If you’ve heard about maca a lot lately but are not quite sure about it, you’re not alone. This root vegetable is part of the mustard family and one of the very few things that can successfully grow in an inhospitable region and at very high altitudes.
Native to the Peruvian Central Andes — with the most effective maca still cultivated there — this medicinal plant is believed to have several benefits for those who take it in its various commercial forms, including gelatinized Maca powder.
Maca cultivation and early history
According to evidence gathered by archeologists, maca domestication began about 2,000 years ago in central Peru, in an area now known as Junin. It’s believed that people from that area started to use maca after they saw the effect it had on crops, particularly with improving the crop’s energy and fertility.
The very first reference to maca in writing is found in the documents from Spanish conquerors and explorers in the 1500s. In 1549, for example, explorer Juan Tello de Sotoy Mayor received maca fruits as a tribute and used those fruits to boost the fertility of cattle he got from Spain. Other literature from this time period shows that both Spanish and indigenous soldiers used high maca doses to ready themselves for battle.
Use of maca
People native to Peru consume up to 20 grams of the dried form for improvements in health. This plant is very dense nutritionally and important to health in an area where not much else grows. Maca is also believed to boost stamina and energy and enhance energy and libido. Today, there are many versions of maca, such as vivo gelatinized Maca powder, in use.
Maca was first introduced to the world at large in 1964, but there was not widespread acceptance of it at this time. During the 1980s, in fact, cultivation of the root was at record lows, However, about a decade later, maca powder began to be used by people and doctors outside of Latin America, and it’s since become a larger export for Peru. Maca powder is seen in three colors: yellow, red and black, with the yellow form being the most common. There is not yet an optimal dosage identified for maca, so when you try it, follow the dose directions on the packaging for the product you are using.