Friday, January 28, 2011

So why maca?

I was reading an online article the other day on maca, which was published on 23 Nov 2010 by El Comerio, Peru's dailies. Apparently, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N) awarded 2nd place to the research conducted by specialist Gustavo Gonzales Rengifo the from Peruana Cayetano Heredia University (Peru), entitled "Maca: From Lost Inca Food to Andean Miracle".

Mr Gonzales conducted a study on people between the ages of 35 and 75 in the region of Junin, Peru. 80% of the residents there consume maca daily. The results, according to him, were unquestionable. In his words, paraphrased and translated to English," Those who have been consuming maca are healthier, showing no mental nor physical deterioration, it was like they have not aged at all." Talking about anti-aging health supplements :-) Very appropriate for the highly strung society we live in.

Maca is a tuber native to Peru. It grows wild in the Andes mountain ranges in Peru for over thousands of years, at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level, withstanding extreme climate conditions.

Peruvian maca root
Many names have been given to it, 'Peruvian ginseng', Peruvian Viagra", etc. as the popular belief is that it is able to increase one's sexual urges and fertility rates. I'm not sure about the sexual urges part as I think every individual's body would respond differently  but this I would say, honestly, I do feel more energetic and alert after consuming the tsp of maca powder every day. Even Mr Gonzales, the specialist, claimed that 'maca does not change the hormonal functions of men/women in any way' so, no promises when it comes to what goes on in the bedroom department.

The interesting history behind maca:

When the Spaniards conquered the area of the Andes mountains centuries ago, their  sex drive started to diminish after living there for some time due to the high altitudes.  Women found it hard to conceive and men suffered from lack of libido.

However, to their amazement, they saw that the local people, llamas and other animals had no trouble with their libido and were reproducing normally. They found out that their secret was in a root that grew only in the high mountains. It was an important part of the diet (food as well as medicinal supplement) and commerce of the local people at that time.

The Spaniards wasted no time in starting to eat this maca and feed it to their livestock. Libido was restored to the men; the women's fertility issues were resolved and the animal reproduced normally. Tons of maca were collected as tribute and shipped back to the kings of Spain as a payment of tax. A happy ending for all!

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