Increasing in popularity as a medicinal herb, Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is actually a food. This root, indigenous to Peru and the Andes Mountains, is first and foremost a food and considered an important Fertility Superfood… Wondering what a “Superfood” is exactly? The definition is…
noun – a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
Maca is such a nutrient-rich food that it contains a number of different vitamins, 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients (some of which include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, fiber, and also amino-acids). In English Maca is also known as maca-maca, ayak, pepperwood, Peruvian ginseng and quechua; in Spanish it is known as maino; in Quecha it is known as ayak chichira, ayak willku or maca maca.
Maca is supportive of overall fertility health in a number of ways and complementary to most natural fertility programs.
10 Reasons Why Maca is Beneficial to Fertility Health
1. Nourishing to the endocrine system – Alkaloids in Maca have been shown to have an affect on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis of which the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands are a part, and which are each involved in hormonal balance.
2. Hormonal balance – Maca influences the production of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone supporting balance where it is needed, without containing hormones itself.
3. Libido and vitality, including sexual function (supporting erectile dysfunction and cervical mucus production) – Maca has aphrodisiac qualities and supports an increase in blood flow to the pelvic region which in turn may increase sexual desire in both men and women; “increasing vaginal secretions in women and enhancing testosterone levels in men.”
4. Energy and stamina – Maca provides the body with a natural energy due to its high carbohydrate levels. Maca is comprised of 60% carbohydrates, primarily from starches and sugars.
5. Follicle health – Maca may help to stimulate the maturation of follicles within an ovary (in animal studies).
6. Egg Health – Maca offers a plethora of nutrients to support health of the body on a cellular level, but also healthy hormonal balance which contributes to healthier eggs.
7. Sperm quality, sperm count per ejaculation and healthy sperm motility – Studies show an improvement in all three of these areas of sperm health. The resulting effects are thought to be due to Maca’s ability to support hormonal balance where it is needed, additionally the nutrients it provides to the body that supports cellular health.
8. Immune health & stress response – Maca is an adaptogen which as a class of herbs are helpful for those with immune-related fertility issues. Immunological fertility problems cause the body to identify part of its reproductive function as an enemy and as a result sends Natural Killer (NK) cells to attack. Maca aids the body in proper immune response.
9. Menstrual cycle & endometrium health – The health and normalcy of the entire menstrual cycle may be supported by Maca as a result of Maca’s ability to promote hormonal balance, nourish the endocrine system (which controls hormone function) and increase blood flow to the pelvic region. Maca supports healthy menstruation, the endometrial lining and ovulation.
10. Thyroid health – Some reports show that 10 grams (g) of Maca root contains 52 micrograms (mcg) of iodine with darker roots containing more iodine than lighter roots. Iodine is an essential nutrient for proper thyroid function. Maca has a balancing effect on and nourishes the hypothalamus (which “controls, stimulates and balances the other endocrine glands: pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas”) and as a result of this action, Maca may in turn help those with thyroid issues.
Legends tell a number of stories about Maca consumption…
- -Inca warriors ate Maca to increase their energy before going into battle.
-Maca was prohibited at one point to protect women from the Maca-induced, heightened sexual desires of these Inca Warriors.
-Animals showing signs of exhaustion, being barron and general lethargy, were brought to the region where they were rejuvenated and once again bore offspring after eating Maca.
… and I am sure there are many more.
Research and interest in Maca continues to increase worldwide. “Studies are being carried out in Peru and other countries to determine the mechanism(s) by which Maca supports fertility and libido. Researchers are examining various sexual parameters including erectile function, sexual appetite, performance, frequency of copulation, ejaculatory volume, sperm motility and fertility. Maca is also used in Peruvian folk medicine to treat symptoms of menopause.”
This all-encompassing, nourishing fertility superfood proves to be supportive alone, but also in combination with most natural fertility programs.
1. Barton-Schuster, Dalene. How to Use Fertility Herbs To Enhance Your Fertility Naturally. http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herbs
2. Barton-Schuster, Dalene. Maca for Fertility Q&A. http://natural-fertility-info.com/maca-fertility-qa.html
3. Barton-Schuster, Dalene. Solve Thyroid Problems Before Conceiving a Baby. http://natural-fertility-info.com/solve-thyroid-problems-before-conceiving-a-baby.html
4. Bunting, David. Maca (Lepidium meyenii). Herb Pharm Chronicles. http://www.herb-pharm.com/blog/maca-lepidium-meyenii/
5. Mars, Brigitte. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine. Basic Health Publication, Inc. (2007)
6. Ravensthorpe, Michael. Maca root improves libido, boosts stamina, and lowers cholesterol. http://www.naturalnews.com/040414_maca_root_stamina_superfoods.html#ixzz3AgB2OjUv
7. Rodriguez, Hethir. Maca study reveals increase in sperm production and libido. http://natural-fertility-info.com/maca-study-reveals-increase-in-sperm-production-and-libido.html
8. Rodriguez, Hethir. Maca, Wonder Herb For Fertility…. http://natural-fertility-info.com/maca