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7 Science-backed Benefits Of Maca Root, Its Nutrition, Healthy Recipes And Side Effects

Botanically termed as Lepidium meyenii, the herbaceous biennial plant belonging to the family Brassicaceae is commonly known as maca or Peruvian ginseng. The root of the maca plant is the most beneficial of its parts, with the tuber being used for various medicinal purposes - as early as 2000 years ago.

The tuber is widely known for its root, which is used medicinally in its powdered form. In the current health scenario, maca root powder has grown in popularity as a health supplement, given its numerous proven effects.

The maca plant is closely related to radishes and the roots, which is the most beneficial part of the plant, is formed from the hypocotyl and the taproot, which gives the root an inverted pear shape. In the earlier days, maca root powder has been used as a health supplement - which is primarily associated with male fertility and reproductive health [1] [2] .

Possessing various health benefits such as providing relief from menstruation and menopause problems to increasing energy levels and most importantly, improving one's sexual health. The benefits possessed by maca root are abundant, owing to its increasing demand currently.

In the current article, we will focus on exploring the health benefits and nutritional values of the healthy root.

Nutritional Value Of Maca Root

100 g of maca root powder contains the following nutrients [3] :

  • 71.4g carbohydrate
  • 7.1 g dietary fibre
  • 14.3 g protein
  • 250 mg calcium
  • 14.8 mg iron
  • 2000 mg potassium
  • 17.9 mg sodium
  • 6 mg copper
  • 285 mg vitamin C
  • 1.1 mg vitamin B6
  • 5.7 mg niacin

Health Benefits Of Maca Root

1. Increases libido

Widely known for its ability to increase sexual libido, consuming maca root powder can help increase sexual stamina and drive in both men and women. Maca root powder is often termed as 'Nature's Viagra'. The root works by limiting or preventing the onset of sexual dysfunction by managing the chemical factors and thus improving the energy levels and sexual desire [4] .

2. Improves sperm motility & sperm count

Apart from increasing one's libido, consuming maca root powder can also help increase the sperm count and sperm motility [5] . Adding maca powder into your diet can help increase one's chance of getting one's partner pregnant.

3. Boosts fertility

For women, consumption of maca root powder is said to improve their fertility and hence, boost reproduction [6] . According to studies, the maca root was shown to help improve the quality in both fertile and infertile men.

4. Enhances bone health

Being a rich source of calcium, incorporating maca root into your daily diet can help increase bone density and strength. Regular and controlled consumption can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis [7] .

5. Manages stress

The adaptogenic properties possessed by maca root can help promote homeostasis, or balance, within the body when one undergoes stress. Maca is a source of various alkaloids and vitamins, which can manage your stress levels without the intervention of any toxic or artificial chemicals. [8] .

6. Improves energy levels

The high levels of protein, vitamins and minerals in maca make it a viable source of energy. Consuming maca root powder can help improve your energy and endurance levels in a healthy manner [9] .

7. Boosts immunity

Consuming maca root daily can increase the strength of your immune system. The high levels of protein within the roots help in improving your immune system, thereby, help prevent the onset of various diseases [10] .

Apart from the aforementioned health benefits, maca root is also beneficial in treating symptoms of menopause and possess antidepressant properties. Likewise, there are various benefits of maca root for men, such as the ability to increase testosterone levels, boost energy and stamina, and even stimulate cognitive performance.

Maca root can benefit men in the following ways [11] :

  • Increases testosterone levels
  • Regulates hormonal levels
  • Improves prostate health
  • Stimulates male fertility
  • Increases male libido
  • Treats erectile dysfunction

Healthy Maca Root Recipes

1. Hormone balancing almond, maca and cinnamon smoothie

Ingredients [12]

  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 - 2 tsp maca powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups dairy-free milk
  • Approx 10 ice cubes
  • 2 dates, pitted


  • Simply add everything to a blender and mix until smooth.
  • Add the ice cubes and enjoy.

2. Superfood maca latte


  • 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1-2 pitted dates
  • 1 ½ tsp maca root powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  • Add the milk and dates to a saucepan and heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the warm milk and remaining ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy.

