If you’re interested in natural health, chances are you’ve heard about maca. This is a Peruvian food staple. But maca is also used medicinally.
Maca is taken to improve physical stamina and to balance the hormones, in both men and women. In addition, this Andean herbal remedy is reputed to aid fertility. In fact, according to one story, Spanish settlers who had trouble conceiving were told to eat maca. A handful of scientific studies now support this traditional use of maca.
Some herbalists believe maca, widely consumed in the Peruvian Andes, is an adaptogen. This means it falls into a category of plants, believed capable of mitigating physical and psychological stress.
Raw Maca or Gelatinized Maca?
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I used to recommend a well-known brand of raw maca. It came from a company I trust and purchase from often. But I needed to pull that product review after learning more about the benefits of gelatinized maca powder. This is lightly processed maca root, which breaks down the parts of the plant that can’t be digested. But it still preserves the nutrients.
From what I understand, Peruvians generally don’t eat maca raw. The maca plant is a tuber, similar to potatoes. So in the Andes, maca is cooked before it’s consumed. Some people who’ve eaten raw maca say it upsets their stomach. So, if you’re going to buy maca, I recommend getting the gelatinized version.
There are a number of other respected brands of maca that I feel comfortable enough to write about and suggest to my readers. One of them is Gaia gelatinized maca.
Raw Maca Root vs Gelatinized
Gelatinized maca means that it’s been processed to remove the starch. There’s also a class of chemicals in raw maca known as goitrogens. These can cause stomach cramps. In fact, one large authority site on maca advises people with sensitive digestive systems to eat only raw maca.
Another potential benefit of gelatizined maca powder is that the nutrients may be more concentrated. Processing raw maca may also make the nutrients more bio-available. People living in the Andes have had centuries of experience with maca. So
Knowing what I know about maca root, I have only the gelatinized version of maca in my house. I’d no more eat raw maca than I would eat a raw potato. From my research, and granted I’m not a doctor or a professionally trained health expert, I don’t think maca is intended to be eaten raw. But others may have a different opinion.
Where to Buy Maca Root Pills
Maca is native to the Andes, where it’s been used as a staple for ages. In recent years, this super food has begun to travel the globe. It’s also being cultivated outside of its native region. Nowadays, it’s possible to find maca that originates in China.
However, Chinese safety standards have come under fire. So I prefer to buy maca that comes from the Andes. Another advantage to Peruvian maca is that plants grown in their native habitats are generally healthier. So in addition to making sure I’m getting gelatinized maca powder, I also look for where it originates.
Maca root capsules are widely available online. Some people like to take these as a dietary supplement. However, I prefer to consume maca powder, folded into a fruit smoothie. Maca has a butterscotch-like taste. So it lends a delicious dessert-like flavor to a smoothie.
Where to Buy Gelatinized Maca Powder
The brand of maca I currently have in my house is sold by Gaia, and is USDA-certified organic. (I totally trust this company’s high-quality supplements.) This maca is also organically certified by Oregon Tilth, and says “Product of Peru” right on the label, which also notes the maca is gelatinized by steam and pressure, resulting in concentrated maca that’s more easily digested.
Maca also comes in different colors. Most of the maca grown in Peru has light-colored roots, and yields a finished product that’s tan. But you can also find red maca and black maca. The Gaia maca that I purchased is light brown.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.