(Health Secrets) Want to improve your sex life? Maca is the sexual adaptogen, giving both men and women a chance to recapture some of the best experiences of their youth. Maca has been around a long time, and was known by the Inca warriors back in the year 1200 for its ability to increase their stamina both in and out of bed. According to legend, maca was locked away when warriors returned from battle for the purpose of protecting the women. If you would like to recapture the warrior spirit, adding maca to your natural health regimen may be the way to go.
Maca is an herb that is only found high in the central Peruvian Andes mountains. The root of the plant is the active part. It is a starchy tuber that resembles a radish or turnip, but tastes sort of like a potato. The plant is rich in sterols and is a good source of iron, calcium, and the cancer fighters magnesium and selenium.
Is maca safe? In the Andes, people typically eat about half a pound of maca daily, and have been doing so for several hundred years.
Maca has many medicinal properties that stem from its primary action, which is the regulation of the endocrine system. These actions have been documented in men to include:
- Treating erectile dysfunction
- Increasing sperm count
- Shrinking enlarged prostates
- Increasing libido
- Increasing overall sexual functioning
In women maca has been used for:
- Treating symptoms encountered throughout the period from perimenopause through postmenopause
- Increasing libido
- Reducing anxiety
- Increasing fertility
- Increasing bone density
- Energy enhancement
- Mood enhancement
Chris Kilham, known as the medicine hunter for his interest in studying plants says, “Maca enjoys a very long history of successful medicinal use for menopausal discomfort, infertility, and sexual healing. The question is not whether it works — because we know it works with certainty — but how it works.”
Today researchers are trying to answer that question. A review of research data published in late 2014, summarized the results of studies about the effects of maca on sexual function, production and development of mature sperm, female reproductive function, memory, depression and anxiety, and energy, as well as benign prostatic hyperplasia, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, and anti-aging effects. They noted that differences exist between the effects of black, yellow and red maca varieties.
Black maca was shown to produce the best results for increasing production of mature sperm, and on memory and fatigue, while red maca is the variety that reverses benign prostatic hyperplasia and experimentally induced osteoporosis. In addition, maca reduces glucose levels, and taking maca lowers blood pressure and improves overall health score.
According to the study authors, experimental studies have shown that short and long term consumption does not show toxicity either in vivo or in vitro. They concluded that ,”Although experimental studies have proven that maca has diverse beneficial effects, more clinical studies are needed to confirm these result.” Really, after 800 years?
Maca is a classic adaptogen
To qualify for status as an adaptogen, an herb must be completely non-toxic and it must have broad uses for health. Kilham says on his website that any herb qualifying for adaptogen status “must specifically reduce stress, both mental and physical. To put it simply: Adaptogens help you adapt.”
Adaptogens raise non-specific resistance and enable a person to adapt to external conditions, with their own natural rhythms helping to rebuild systems and restore homeostasis. Today, adaptogens such as maca have a greater significance than in the past, because of our constantly increasing levels of stress. Maca works to effectively help the mind and body adapt to the high levels of stress involved in modern living. This adaptive mechanism involves normalization of both men’s and women’s hormonal imbalances by working through the HPA (hypothalmic-pituitary axis) pathway, the precursor of male and female hormones.
Kilham goes on to say, “Maca has been dubbed ‘Peruvian ginseng’, though it bears no relation to ginseng. But like ginseng, the root increases strength, energy, stamina, libido and sexual function.”
The list of herbs meeting this criteria is not long, including only:
- Holy Basil
- Panax Ginseng
- Rhodiola Rosea
As you can see, maca travels in good company.
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