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Maca – Wonder Libido Booster Or Hoax?

The Lepidium meyenii or Maca has been dubbed the Peruvian Ginseng by those who claim it possesses wondrous libido boosting qualities. In the wake of so many similar claims that have been proven to be of borderline value how seriously should we take these claims? To put this Peruvian plants value in perspective lets take a brief look at what the hype is all about.

The Maca is a radish-like tuber of the Brassicaceae family and has been used as a medicinal plant and food source in the Andes since pre Incan empire days. According to folklore passed down from generation to generation this unassuming looking plant increases stamina and boosts sexual desire and function. As a matter of fact legend has it that the pre-battle use of the plant was eventually prohibited due to the warrior’s insatiable sexual appetites preventing many of the conquered women making it back to the royal compounds.

These claims have, of course, probably been diluted or inflated with the passage of time and definitive scientific intervention would be the only way to establish their validity. Several studies and trials have been carried out to try and establish the extent, if any, of the Maca’s value as a libido booster and the results were fairly interesting.

One of the studies looked at the results of a 4 month Maca treatment carried out on 9 male volunteers. The results showed a definite increase in seminal volume and sperm counts and mobility. After a couple of weeks of treatment the participants also reported a marked increase in sexual desire.

Another 12 week randomized and controlled trial saw participants taking a 1,500 mg, 3,000 mg Maca dose or a placebo. The results showed an improvement in sexual desire and performance after 8 weeks of treatment.

Strangely the use of Maca doesn’t seem to have any affect on general hormone levels and there were no changes in luteinizing hormone, proclactin, 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone, serum testosterone and estradiol levels in any of the test subjects so the exact mechanism via which the results were achieved is not clear. In fact the plant has no known side effects or interactions at all so, at the very least, appears to be quite safe.

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From a dietary perspective the consumption of Maca is likely to have only beneficial effects. The plant is rich in fatty acids such as linolenic acid, palmitic and oleic acids and contains high concentrations of minerals, essential amino acids, sterols, iodine and iron. Its use as a general tonic and vitality booster is well known among Peruvian people and looking at the makeup of the plant it isn’t hard to see why it works in that respect.

Non-sexually related studies have indicated other potential benefits of Maca consumption that may elevated this humble radish way beyond the realms of a Viagra replacement. Study results would suggest that Maca may also be beneficial in the treatment of hypertension and diabetes. It has also been shown in animal trials to improve cognitive functions such as memory and learning capacity. The plant also contains glucosinolates and isothiocyanates which possess anti-carcinogenic properties used in the treatment of cancer.

Infertility treatments also feature in the plants growing list of potential uses as the glucosinolates are also used to treat fertility issues. In addition to these possible beneficial uses of this Andean powerhouse, it is considered to be one of the most effective natural treatments for endocrine imbalances which are a major cause metabolic problems, energy loss, growth impairment and depression.

At this point I believe it safe to say that even if Maca is not going to turn you into a raging Rasputin overnight it will certainly be beneficial as a nutritional supplement at the very least. And if the results of the numerous sexual function tests are to be developed you would probably benefit in that area as well. At the end of the day it is a reasonable assumption that this Peruvian tuber is, even in the most pessimistic light, a really valuable natural asset and may realistically send your libido through the roof. This is a refreshing change of pace in a world were one has to tread lightly to avoid treading in the abundant piles of organic fertilizer that surround most cure-all claims.


Source by Seth Marcotte

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