Maca: For Virility, Fertility & Hormone Balance
Dr Arthur M. Echano, M.D., N.D., D.HOM.I.
High in the Andes grows a Peruvian plant that has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Highly prized by the Incas and their Spanish conquerors, this cruciferous root plant known as Maca, is turning out to be an outstanding natural health product for everyone, specially the Baby Boomers.
Scientific Works on Maca
It was in 1843 that Maca was first given a scientific name, Lepidium meyenii Walp. In 1945, a German scientist, Dr. Augusto Weberbaeur pointed out that Maca grows abundantly at 4,000 metres above sea level in the Andes. The 60’s showed a surge in scientific studies on Maca by Peruvian scientists and medical doctors. Foremost of these researchers was Peruvian biologist, Dr. Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D. who did her work at the University of San Marcos, in Lima, Peru.
In 1997, Dr.Chacon released a book on Maca, describing its history and multiple clinical applications. Although packed with nutrients and plant hormones, Dr. Chacon pointed out that the source of its strong fertility effects on both sexes are the alkaloids in it.
How does Maca influence our endocrine (hormonal) system?
The Central Effect of Maca
While specific plant-derived compounds have direct effect on hormone-producing glands, Maca acts on the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that orchestrates hormone function. The pituitary gland is the “master gland” that gets orders from the hypothalamus. They are part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian/testicular axis that governs the activity and function of the ovaries and the testes respectively.
Widespread Hormone Function Effects
It is not surprising then that by serving as an herbal food (not medicine) to the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, with favourable hormonal balancing effects, Maca has far reaching influence on other hormone-producing glands like the pancreas, thyroids and the adrenal glands.
A Powerful Energizer
No wonder, it is currently used by a major U.S. baseball league team for its potent energy boosting and revitalizing effects. This energizing effect is due to its rich nutritional content (proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.) and its adaptogenic effect on the adrenal glands. Dr. Henry Campanile, M.D., an internist from Florida knows Maca very well. He was born with only one adrenal gland and was easily tired. After 10 years on steroids to compensate for his single adrenal, one of his patients recommended Maca. What is this doctor’s verdict on Maca?
Dr. Campanile said, “It is phenomenal! I haven’t felt this good since I was 20 years old. I have so much energy and look so well, my patients have remarked on it and told me how rested I seem. I’ve got so much energy now, I’ve started an exercise program. I am also employing it with patients who have low adrenal function.”
Its strong energising effect has also aided many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers live a more normal everyday life. Body builders have also found that it helps in increasing stamina and in building muscle mass.
It is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It has been used for centuries in aiding those with poor memory and mental weakness. Aside from promoting mental clarity, it is also recommended during convalescence and in insomnia.
Increases Sexual Vitality & Performance
Known in South America as “Spanish Viagra”, Maca’s aphrodisiac properties or libido-boosting effects are believed to be due to the isothiocyanates in it. While Viagra works only for men, experts in the USA and Peru have reported that Maca is a reliable switch in enhancing sexual function in both men and women. What we have here then is a dual booster of sexual responsiveness, vitality and function. Also, it has no known side effects or adverse reactions.
First Rate Fertility Enhancer
Dr. Chacon revealed the dramatic effects on fertility of the alkaloids in Maca. In fact, she said in an interview that “These effects are measurable within 72 hours of dosing the animals (rats).” The Incas knew it thousands of years before Dr. Chacon’s experimental observations. The significant increase in fertility is due to its stimulatory role in the secretion of the Luteinizing Hormone (LH). This hormone initiates ovulation.
In men, Maca increases sperm count and motility. It should be considered then as an important part of any sperm count increasing program. Especially today, when scientific studies have shown that there is a marked decrease in sperm counts in men, primarily caused by exposure to xenoestrogens. Dr. Chacon has consistently noticed a high rise in pregnancy rate after animals were given this powerful fertility enhancer.
In many Western women, the transition from perimenopause to menopause is an unpleasant experience. To some, it is an ordeal. Although synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is available, the legion of side effects and adverse reactions with synthetic HRT result in high non-compliance and drop out rates.
Not with Maca, which appears to be an emerging natural HRT. Medical doctors in Peru state that they use Maca for its hormone-regulating effects. Which of course, include the reproductive system. This balancing effect on the female hormones makes women’s journey from the premenopausal to postmenopausal stage an uneventful and symptomless one. Clinicians and researchers in the USA and Peru have observed its benefits in PMS, menstrual pain, vaginal lubrication, hot flushes, brain fog and depression.
Maca blends well with natural progesterone in women with female problems, whether in the premenopausal, perimenopausal or postmenopausal stage of their lives. These natural formulations have been a great blessing for women through the different stages of their reproductive life. A combination of an effective natural progesterone preparation and premium grade Maca will go a long way in restoring and maintaining normal monthly cyles or in having a smooth transition to postmenopausal life.
Wide Variety of Uses
We have just scratched the surface of this cruciferous root. It has well- known aphrodisiac ingredients and potent fertility-boosting function. It is undoubtedly a powerful energiser, is loaded with food nutrients, an endocrine system balancer and a general health tonic. Its safety and efficacy has been proven by thousands of years of usage and by the volume of scientific studies and highly positive clinical outcome from many medical doctors and health care providers in the American continent.
Area & Purity is the Key
Maca grows even in lower altitudes in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. However, the highest quality grade of Maca grows at between 13,500 to 14,500 feet above sea level. Anything harvested below this height is of relatively inferior quality. Look for Maca flour that is 100% pure and of course, clean. You want Maca only, no weeds, seeds, moulds and any disease-causing bacteria.
Dr. Garry F. Gordon, M.D., the Founder and President of the International College of Advanced Longevity Medicine, Chicago, Illinois calls Maca “Nature’s answer to Viagra.” He added that “It is a therapy that appears to offer men and women the chance for hormonal rejuvenation.” For the Baby Boomers out there, nature has provided us with a valuable tool to slow down or reverse the effects of the aging process, the amazing Maca. It is available for everyone who would like to feel young and have ample energy, vitality and stamina every single day.
Arthur M. Echano is a 1978 medical graduate of the Faculty of Medicine & Surgery, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. He also holds a doctorate degree in naturopathy from the U.S. and a diploma in homeopathic ionictherapy from Australia. He practices nutritional medicine Down Under and is a registered member of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society (ATMS).
This article was written for health information purposes only. Those with medical problems should see their medical doctors for definitive diagnosis and treatment.