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Maca properties: superfood of the Andes!

Updated on March 31, 2016

Superfood area in Peru

River flowing downhill in maca growing area
River flowing downhill in maca growing area | Source
Andean woman in Peru selling products
Andean woman in Peru selling products | Source
Maca village in Colca area
Maca village in Colca area | Source
cats claw
cats claw

A short while ago I came across a Peruvian book published in both English and Spanish and it is called 101 reasons to be proud of Peru. It is divided into many chapters including destinations, history, culture, people, natural riches and gastronomy. They don't only mention coca leaves and maca, but also uña de gato (cat's claw) .


Maca is a plant native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru. It is used as a root vegetable and medicinal herb and resembles the radish and turnip, to which it is related. The plant varies greatly in the size, shape and colour of its roots.

This plant is traditionally grown at elevations of 4,100–4,500 metres (13,000–15,000 ft). It grows well only in cold climates with relatively poor agricultural soil, or places where few other crops can grow. Nearly all maca cultivation in Peru is carried out organically, as there are few pests that occur naturally at such high altitudes.

For approximately 2,000 years, Maca has been an important traditional food and medicinal plant where it is grown. It is regarded as a highly nutritious, energy-giving food, and as a medicine that enhances strength, endurance while also being considered an aphrodisiac.

Nutritional value

The value of the dried maca root is high, similar to cereal grains such as rice and wheat. It contains 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 2.2%, fats. Maca is rich in essential minerals, especially selenium, calcium, magnesium and iron, and includes fatty acids and amino acids. Beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients. Maca also contains a chemical which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties.

Historical use

Maca has been harvested and used by humans in the Andean region for centuries and it is often cited as having been eaten by Inca warriors before going to battle. In Peru, Maca is prepared and consumed in several ways, although traditionally always cooked.

Small-scale clinical trials performed in men have shown that maca extracts can heighten libido and improve semen quality though no studies have been performed on men having sexual dysfunction or infertility.

Cat's claw

I have already written a few articles about coca and its leaves here in Hub Pages, but I still have to mention another product: the cat's claw, which is called uñas de gato in Spanish.

Superfood and ads

I was surprised when I came across many ads about the superfood of the Andes on the HubPages site itself. Being from Peru, I have even been tempted to set up a business selling some of those products myself, but I wonder whether it would be a good idea for a person that is not even business oriented. Maybe I should just concentrate on traveling there, as I still have not even seen all my country still, having just scratched the surface really.
HubPages means a lot to me, as I have been writing here for years and now I have been offered the opportunity to improve things. Many of the other sites I have joined have just disappeared on the wayside, without rewarding me and leaving me and my writing behind so this time, I’m really going to try hard with HP.
I am going to finish up now with some views of areas where maca and these superfoods are grown.

Superfood recipes

Navitasnaturals claims that they make it easy for people to add nutrient-dense superfoods to their diet by offering hundreds of delicious superfood recipes - including many how-to videos by Chef Julie Morris. These are just some of them:

Carrot maca juice
Choco maca smoothie
Choco superfood smoothie


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      tricajus@erectile-dyfunction-cure 7 years ago

      Maca is one of the main ingredients of Tricajus. It has lots of medicinal benefits besides libido such as low/high blood pressure, constipation, PMS, gout. Give it a try. You'll like it. Cheers!

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      maca 8 years ago

      Clinical studies published in PubMed report that Maca possesses many medicinal properties, but only a few of them have been well studied scientifically. In one of the researchs it was found out that the amino acid L-arginine found in maca is believed to stimulate sexual desire and aids erectile tissue response in men.

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      sylvia13 8 years ago

      I only heard about Maca by accident on an Austrian "beach" (by a lake, not the sea). I tried to find out more about it from a friend in Peru, but he never answered! (Who knows, maybe he uses it!) I saw that you live in California and one hears a lot about it, as Scharzeneger, is always covered by the press, as he was born in a village close to Graz, where I am living now!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 years ago from California

      Thanks a lot for teaching me about the benefits of maca. If I needed to boost my libido, perhaps I'd take some! Anyway, I really like Peru, my second favorite country in the Western Hemisphere. Later!

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      VaNu 2Go+ 8 years ago

      VaNu 2Go+ offers the same blend of superfoods found in VaNu - acai, goji, cupuacu, cacao, camu-camu, vanilla and agave - but adds the energizing boost of real Peruvian Maca.