Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable that is grown at altitudes of over 10,000 feet above sea level in the harsh terrain of the Peruvian Andes. At this altitude, the temperature can oscillate between 20 and 25 degrees below zero—there is little oxygen and often intense sunlight—but the soil is extremely rich in minerals which accounts for the high levels of trace minerals in the root.
In traditional Andean culture, Maca root is valued for its high nutritional content. It is packed with vitamins, plant sterols, essential minerals, proteins in the form of polypeptides and amino acids (including significant amounts of arginine, histidine, serine, glycine, valine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, and threonine), and fatty acids (including linolenic, palmitic, and oleic acids). In addition to its extensive nutritional profile, it contains alkaloids, tannins and saponins.
Regarded as an adaptogen and superfood, Maca is also known as ‘Peruvian ginseng’ for its similarity to Asiatic ginseng in supporting physical and mental performance. It has been used for centuries in the Andes to enhance fertility, and to increase energy and stamina.