One of the best things I love as a raw vegan is learning about new super foods that come from nature, food that Mother Nature Intended to be eaten. The newest super food that is on my list is Maca. Maca has been used for over 5 thousand years but has just come into the eyes of Western culinary specialists. It has an impressive range of nutritional properties that when added to a daily diet, the human body can benefit greatly for natural healthy, healing powers.
Maca or Lepidium Meyenii is a tuberous perennial plant that grows in altitudes between 11,000 to 14,000 feet in the Andean Mountains. It looks like a cross between a potato and a large radish. It grows in a mat-like system. The root is the part that is dried, stores and made into powder which can be purchased in a store or online.
Interesting Facts about Maca:
*Maca is the only plant to survive through the extreme weather conditions caused by the altitude of the Andes. In the day the temperatures are severely hot and the nights can be down to freezing temperatures.
*It is related to a radish.
*It is technically considered a herb however many people eat it has a food.
*The 8cm in diameter root is pale white in color.
*It harvests every 7-9 months through it own reproduction of seeds, even though it is a perennial.
Throughout history the Incas consistently ate maca before going into battle for extra power and strength. At the same time, it was prohibited to be eaten when not going into battle because it has tendencies to heighten libido and improve semen quality – it was the ancient Viagra. Additionally, the energy root is said to have been a common gift from the Inca king to messengers in small amounts so he/she would be able to withstand the long distance walks throughout the Incan Empire. Then during the South American continent conquest, the Spanish came across this energy root to feed to their horses to keep them fertile in the high altitudes. The Spanish fell in love with maca and started to demand that taxes be paid in maca. Unfortunately even though maca was taken back to Spain it never grew in popularity among Europeans, except for the Peruvians.
Not until the 1960’s and 70’s did scientists come across maca again during botanical research in Peru. Apparently there were numerous studies done at this time to find out about the vegetation of the Andes that were lost throughout the years. It was at this time that the scientists came across maca once again. Then, almost thirty years later in 1998 did Dr. Qun Zheng and his colleague scientist start studying the nutritional properties to maca.
Finally, today maca is growing in popularity among raw vegans. My first experience with Maca was while I lived in Japan. A few weeks ago I came across Maca in a journal writing about healthy foods that are on the up rise. It merely mentioned this super food with no more details. I knew I had come across this root before though on a different occasion however could not place my finger on it. Not until this last week did I come over a journal of my travels in Japan and came across the mention of Maca and what I had learnt about it while living there.
Although I had maca in a malt tasting smoothie, it can be eaten in many forms. Here are some suggestions in raw, baked or dried form:
*Peruvians use it to make cookies, tarts, hot porridge, chips and other beverages.
*It comes as a juiced extract and can be drunk alone or placed in a smoothie.
*It comes in a pill form that can be taken with about 3000-5000mg per day.
*It can be added to anything and one can not overdose on it since it is an herb.
*It contains high levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron from the mineral soil it grows in.
Maca is not a medicine however it does have medicinal properties:
*It can raise low blood pressure and lower high blood pressure
*Treat against anemia and depression
*Improve ones’ memory
*Enhance ones Libido
*Boost Energy and stamina
As stated above, the Incas used this root to enhance energy and stamina however it was also known as a sexual enhancer too. Recent studies shows that large quantities can signicantly improve sexual performance, increase sperm count, increase energy, increases testosterone and helps regulate hormonal balance. Some people also believe that maca can help aid against male menopause also however I was not able to find any research on this topic. So, if you are seeking something new to add to your diet or looking for a substitute to Viagra, try maca today. It does have a strong taste that not everyone will appreciate however it is something that I enjoyed after my first taste. It can be purchase in some health food stores and also online, this depends on your area.