Meet the Herbs: Maca Alive
Herbs and medicinal plants have long been used to optimise overall health and well-being, and in this series we will take a deeper look at some of our favourite herbs for supporting health, and today we focus on our Maca Alive. Maca is a plant native to Peru, and has traditionally been used to support fertility and libido, it is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng. It mainly grows in the Andes in extreme climate conditions at very high altitudes, usually above 13,000 feet.
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable and related to cauliflower, broccoli and kale. It has a long history of traditional use in Peru both as a culinary ingredient and traditional medicine for over 3,000 years. The main edible part is the root, and there are several varieties, most commonly yellow, red and black maca. Traditionally it was eaten baked, used in soups, and fermented into a drink called maca chichi. Inca warriors believed maca root would boost stamina and strength before going into battle, and it was considered highly valuable. It was used in ceremony to bring power and health to all those that consumed it. For the modern lifestyle it is used to bring balance, energy and vitality to the body.
Maca is rich in Vitamin C and A, and B vitamins, and also minerals like Iron, Zinc, Copper, Iodine and Calcium. It also contains plant sterols, fatty acids and amino acids. It contains lots of phytonutrients. The alkaloid macaridine is said to be the main bio-active, as well as its high glucosinolate content. Red and black maca also contain high levels of choline, and red maca is rich in GABA.
Maca has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and a small amount of research suggests that it can notably increase libido. A review from 2010 that included four randomized clinical studies found evidence that maca improves sexual desire after at least six weeks of ingestion. A review of 5 small studies highlighted maca improved sperm quality in both infertile and fertile men. Another review of four studies in menopausal women found it helped to alleviate hot flushes and disturbed sleep. Both red and black maca have also been found to reduce symptoms of altitude sickness.
Who should use Maca?
Maca is often reported to make users feel more energized and alert, making it a good option for those with low energy, chronic fatigue, or people with physically demanding jobs, and very active lifestyles. Maca is very beneficial for strengthening the body.
Why Fermented Maca Alive?
If you look at the traditional use of maca, it has always been heated and cooked before eating- baked or boiled. Maca was once considered sacred in its fermented form. We use gelatinized maca which we ferment into a much more nutrient rich and potent form. We use 3 different types of maca- yellow, red and black- to make up our organic herbal supplements, and combine with Amazonian camu camu berry for a good source of natural vitamin C. Maca root is ideal for fermenting due to the variety of polyphenols, amino acids and nutrients it contains. We use the ancient art of fermentation with our unique kefir-kombucha process to enhance and activate our herbs. Many of the actives contained in the herbs increase in potency, and become much more bio-available to us.
How to use…
Start with one capsule of Maca Alive fermented supplements a day for a week and you can increase to two capsules a day after this if needed. Best taken earlier in the day.