You have heard that Maca root is effective for a healthy well-being and improved memory? But you are not yet convinced of the effect and would like to learn more about the intake, scientific background and necessary criteria for the purchase of Maca root? Then you've come to the right place.
With the help of our large Maca root test 2020, you will be given all the information you need about Maca root. Besides the exciting effects of the plant, you will also learn interesting details about the plant itself.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Maca Root: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for Maca root products
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about Maca root products answered in detail
- 5.1 What is maca root and how does it work?
- 5.2 How can Maca root be taken?
- 5.3 When and for whom is it useful to take Maca root?
- 5.4 How much do Maca root products cost?
- 5.5 What are the side effects of taking Maca root?
- 5.6 Where can I buy Maca root?
- 5.7 What types of Maca root are there?
- 5.8 How should maca root be dosed?
- 5.9 What alternatives are there to Maca root?
- 5.10 What recipes can be prepared with Maca root?
- Maca root is a food and medicinal plant that grows in extreme weather conditions, 3000 metres above sea level in Peru. It can be used in many ways and has different effects.
- Maca root is dried and processed into powder in various steps. A distinction is made between Maca raw powder and gelatinised Maca powder.
- The black Maca root is known to improve male sperm quality while the yellow Maca root can be used for prostate problems.
The Best Maca Root: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for Maca root products
When buying maca root, you can pay attention to various aspects, such as:
What exactly these criteria mean is explained in the next section.
For high-quality Maca, you should make sure that the powder consists of 100 percent dried Maca roots. No preservatives or colourings should be added.
If preservatives and colourings are added, the Maca can quickly lose its actual effect. The powder should also be completely vegan and gluten-free.
Another characteristic of good quality maca root is the residual moisture value. The Maca root is dried after harvesting and then processed into powder. Good maca should have a residual moisture value of less than 10 percent.
If the Maca has more than 10 percent residual moisture, it has not been dried well or is not of good quality.
When buying Maca, you should pay attention to where the powder of the tuber comes from. Maca is usually produced in the Andes, 4000 metres above sea level. Extreme weather conditions and very low air pressure prevail there.
This is exactly what makes the plant and its effect so special. Because this is what gives it its special nutrients. After harvesting, the maca tuber is dried in various steps in a 60 degree oven and then ground.
Through this special production method, under the extreme weather conditions, special active substances are released, whereby the maca ingredient, the macamides, are formed. Macamide can therefore be seen as a characteristic of maca.
For this reason, when buying Maca, you should make sure that the powder has been produced traditionally. You should be careful with products from China, as they often do not contain the same ingredients.
Maca root is available in various forms. There are two different forms. The following table should give you an overview.
|Raw powder maca||contains 100% of all nutrients, tastes very strong/vegetable|
|Gelatinised maca powder||does not contain all nutrients due to pre-cooking, sweetish taste, available in capsule form|
Raw powder can taste very harsh, but contains 100% of all ingredients. This means that all enzymes and vital substances are contained. The gelatinised Maca powder, which is often offered in capsule form, is pre-cooked under pressure. This makes the powder very fine.
However, the pre-cooking causes the maca to lose some vital substances. In contrast to the raw powder, which can taste very vegetable-like, the gelatinised Maca powder has a more sweet taste and is therefore more popular for daily intake. In addition, gelatinised Maca is easier to take or swallow in the form of capsules.
It can often happen that other substances are added to Maca powder. If this is the case and other additives are added, it can happen that the plant can no longer provide its full effect.
You should be very careful if you buy Maca powder from China. There, a synthetic Maca substitute is usually used. This Maca substitute does not have the same effect as the real Maca.
But it's not just the use of Maca substitutes, unhealthy additives are also often added in China. Make sure that the powder is as pure as possible and free of other active ingredients.
When buying maca, make sure that it is as pure as possible and that no other active ingredients have been added.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about Maca root products answered in detail
In the following section we have answered the most frequently asked questions for you.
What is maca root and how does it work?
Maca root is a food and medicinal plant and belongs to the cruciferous family. The plant originates from Peru and is therefore also called "Peru Ginseng". Maca can grow even in the most extreme weather conditions and draws its superpower from this.
The plant contains a lot of nutrients. For this reason, the plant is used in many ways and can contribute to a healthy well-being.
To give you an overview of the effects that taking the plant can bring, we have explained three very exciting possible effects in more detail below.
