Maca is a Peruvian superfood used in traditional medicine to balance male and female sex hormones. It's regarded as an aphrodisiac and has fertility enhancing properties. In animal and human clinical trials, Maca has been studied for effects on sexual desire, reproductive hormone levels, and sexual performance.
For example, in a study with healthy men age 21-56, Maca was compared to a placebo. Two different doses of Maca were given and testosterone was measured at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The men also completed assessments of sexual desire and mood. Even though treatment did not show an effect on testosterone levels, there was an improvement in self-reported sexual desire from 8 weeks of treatment. This effect was independent of reports of depression, anxiety, or testosterone levels. The researchers concluded Maca improved sexual desire.
In a study comparing rats that did and did not have ovaries, researchers concluded Maca has "balancing effects" on sex hormone levels and has potential for correcting physiological symptoms associated with post-menopause and possibly pre-menopause.
A study of rats with erectile dysfunction (E-D) showed, for the first time, the aphrodisiac effect of Maca. There was an increase in mating and in the number of female mice with evidence of sperm deposited. Additionally, there was a decrease in the time between erections in rats with E-D.
While research continues, it's clear Maca can be used as an herbal alternative for individuals seeking a non-pharmaceutical solution for sexual health concerns.
Image Attribution: Ildi Papp/bigstockphoto.com