Maca that belongs to the cruciferous family is botanically named as Lepidium Meyenii by Gerard Walper in 1843.
It is native to Andes Mountains of Peru and is being cultivated there for nearly 2,600 years. It grows at very high altitudes where the climate is very cold and the soil has very low oxygen content.
In the past warriors of Peru used maca root to improve their strength and endurance.
It is popular as aphrodisiac agent and adaptogen. Peruvians believe that the root treats a number of ailments miraculously compared to medications.
There are three different varieties of maca the cream to gold colored variety, red maca and purplish black variety. Of the three varieties the cream colored one is used extensively because of its sweet taste.
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Use of maca by Peruvians
Peruvians use the fresh root directly by roasting or boiling. For storage purposes or ease of use they dry the root and ground it to a powder.
The powder can be added to juices, smoothies or used as a flavoring agent to beverages or baking mix. To make this wonder herb available across the world manufacturers have come up with maca supplements in various forms.
Various forms of maca supplements
- Maca powder: It is available as plain maca powder or as a gelatinized maca powder that is free of starch. Gelatinized powder is easy to digest.
- Maca capsules: These are capsules similar to the regular capsules and can be taken with water at any time of day.
- Maca tincture: This is concentrated maca syrup that can be taken after mixing with water.
These supplements can be used directly or by mixing in juices, smoothies and baking recipes. Here are few interesting recipes using maca root.
Maca and fruit smoothie: Take 2 scoops of maca powder, 2 cups of berries like
blueberries, strawberries and raspberries in the ratio of 1: ½ : ½, 1 cup of almond milk, one frozen banana, 2 dates, ¼ c hemp seeds, little cinnamon powder for flavor and one tablespoon of agave.
All the ingredients should be mixed and blended well. To prevent loss of nutrients smoothies should be served immediately.
Maca ice-cream: ½ cup of coconut meat or milk, one and half cup of raw and soaked cashew nuts, ½ cup of raw honey, one and half tablespoon of psyllium hulls, ½ tablespoon of vanilla powder or vanilla bean can be used directly and half cup or more of water as per the desired consistency.
Blend the ingredients together with required dosage of maca powder. Pour the contents in container and allow it to set in freezer to enjoy delicious and energizing ice-cream.
Maca cereal: Take one teaspoon of maca powder, half of sliced and deseeded apple, mango, orange and banana, soaked and cut sunflower seeds and almonds ¼ cup each, and ¼ cup of buckwheat groats. Mix them all and serve in a bowl.
Maca dressing: Mix ½ cup of coconut milk or meat, 2 tablespoons of raw honey, ½ cup of filtered pure water, lime juice extracted from one lemon, required amount of maca powder, ½ tablespoons of hot chiles, salt for taste and one tablespoon of basil.
Blend them in blender until they become smooth.
Maca-Colada: Take ice cold pineapple juice and coconut milk in the ratio of 3:2 and two teaspoons of maca root powder. Blend them together by adding a tint of vanilla extract, honey and 2-4 crushed ice cubes.
For added flavor nutmeg or cinnamon can be sprinkled before serving.
Maca balls: Take two teaspoons of maca powder, ½ cup of seed or nut butter, two tablespoons of maple syrup or honey or brown rice syrup, 3 tablespoons of raisins, ¼ cup of oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of hemp or flax oil.
Mix well the ingredients and knead it well. Make small balls. This mix makes six balls.
Using maca root cautiously
To prevent negative effects it is very important to use appropriate dosage of the root.
Fiber contained in the root induces increased gas formation and gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea in few people.
To prevent this it is recommended to start with a low dose of 500 mg and gradually raise the dosage depending on the body’s response and requirement.
The dosage can be increased by about half teaspoon every week. The daily dosage should not exceed 2000-3000 mg depending on the requirement.
However, consult the physician to know the right dosage that fits your requirement. In case of adverse reactions reduce the dosage or stop the using the herb until the symptoms subside. As the symptoms of the disease get better dosage of maca should also be reduced gradually.
To let the body assimilate the wonderful nutrients of maca skip taking maca one day in a week or one full month after using for three to four months.