Maca has been cultivated and grown high in the Andes Mountains of Peru for thousands of years. Only recently, though, have the many health benefits of maca been brought to the awareness of the entire world. Also called “Peruvian Ginseng,” this hardy root grows where no other cultivated crop can survive. With small leaves that hover close to the ground, this plant flourishes at altitudes from 3,000 to 5,000 metres, in an extreme climate of freezing cold winds and strong sunlight.
Lepidium meyenii, maca’s formal name, is a member of the cruciferous family; its radish-like tuberous roots have numerous health benefits. An annual plant, maca has been used medicinally for centuries in South America and is a known adaptogen. This simply means that it is a nutritive substance that raises the body’s state of resistance to disease while remaining nontoxic to the recipient. Adaptogens increase immunity by improving the overall ability of the entire body to take on challenging and stressful situations.
The root is dried, then has a shelf life of up to seven years. The powder made from the crushed root contains nearly twenty amino acids and seven essential amino acids. In comparison to the potato, another root crop, maca contains five times more protein and about four times the fiber.
Maca is powerfully abundant in amino acids, phytonutrients, healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. This superfood (foods that are nutrient-dense and offer tremendous dietary and healing potential) has the ability to increase energy and stamina, oxygenate the blood, support neurotransmitter production, and enhance libido.
Scientists and physicians are now finding maca to be one of the best and most natural ways to balance and support endocrine health by aiding in the regulation of healthy hormone production with its adaptogenic qualities.
While maca contains no hormones itself, it provides rare nutrients that nourish the endocrine system and support the adrenal glands and the thyroid to produce vital hormones in dosages determined by the bodily needs of each individual. Maca also helps in regulating metabolism and increasing energy levels, sexual development, and a sense of wellbeing.
Its ability to positively increase one’s mindset comes from the fact that maca works directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. In addition, it has the power to rejuvenate exhausted adrenal glands.
Maca can provide relief from symptoms of menopause and andropause and can slow the aging process by enhancing hormonal system function, thereby supporting ideal levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and human growth hormone.
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