Latin:  Lepidium meyenii

Family:  Brassicaceae

Parts Used: Tuber

Taste/Energetics:  Bland, sweet, neutral.

Properties:  Nutritive, no its not an aphrodisiac.

Actions:  Growing high in the Andes, maca has been cultivated by indigenous peoples for many hundreds of years as both food and for its medicinal effects.  It is one of the few crops that grow in extremely rugged high altitudes and these “highlanders” would often trade their maca crop with lower altitude people for corn, beans and potatoes.  This is an herb that has received excessive attention as an aphrodisiac and tonic capable of transforming people with its effects.  The reality is that the people of these high altitudes have been consuming pounds of this crop weekly without any noticeable massive transformation in ability or sexual prowess.

It has been the subject of massive “superfood” campaigns by unscrupulous people out to make a few bucks. Even more silly is that it is usually consumed in powdered capsule form at comparatively extremely low doses (a gram or two a day).  If one gram could be an aphrodisiac, imagine consuming a 300 gram tuber.  Thats common in the Andes where folks often eat on average 5 pounds of maca a week.   Is it a useful tuber?  Absolutely it makes for a great nutritious tuber if one eats them whole as part of a regular diet.  But please lets tone down the excessive claims.  When I lived in the Andes and the Amazon I also got to enjoy the fermented alcoholic drink made of maca known as chicha that is popular in some parts there.

Dosage:  Head to the Andes, eat a few tubers and get back to me about its effect. OK OK I know some people have undoubtedly felt an effect at low doses of 1-2 grams in powder form, often in capsules, or added to smoothies and “goo ball” preparations.

Contraindications:    None.