The maca plant (Lepidium meyenii) is native to Peru and is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng.
It mainly grows in the Andes of central Peru, in harsh conditions and at very high altitudes of above 4,000 meters. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable and has a long history of culinary and medicinal use in Peru. The main edible part of the plant is the root, which grows underground.
Maca root has been traditionally used for hundreds of years to enhance fertility and sex drive and improve menopausal symptoms in women. This use has continued and has become commonplace in many Western countries, including Australia.
Maca can help boost energy, endurance and stamina. It contains iron which helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body and therefore reduces tiredness and fatigue. Maca also contributes to normal immune and cognitive functions. Maca is classified as an adaptogen which means it has the ability to support and help balance the body, particularly during times of stress. It is rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids that our body needs during heightened levels of stress.
Maca root is generally dried and consumed in the form of maca powder, but it's also available in maca tablets, maca capsules and as a liquid extract. Organic maca powder is also available from Mr Vitamins.
The taste of maca root powder, has been described as earthy and nutty. Many people add it to their smoothies, juice and cereal.
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