- What other names is Maca known by?
- What is Maca?
- How does Maca work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Maca.
People take maca by mouth for "tired blood" (anemia); chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance, and memory. People also take maca by mouth for female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, symptoms of menopause, improving fertility, and sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants, weak bones (osteoporosis), depression, stomach cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction (ED), to arouse sexual desire, and to boost the immune system.
In foods, maca is eaten baked or roasted, prepared as a soup, and used for making a fermented drink called maca chicha.
In agriculture, it is used to increase fertility in livestock.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressant drugs. Early research suggests that taking maca twice daily for 12 weeks slightly improves sexual dysfunction in women taking antidepressants.
- Male infertility. Early research shows that taking a specific maca product (Maca Gelatinizada La Molina, Laboratories Hersil, Lima, Peru) daily for 4 months increases semen and sperm count in healthy men. But it's not clear if this results in improved fertility.
- Postmenopausal conditions. Research suggests that taking maca (Maca Powder Healthychoices, Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia) daily for 6 weeks slightly improves blood pressure and some aspects of mood, including depression and anxiety, in postmenopausal women. But benefits are very small.
- Sexual desire. Early research shows that taking a specific maca product (Maca Gelatinizada La Molina, Laboratories Hersil, Lima, Peru) daily for 12 weeks can increase sexual desire in healthy men.
- "Tired blood" (anemia).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Improving energy and athletic performance.
- Improving memory.
- Female hormone imbalance.
- Menstrual problems.
- Symptoms of menopause.
- Stomach cancer.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Other conditions.
Quick GuideErectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking maca if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use these extracts.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011