What is Maca Powder?

Summary

What is maca powder?

Maca powder is a root vegetable within the same family as broccoli, which is found in many regions of south America and specifically in the Andes mountains of Peru, Colombia, and Chile. Many tribal cultures have used maca powder for hundreds of years.

The benefits of maca are purported to be increasing libido, testosterone, and there are cognitive enhancing effects such as reduced anxiety and depression.

What is Maca Powder?

Even though there is conflicting science on the subject, many people believe maca powder is an aphrodisiac and a testosterone booster. In fact, most people asking “what is maca powder?” find the supplement for the purposes of increasing their testosterone or libido.

The root vegetable is similar to a turnip and it is found in higher altitude regions of countries like Peru, Colombia, and Chile. Imagine yourself in a tribe of south American natives living in the rainforest and seeking different natural means of improving performance.

This process of trial and error is exactly what our ancestors in south America have done with great results. Maca powder is not the greatest flavor, but it is very effective. Maca has a gritty and dirty taste, which is earthy in texture and flavor. Many people who are not experienced with maca powder do not like it.

Either way, the plant lepidium meyenii (scientific name) is a powerful natural testosterone booster and sexual arousal enhancer.

What is Maca Powder Used For?

As with any ancestral compound, there is some ritual and myth that surrounds maca powder. Although modern science has not caught up to the traditional uses of maca, it is nonetheless validating. In one study, 12 weeks of 1.5 – 3 grams of maca powder was able to increase sexuality and libido independent of any hormone [1].

Another study testing athletic performance failed to find any improvements physically, but did note an increase in libido within the 8 subjects [2]. As you can see, the main use for maca powder is as an enhancer of libido and sexual desire.

For many people, this is the most desirable effect. Those with expendable time on sexual activity or who are older and desire more sexual stamina can utilize the maca powder in order to enhance their abilities.

Maca Powder for Anxiety and Depression

Besides the basic libido and sexual enhancement benefits, maca powder has secondary effects as well. For one, people who use maca powder can experience a reduction in their anxiety and feelings of depression. In one study, a number of 14 different subjects found consistent anxiety reductions over 6 weeks [3].

Although there are plenty of alternatives for treating anxiety and depression (see the mood enhancers here), this is a natural option that might serve dual purposes depending on your specific wants and needs.

Should You Get Maca Powder?

If you are wondering to yourself whether it is a good idea to get maca powder or not, it will depend highly upon your goals and desires. The great thing about maca powder (even if you’re asking “what is maca powder” and know nothing about it) is that the compound is almost completely safe.

It’s rare that you can have a life-changing option that isn’t a prescription drug, but many people use maca powder in order to boost their hormone levels, have a higher sex drive, and in some cases can even save a marriage!

Of course, with anything positive, there are some drawbacks. Not only does maca powder taste terrible, but some people who have a high testosterone reaction with maca powder find that it creates acne and similar blemishes as a result. It’s important to keep in mind that any changes to your hormones will have this experience.

Editors’ Thoughts on Maca

Even though I don’t use it today, I have used maca powder with exceptional results. When my girlfriend and I were first dating I didn’t need any stimulation for sexual arousal, but it helped me to last longer and have a more enjoyable experience.

My biggest gripe is the taste of maca powder, which keeps me from consuming it daily. I used to add it to my smoothies and I wouldn’t taste it, but a spoon full of maca doesn’t sound very appealing to me right now. Using maca capsules could help this, though.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620
  2. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622
  3. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609