Dried Maca (Lepidium meyenii) root has been used for centuries by South American cultures to help relieve stress, as an aphrodisiac, and to enhance fertility in men and women. It gained popularity over Maca's use to prevent fertility problems in farm animals located in the high altitude mountains. There are clinical studies that demonstrate Maca's benefits as an aphrodisiac in men and on fertility in men thereby supporting traditional claims of enhanced fertility.
There are no side effects reported for Maca dried root and this has led many to consider the dried root as safe. It is part of the Brassicaceae family. Therefore, avoid Maca if you have allergies to other plants within this family: i.e., broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.
Only products made from the dried root should be taken. There are reports of gastrointestinal pain following the ingestion of the fresh root so be careful when selecting a product that contains Maca.
Maca has been shown to interfere with the hematology testing for blood coagulation. It decreases the coagulation values and this could falsely lead to lowering your anticoagulation medications. Therefore do not take Maca if you are taking any anticoagulation therapy. Since Maca is a stimulant, avoid taking with other stimulants as this could result in over stimulation of the central nervous system. Due to the stimulant effects, be careful if you are taking medication for hypertension.
Maca has traditionally been used for enhancing fertility and studies have shown that it has hormonal activity. Based on this activity, avoid taking Maca if you have a hormonal-dependent cancer.
Response by Guy Chamberland M.Sc., Ph.D.