3. Maca energy bites


  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw pistachios
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 10 dates (pits removed)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 tsp water


  • Grind the pistachios, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sea salt and maca powder in a grinder.
  • Add the dates and grind again.
  • Then, add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time until a dough starts to form.
  • Roll into balls and place in the fridge for 2 minutes.

Side Effects Of Maca Root

Maca and maca root powder is generally considered safe for consumption. However, in some cases, it can pose certain risks in some individuals [13] [14] .

  • Pregnant women should not consume maca root powder as it can impact the hormone level balance.
  • Excessive consumption of maca can induce cardiac toxicity, so, individuals with cardiac problems should avoid the root.
  • Certain types of maca have an unusually high level of iodine, which can be dangerous for individuals suffering from goitre.
  • Individuals undergoing cancer treatments, especially breast cancer, should avoid the root.
  • Individuals with thyroid problems should avoid consuming the root.

Note: Before adding maca to your daily health regimen, be sure to speak with a doctor.

View Article References
  1. [1] Onaolapo, A. Y., Oladipo, B. P., & Onaolapo, O. J. (2018). Cyclophosphamide‐induced male subfertility in mice: An assessment of the potential benefits of Maca supplement. Andrologia, 50(3), e12911.
  2. [2] May, T. W. (2015). What can Maca do for you?. Br J Nutr, 114(8), 1246-55.
  3. [3] Md-Mgs¹, A. O. O. C., Md, A. X. O. C., Md, P. O. O. C., & Md⁴, M. E. S. L. (2016). Systematic Review On The Use Of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) In Sexual Dysfunction.
  4. [4] Onaolapo, A. Y., Oladipo, B. P., & Onaolapo, O. J. (2018). Cyclophosphamide‐induced male subfertility in mice: An assessment of the potential benefits of Maca supplement. Andrologia, 50(3), e12911.
  5. [5] Andersen, Z. J., Sram, R. J., Ščasný, M., Gurzau, E. S., Fucic, A., Gribaldo, L., ... & Zvěřinová, I. (2016). Newborns health in the Danube region: environment, biomonitoring, interventions and economic benefits in a large prospective birth cohort study. Environment international, 88, 112-122.
  6. [6] Liu, H., Jin, W., Fu, C., Dai, P., Yu, Y., Huo, Q., & Yu, L. (2015). Discovering anti-osteoporosis constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii) by combined virtual screening and activity verification. Food Research International, 77, 215-220.
  7. [7] Emmanuel, A. G. (2019). The 3 Important Health Benefits of Using Forever Bee Propolis.
  8. [8] Ščasný, M., & Máca, V. (2016). Monetary and non-monetary measures of health benefits from exposure reduction. In Environmental Determinants of Human Health (pp. 133-150). Springer, Cham.
  9. [9] Ščasný, M., & Máca, V. (2016). Monetary and non-monetary measures of health benefits from exposure reduction. In Environmental Determinants of Human Health (pp. 133-150). Springer, Cham.
  10. [10] Liu, X., Shao, J., Chen, X., Wang, L., Li, Q., & Liu, H. (2016). Authenticity identification of Maca and its product based on high performance liquid chromatography fingerprint. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 32(6), 302-307.
  11. [11] Meissner, H. O., Mscisz, A., Baraniak, M., Piatkowska, E., Pisulewski, P., Mrozikiewicz, M., & Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, T. (2017). Peruvian Maca (Lepidium peruvianum)–III: The Effects of Cultivation Altitude on Phytochemical and Genetic Differences in the Four Prime Maca Phenotypes. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 13(2), 58.
  12. [12] Meissner, H. O., Mscisz, A., Mrozikiewicz, M., Baraniak, M., Mielcarek, S., Kedzia, B., ... & Pisulewski, P. (2015). Peruvian Maca (Lepidium peruvianum):(I) Phytochemical and genetic differences in three Maca phenotypes. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 11(3), 131.
  13. [13] Johnson, P. (2017, May 18). 14 Easy Maca Powder Recipes You Need to Try. Retrieved from,
  14. [14] Lozano-Canales, A., Janampa-Santome, M., Clark, D., & Gonzáles, W. L. (2019). Seed weight predicts seedling emergence, and extremely acid soil and low availability of Phosphorus are associated with poor plant performances in Lepidium meyenii Walpers (maca). Scientia Horticulturae, 253, 341-348.
Story first published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 18:30 [IST]
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