Mostly anecdotal in nature ranging back to ancient Incan times, maca’s claim to fame as an aphrodisiac has yet to be studied in any depth, but some limited trials have indicated it may actually help both men and women with low libido while easing menopausal symptoms and even reducing enlarged prostates.
How is it effective? As a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, and calcium, maca may work by increasing intake of some of these micronutrients but exactly how it performs its magic is as of yet, scientifically unknown. Amounts required in supplement form to see results are debatable as well and maca has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA. Still, many swear by its miraculous effects.
Maca’s growing demand has made it easy to procure in stores where supplements are found both online and off. Whether actually eating the Andean root as Peruvians have done for centuries versus popping the pill form has any advantage is unknown, but its safety as a food staple can be pretty much assured with no reported side effects. As a supplement, however, processing could interfere with potency and may pose concerns that could be subject to future safety regulations. In the meantime, be sure to alert your doctor if you plan on testing out maca’s claims, just in case.