Maca (Lepidium meyenii) and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa ), superf Isolated on white background

The Lepidium meyenii or Maca has been dubbed the Peruvian Ginseng by people who assert it owns wondrous libido boosting qualities. In the aftermath of numerous similar claims which have been demonstrated to be of borderline value how seriously should we take these claims? To place this uncharted plants worth in perspective lets take a brief look at what the hype is all about.


The Maca is a radish-like tuber of the Brassicaceae family and has been used as a medicinal plant and food source in the Andes because pre Incan empire days. According to folklore passed down from generation to generation this unassuming looking plant increases stamina and boosts sexual desire and function. As a matter of fact legend has it that the pre-battle utilization of this plant was eventually prohibited as a result of the warrior’s insatiable sexual appetites preventing lots of the conquered women making it back into the imperial compounds.

These claims have, of course, likely been diluted or inflated with the passage of time and definitive scientific intervention are the only means to establish their validity. Several studies and trials are carried out to try to establish the extent, if any, of the Maca’s value as a libido booster and the results were rather interesting.


One of the studies looked at the results of a 4 month Maca treatment carried out on 9 male volunteers. The results showed a definite growth in semen volume and sperm counts and freedom. After a few weeks of treatment the participants also reported a marked increase in sexual desire.

Another 12 week randomized and controlled trial found participants carrying a 1,500 mg, 3,000 mg Maca dose or a placebo. The results demonstrated an improvement in sexual desire and performance after 8 weeks of therapy.

Strangely using Maca does not appear to have any impact on overall hormone levels and there were no changes in luteinizing hormone, proclactin, 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone, serum testosterone and estradiol levels in any of the test areas so the specific mechanism via which the outcomes were achieved isn’t clear. The truth is the plant has no known side effects or interactions whatsoever so, at least, seems to be very safe.

Nutritional Benefits

From a dietary standpoint the ingestion of Maca is very likely to have beneficial effects. The plant is rich in fatty acids like linolenic acid, palmitic and oleic acids and contains high levels of minerals, essential amino acids, sterols, iron and iodine. Its usage as a general tonic and energy booster is recognized among Peruvian people and taking a look at the makeup of the plant it is not tough to see why it works in that regard.

Other Benefits

Research results will suggest that Maca can also be beneficial in treating hypertension and diabetes. In addition, it has been shown in animal trials to improve cognitive functions like learning and memory capacity. The plant also contains glucosinolates and isothiocyanates which have anti-carcinogenic properties used in treating cancer.

Infertility treatments also feature in the plants growing list of possible applications as the glucosinolates can also be utilized to treat fertility difficulties. In addition to these potential beneficial uses of the Andean powerhouse, it’s thought of as among the very best organic treatments for endocrine imbalances that are a significant cause metabolic problems, energy reduction, growth impairment and depression.


At this time I think it safe to say that even though Maca isn’t going to turn you into a raging Rasputin overnight it’ll surely be valuable as a nutritional supplement in the very least. And if the outcome of the many sexual function tests must be developed you’d probably benefit in that region also. At the end of the day it’s a fair assumption that this Peruvian tuber is, even in the most pessimistic light, a very valuable natural asset and might realistically deliver your libido through the roof. This is a refreshing change of pace in a world were one must tread gently to avoid treading in the abundant piles of organic fertilizer which encircle most cure-all claims.