A root native to Peru, maca grows in a variety of colours and each is said to offer different health benefits. It is available dried in individual types or mixed together and is increasingly used in supplements and other health food products, including smoothies and teas. Like all non-mainstream ingredients, opinions vary on the effectiveness of maca but it is credited as working well on the metabolism and helping a variety of symptoms, from simple stomach upsets to depression and low libido.
Processed maca in a variety of forms is available year round from health stores and online.
Choose the best
Processing is usually based on removing the tough fibre content to make a more palatable powder or tablet.
Yellow maca is most associated with treatment of hormonal imbalance, mood and fertility in both men and women; it has a tangy taste.
Malty-tasting red maca is said to be the most useful, having the effects of the yellow variety, plus also increasing stamina and strength because of its high amino acid (protein) content.
Dark or black maca tastes like roasted soy beans and is credited with beneficial effects on libido, fertility, memory and sleep.
Follow instructions on packaging.
Carefully follow instructions for use, especially recommended daily amounts.