calcium
•    Iron
•    Magnesium
•    Phosphorous


•    B1
•    B2
•    B12
•    C
•    E
•    Zinc

Maca Meals

So, you’ve already talked yourself into trying maca, but how can you get your daily dose?  Simply add maca powder to (raw):

•    Smoothies
•    Juices
•    Granola
•    Snack bars
•    Steel cut oats
•    Ice cream
•    Desserts

Also, the entire root itself is edible. It is safe to eat raw. You can also bake, cook, or boil it. And if you’re a coffee drinker, you can purchase coffee blends with maca.

More Maca

So, instead of sugar-filled mocha or frappucino drinks to get you revved up for a new day, and continuing to spend your hard-earned money on all those relationship books that are draining your bank account, why not toss some maca powder into a smoothie before you head out for the day. Not only will the superfood smoothie wake you up and help you face a fresh, new day—it’ll wake up your entire body, so get ready to feel sensually sensational!

High-quality maca powder is available for purchase at Raw People’s online store. Other superfoods are also available.

Side Effects:

There are no known side effects of Maca. It is believed to be safe when recommended doses are taken; however, if you consume high amounts, it could cause insomnia because of its energy-producing abilities.

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.

Copyright 2009 Michele L. Tune All Rights Reserved


Ley, Beth M., Ph.D., Native Food and Medicine of Peru: Maca Adaption and Hormonal Regulator, Bl Publications (January 1, 2003)

Maca Overview, Prevention,

Phyo, Ani, Executive Chef and Cofounder, SmartMonkey Foods, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen, Da Capo Press, 2007

Sahelian, Ray, M.D.

Wolfe, David, and  

Wong, Cathy, Maca,

Photo Credit: Pr Raven