Dr. goldberg - a secret named maca
A SECRET NAMED MACA
Taken from: Discovery Health, Copyright 2001 Discovery Communications Inc. 2001 LatinSalud.com
There are vegetables that have such an extraordinary capacity to adapt to and survive in the most inhospitable climes, that a Russian professor found himself obliged to create a new word to name them. He gave the name “adaptogens” to these medicinal plants that, due to their active properties, help human beings to confront stress, from within or without, allowing the body to maintain its equilibrium.
Peruvian maca is one of these: a natural energizer, a powerful tonic that improves physical output in a non-specific way. In other words, it reinforces the immunological system and increases brain capability, bringing about a general improvement in body functions. It is cultivated and flourishes between 4 and 5 thousand meters above sea level in the Central Peruvian Andes, at temperatures oscillating between 20 and 25 degrees below zero, according to the time of day and the season.
“It has been shown that it acts as a tonic, a stimulant, and that it possesses phyto-oestrogens. Its aphrodisiac properties are under study and as yet no conclusions have been drawn from the research undertaken,” affirms Dr. Hugo Golberg, Vice-President of the Argentine Association of Phyto-medicine. As a man of science, Golberg bases his statement on the conclusions which have been 100% proved by his colleagues. It is known that maca has a history of more than three thousand years and that the Incas were the first to farm it. It represented 2/3 of their food, and they valued its invigorating properties, since it combated both physical and mental weariness – they even used it to feed their warriors. They also used it to stimulate fertility in both men and women.
An aphrodisiac that improves sexual functioning and improves fertility? In the United States alone, it is calculated that seven million men take Viagra regularly. How many millions around the world would opt for a natural version, Peruvian maca? The pharmaceutical industry has taken note of this, and there are several studies under way on the small tuber that reproduces in the icy heights.
Its botanical name is Lepidium peruviani or Meyenii Walp. It is an herbaceous plant (of the carrot, radish and parsnip family) whose root is a tuber, similar to the potato in appearance. From time immemorial, this root has been stored in dried form in Peru and is used in the preparation of various foods. One can find maca sweets, desserts, syrup, jams and wine.
Maca acts on the circulatory and urinary systems, the liver and the skin. It also affects the reproductive and nervous systems and metabolism in general. It is an effective emetic (vomiting) and de-wormer (attacks parasites).
Chemical studies on the nutritional value show that it contains 10% protein, 7.97% fat, 6.14% fiber, 81% sugars, 4.5% minerals (including calcium, iron, phosphorus). Among others it contains vitamins B1, B2 and C.
Today maca is commercialized as a food supplement in the form of capsules containing a dried extract of the vegetable. Besides the country of origin, the most important markets are Europe and the United states.
Compared with ginseng, the natural tonic par excellence
consumed world-wide, maca has the same ability to stimulate the organism and improve performance.
“It acts as a tonic,” argues Golberg, “because it improves every function in the body, by stimulating a better usage of glucose, the energy source our body needs in order to function, in terms of both cerebral and physical functioning. Maca facilitates the entry of glucose into the cells when a situation requiring energy arises.”
Golberg explains that it is also being studied for possible hormonal treatment. “It would seem to have certain molecules, the photo-estrogens, with the same structure as natural estrogens, in both men and women, tests are being run on women in the menopausal period, who need hormone replacement therapy, and so far this has given good results since it eliminates “hot flashes”, and improves osteoporosis and the emotional state in general.”
Another of the proven active principles of maca is its virtues as an adaptogen. In this context, the specialist explained that it is a “leveler of stress since it acts on the hypophysis, the hypothalamus and the supra-renal glands that produce the well-known adrenaline. Maca levels out the release of adrenaline, which allows greater adaptability in situations of stress. In chronic stress maca balances out the production of adrenaline, the ‘fight or flight’ hormone.”
In conclusion, it has been proven that maca is a tonic, a repairer of tissues, and an effective stimulant. Its properties as an aphrodisiac, giving potency to the reproductive system, are still under study. “Most studies have been carried out on sheep, rams and humans. In females, ovarian activity was studied. It was noted that when they were fed on a maca diet, they had more and better offspring. The rams showed greater fertility. From this aspect it acts as a fertilizing agent. But we must wait,” says Golberg.
With the exception of those who show an allergy to the plant, maca has no adverse effects or interactions with other substances. However, it should be avoided by those on hormone therapy since it could either potentate or inhibit the hormonal effect. This is most common in women taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
Thus, doctors always recommend that, even when over-the-counter medicines are concerned, the dose should be stipulated and controlled by a professional.
“No-one should self-prescribe. The chemicals elaborated by medicinal plants are just as powerful as any chemically synthetic medicine. One must have respect for plants because they are living organisms that constantly generate substances. They are not innocuous. According to the dosage, they can provide the most potent poison or the best remedy. We always emphasize that toxicity in a plant is not the fault of the plant itself but because of misuse, of an incorrect dosage, the wrong moment of application or use in the wrong individual,” alerted Golberg.
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