A traditional Andean food, Maca is a cruciferous root vegetable grown widely in the Peruvian Andes. It's
a benign poor mans food which has been in use for thousands of years and because the indigenous people
who eat it
and don't suffer the bad health consequences of a western diet, it has been
labelled a wonder food..
Travellers saw that the Peruvian peasants did not suffer from western diseases
and looked at their diet. In doing so they over looked that fact that
peasants did not eat any processed foods, they ate what they could grow
themselves and one common crop was maca.
Today most maca production goes into western food supplements and the Andean
peoples are eating imported substitute foods and now suffering western diseases. They
have to sell their crops and buy junk food and yet maca is not a drug, but
it is seen as a medicinal food. Dried Maca roots are ground to
powder and sold in drug stores in capsules as a
medicine and food supplement to increase physical
stamina and fertility.
The chemistry of maca
Initial analysis of Maca indicates that it contains
glucosinolates which are know to have a positive effect on
fertility. Proteins, as
polypeptides, make up 11 per cent of the maca root;
calcium makes up 10 percent and magnesium and
potassium are present in significant amounts. other
minerals include iron, silica and traces of iodine,
manganese, zinc, copper and sodium. Vitamins in maca
are thiamine, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. The amino
acid proteins in maca include aspartic acid, glutamic
acid, serine, histidine, glycine threolline, cystine,
alanine, arginine, tyrosins, valine, methionine,
isoleucine, lysine, proline, hoproline and sarcosine.
So you see, this was an important source of nutrition, but its not a
wonder food, its not going to cure anyone unless they adopt a healthier diet and
The Importance of Maca in
the History of Peru
Macas cultivation goes back perhaps five
millennia. It was an integral part of the diet and
commerce of the high Andes regions. When they
controlled that particular South American area, the
Incas found maca so potent that they restricted its
use to their Royaltys court. Upon overrunning
the Inca people, conquering Spaniards became aware of
this plants value and collected tribute in maca
roots for export to Spain.
Maca was used as an energy
enhance and for nutrition by the Spanish Royalty as
well. But eventually knowledge for macas
special qualities died out, being preserved only in a
few remote Peruvian communities. In the 1960s
and later in the 1980s, German and North
American scientists researching botanicals in Peru,
rekindled interest in maca through nutritional
analyses of what was designated as the lost
crop of the Andes.
The publication of a book by
that name introduced maca to the world. At an
international conference in 1991, the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United nations
recommended that Peruvians should return to eating
traditional, native Andean foods. Maca was included
in the FAO list as a means of combating nutritional
problems being caused by people switching to
processed foods and high-sugar drinks.
Some claim that maca is an established part of the Peruvian diet, but poverty
limits this forcing most people to sell their crops as happens with the famed
acai berry which are also from South America.
Hugo Malaspina, MD, Jorge Aguila Calderon, MD, Gabriel Cousens, MD, Henry Campanile, MD.,
Garry P Gordon, MD. and other doctors make strong claims for the
effectiveness of maca to re-balance reproductive function and men and women,
Dr Burton Goldberg, President
of Future Medicine Publishing in Tiburon, California,
whose latest book, An Alternative Medicine Definitive
Guide to cancer, is another enthusiast of maca. He
says that when he tried maca he was very pleased with
the results and began taking it regularly.
"Im a 72-year old man and this maca has taken 25 years
off my ageing sex life",
Maca is available from some health stores and pharmacies.
Anti Aging Growth Hormones
David Aquino; Natural health consultant.