Maca: properties and characteristics


the spirit of survival

Characteristics of the plant

The plant known as maca is actually the Lepidium meyenii(synonymous Peruvian Lepidium) belonging to the family of Brassicaceae. It is a tuber that grows only in the Andes of South America above 2500 and 5000 m in impossible conditions: very strong winds, sub-zero temperatures and very intense sunlight, very poor and rocky soils.

It is a small plant producing small greyish flowers typical of the family to which it belongs (Brassicaceae).

The part used for human consumption is the root (tuber), with a rounded shape, with a diameter of about 8 cm.

It is known for its high nutritional power and its tuber is used both fresh and cooked, while the flour is used for the preparation of wines and desserts. peruvian ginseng, although it is not from the same family as the common ginseng we know. It is in fact a complete food, which maintains its nutritional characteristics unaltered for years, even when dried.

The maca is a plant that despite being an annual in cultivation behaves as a biennial with very distinct periods: a vegetative phase that lasts about 9 months during which it produces the tuber; a reproductive phase which lasts about 5 months which is dedicated to the production of seeds and a phase of vegetative rest which lasts 2 - 2.5 months.

History and diffusion

It was already used 2,000 years ago by the Incas as demonstrated by the numerous archaeological findings from which it was considered divine and destined to nourish the nobles and isoldiers for its richness in vitamins, proteins, sugars and mineral salts.

The maca plant is widespread in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. For the Andean people and in particular for the Peruvians, it is a very important product in their diet and is grown and marketed normally.

Parts used and products obtained

From its root a flour is obtained which is used to make soups and alcoholic drinks while the leaves are used to make tea. The tuber can be used both fresh and dry, in fact it can last several years while maintaining its properties unaltered.


Today maca is spreading all over the world especially in America where it is sold in particular to increase fertility, as a hormonal balancer, as an aphrodisiac and is a valid help against respiratory tract diseases, rheumatic arthrosis and as an anti-aging agent. It is also normally used by athletes as it increases muscle endurance.


In the use of the Andean peoples, maca is used to treat anemia, tuberculosis, problems related to menstruation, stomach cancer, infertility, impotence in humans and libido in general and to increase memory.

The beneficial effects can be explained as it has a very high concentration of proteins and free amino acids (phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine and arginine), minerals, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins (B1, B2, C) very high, in short, it is an extraordinary source of essential nutrients for the body and no side effects are known even if there can always be an individual intolerance so it is always advisable to consult with your family doctor.

Previous Article

Brassia orchid

Next Article

Haemanthus deformis (Dwarf Haemanthus)