Improved sperm quality
Taking Maca can lead to improved sperm quality. This was investigated in a study in 2001. Men who took Maca daily showed a higher sperm concentration and a higher sperm volume in a semen sample. The sample used in the study was yellow Maca (1).
This was confirmed by another study. In this study, 9 healthy men took a daily dose of 1500 or 3000 mg of Maca root. The observation period was 4 months. It was observed that the sperm count of the men increased by 84%. The sperm concentration also increased by 35% (9).
An unfulfilled desire to have children is often related to the fact that sperm are too weak or too few. Black maca in particular has a positive effect on sperm quality and can thus help with infertility.
Increased hormone production
Especially during the menopause, it can often happen that the hormone production in our body decreases. Many women therefore suffer from a lack of oestrogen and progesterone, the female hormones.
Studies have shown that taking Maca can stimulate hormone production. Postmenopausal female participants in the study took between three and nine months of daily Maca (2).
This lowered follicle-stimulating hormone while increasing luteinising hormone. The increase in luteinising hormone stimulated the production of oestrogen and progesterone again (2).
Whether maca root has effects on memory performance was tested in a study on mice. In the experiment, the mice that had black Maca in them were better at finding their way out of the maze than the mice without Maca (3).
However, no studies of this kind have yet been conducted in humans. So it has not yet been confirmed that Maca also has an effect on memory performance in humans.
How can Maca root be taken?
Maca root can be taken both in the form of tablets and capsules. The root is ground in its dried state. Taking the plant in capsules makes the dosage very easy and is recommended for long-term use.
Since the powder can taste very unusual to some people, the raw powder can also be mixed into fruit juice, for example. In addition, there are various recipes in which Maca can be mixed in or which make it easy to take Maca with meals.
When and for whom is it useful to take Maca root?
Maca can be taken in small quantities by anyone to strengthen their health and well-being. However, Maca is particularly suitable for people who want to counteract their hormonal imbalance and prevent hormonal deficiencies. The plant helps to regulate the human hormone balance.
Especially for women in the premenopause, daily intake supports and can counteract complaints of progesterone deficiency such as irregular period cycles and even depression (7).
But not only women, but also men who suffer from fertility problems can benefit from taking maca root. This is because taking it can improve sperm quality (1).
How much do Maca root products cost?
Maca root can be bought through various shops on the internet for as little as 5 euros per 100 grams. Prices range up to 10 euros per 100 grams. So you should spend at least 5 to 10 euros for high-quality Maca. Depending on the dosage, the prices can also be higher.
The following table should give you an overview.
|Dosage||Price (per 100 grams)|
|Maca 1000mg||5 to 10 Euro|
|Maca 4000mg||7 to 10 Euro|
|Maca 8000mg||8 to 18 Euro|
If the price of the powder seems too cheap, you should check whether additional harmful substances have been added to the powder or whether it is a Maca substitute. Maca substitutes are often used in China and do not have the same effect as traditional Maca.
What are the side effects of taking Maca root?
Taking Maca root is basically harmless. In several studies conducted with the plant, none could confirm that taking 3 to 4 grams of the plant daily has side effects (4).
A daily dosage of less than 5 grams should therefore not cause any negative effects, with the exception of people who suffer from sensitive digestion and people who suffer from adrenal insufficiency. Due to the high potassium content of black maca, people with adrenal insufficiency should be careful with the dosage (10).
Where can I buy Maca root?
Maca powder can be bought in many different supermarkets, superfood shops, pharmacies and numerous online shops. The online shops mainly include sports nutrition providers and online retailers with a wide range of products, such as Amazon.
In the following, we have listed some shops that offer Maca:
What types of Maca root are there?
The different types of maca root are distinguished by the colour of the plant. There is black, red, yellow and purple Maca root. Depending on the colour, the maca root has a different amount of nutrients.
To explain the difference between the individual colours in more detail, the following table will help you.
|Type||Ease of cleansing|
|Black maca root||Black maca is often used to improve male sperm quality.|
|Red Maca Root||The red plant can cause regression of an enlarged prostate.|
|Purple Maca_root||Purple Maca root is rarely sold by variety and is usually mixed together with red Maca root. It can counteract complaints of progesterone deficiency.|
|Yellow maca root||Yellow maca was already very popular with the Incas because of its sweetness and is often used for prostate complaints.|
In the following section we have explained the different types and their special effects in more detail.
