Maca: Energiser Extraordinaire

By Ria Pattni

Ever felt like your battery needs recharging?

Whether it’s from physical exertion, concentrated study, emotional upheaval or demands of everyday living and working, there are times when a little extra boost is most welcome, maybe needed.

It’s easy to be tempted by the short-term benefit of something caffeinated but, in the long-term, highly stimulating constituents like caffeine can be counter-productive and may even interfere with sleep which is necessary for boosting reserves for the next day. If you are looking for an extraordinary energiser with stimulatory action without the potential disadvantages of caffeine, consider Maca, a root with adaptogenic properties. That means Maca may have ‘normalising’ and restorative capacity, allowing the body to adapt to stressors. It may also increase work capacity, mental clarity and cognitive performance without depleting energy resources....

In fact, Maca is extraordinary because, in addition to showing anti-fatigue and anti-depressant qualities, Maca may help balance hormones and even boost libido.

Not only that but Maca has a pleasant, caramel or butterscotch-like, malty taste with a great nutritive profile; maca rivals milk for calcium and is rich in iron and energy-giving B vitamins.

Known also as ‘Peruvian Ginseng’, Maca has an amazing ability to boost both energy and libido. It is the root that is used—from the Lepidium meyenii plant –and its colour varies from yellow and red to purple and black with each colour reputed to promote different health advantages.

Maca is a brassica plant (like cabbage and broccoli) and closely resembles another brassica, mustard. It grows high on the plateaus of the Andes and has been cultivated as a vegetable crop for more than 3000 years. Maca may be a relative newcomer to us, but the ancient Incans knew the root to have special properties which enhanced energy and stamina.

The ability of Maca to energise is just one of its many health benefits. Maca has been studied for its ability to reduce anxiety and depression and all colour varieties were shown to have anti-depressant effect. Maca may also boost immunity.

Its normalising action on female hormones means Maca may help with premenstrual tension (PMS) as well as hot flashes in menopause. It is considered a fertility booster and libido enhancer for both women and men and for men may also benefit prostate health.

Warriors of the Incan Empire were well familiar with the ability of Maca to enhance overall vigour. It is said they were freely given large amounts of endurance-enhancing Maca when on active duty…..but that the rations were stopped when not in active battle—for the protection of the women.

Unless you live in Peru where you can get the fresh root for cooking, Maca comes as a powder and is easy to use. It can be added to smoothies, coffee (decaffeinated if you don’t want the caffeine) and porridge oats. Maca can be stirred into yoghurt, added to home-made ice cream mixes, or baked into brownies. Maca also is available in capsules.

Consuming Maca may boost your energy reserve; improve focus, memory and mental clarity. Maca is called ‘Peruvian Ginseng’ because, like Panax Ginseng (true ginseng), Maca has the ability to help the body and mind adapt and adjust to stressors. Unlike Panax Ginseng, which can be very stimulating, Maca has more gentle effect, which makes it no less powerful, and potentially gives more staying power.

Try Maca. It’s versatile and delicious. It can make you feel great, energised & more alive!