Other names: Lepidium meyenii, Peruvian ginseng
Maca is a plant with a radish-like root that is used as a food and for medicinal purposes.
Although maca is unrelated to the ginseng family, it has been dubbed “Peruvian ginseng” because it is used as a folk remedy to increase stamina, energy, and sexual function.
Why Do People Use Maca?
According to folklore, ancient Incan warriors took maca before going off to battle to make them physically strong. However, they were later prohibited from taking it, in order to protect conquered women from their heightened libidos.
One study looked at the effect of 4 months treatment with maca tablets on semen quality in nine adult men. Treatment with maca resulted in increased seminal volume, sperm count, and sperm motility.
A 12-week randomized controlled trial looked at 1,500 mg maca, 3,000 mg maca, or placebo. After 8 weeks, there was an improvement in sexual desire in the men taking maca.
Maca does not appear to affect hormone levels. Serum testosterone and estradiol levels were not different in men treated with maca compared to those who took the placebo. Other studies have found no effect on luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, and 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone.
No side effects or hazards have been reported and are unknown.
No potential interactions have been reported.
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