Black maca root
The black Maca root is the rarest Maca variety. The plant is often used to have a positive effect on the libido. In men, it can lead to better sperm quality. Sperm count and sperm motility can be increased by the plant (5).
Red maca root
Red maca root is rarely dosed separately. It is usually mixed together with the purple maca root. Together with the purple maca root, it has the highest content of nutrients. It also has a very high potassium content and can therefore lower blood pressure.
Red maca can be beneficial for men who have an enlarged prostate. Taking it can cause the prostate to regress. Causes of an enlarged prostate can be effects from taking anabolic steroids or signs of age (6).
This assumption can be traced back to a study from 2012. The study was conducted in rats that had an enlarged prostate due to artificial testosterone administration (6).
Purple maca root
Purple maca root, together with red maca root, has the highest content of nutrients and is usually mixed together with red maca root.
Purple maca root can be very helpful for women in the premenopause, because it increases the female hormone progesterone as well as the FSH level. By taking it, the symptoms of progesterone deficiency, such as irregular period cycles and even depression, can be counteracted (7).
Yellow maca root
Yellow maca root is a yellow to beige coloured plant. It can lead to greater bone density as well as have an antidepressant effect. The yellow plant is often used to counteract prostate problems (8). It also improves fertility and libido in both sexes.
How should maca root be dosed?
How much of the Maca root should be taken daily depends on age and weight. The daily dose can contain from 1 to 5 grams.
More Maca can be taken by bodybuilders, for example. For advanced athletes, the daily dose can go up to 10 grams per day.
What alternatives are there to Maca root?
Maca is a very special plant, with special ingredients and a special production method. For this reason, there is no other plant that has a similar composition to maca root.
In China, a so-called Maca substitute is often used. However, chemicals and pesticides are often added to this Maca substitute. You should therefore be particularly careful here.
What recipes can be prepared with Maca root?
The powder of the maca root can be added very well in various recipes. The powder is particularly popular in smoothies and shakes. But the powder can also be easily mixed into oatmeal porridge, puddings, cakes or biscuits.
Since maca can have a very strong or vegetable-like taste, the recipes are ideal for consuming maca with relish.
Image source: Popov / 123rf
Tafuri S, Cocchia N, Carotenuto D, Vassetti A, Staropoli A, Mastellone V, Peretti V, Ciotola F, Albarella S, Del Prete C, Palumbo V, Esposito L, Vinale F, Ciani F. Chemical Analysis of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) and Its Effects on Redox Status and on Reproductive Biology in Stallions †. Molecules. 2019 May 23;24(10):1981. doi: 10.3390/molecules24101981. PMID: 31126050; PMCID: PMC6571579.
Meissner HO, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski J. Use of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun;1(1):33-45. PMID: 23674952; PMCID: PMC3614576.
Rubio J, Yucra S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF. Dose-response effect of black maca (Lepidium meyenii) in mice with memory impairment induced by ethanol. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2011 Oct;21(8):628-34. doi: 10.3109/15376516.2011.583294. Epub 2011 Jul 22. PMID: 21780878.
Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-44. PMID: 20691074; PMCID: PMC2928177.
Gonzales GF, Nieto J, Rubio J, Gasco M. Effect of Black maca (Lepidium meyenii) on one spermatogenic cycle in rats. Andrologia. 2006 Oct;38(5):166-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2006.00733.x. PMID: 16961569.
Gonzales C, Leiva-Revilla J, Rubio J, Gasco M, Gonzales GF. Effect of red maca (Lepidium meyenii) on prostate zinc levels in rats with testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia. Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:362-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2011.01190.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18. PMID: 21762188.
Meissner HO, Reich-Bilinska H, Mscisz A, Kedzia B. Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women - Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun;2(2):143-59. PMID: 23674976; PMCID: PMC3614596.
Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. doi: 10.1155/2012/193496. Epub 2011 Oct 2. PMID: 21977053; PMCID: PMC3184420.
Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Gonzales C, Chung A, Vega K, Villena A. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian J Androl. 2001 Dec;3(4):301-3. PMID: 11753476.
Clegg DJ, Headley SA, Germain MJ. Impact of Dietary Potassium Restrictions in CKD on Clinical Outcomes: Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet. Kidney Med. 2020 Jun 15;2(4):476-487. doi: 10.1016/j.xkme.2020.04.007. PMID: 32775988; PMCID: PMC7406842.