EBSCO Health

Print PageSend to a Friend
Health Library Home>Natural & Alternative Treatments>Herbs & Supplements>Article

Maca

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Lepidium meyenii

Introduction

Maca is a root vegetable in the same family as turnips. It has been used to increase strength and improve sexual function in males. Maca can be eaten raw, cooked, or baked. It can also be taken as pill, powder, or extract.

Dosages

1 gram 2 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Not Be Effective

  • Menopause —may not ease symptoms C1-C3

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Sexual function —may not improve function A1, A2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take maca for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

 

References

A. Menopause

A1. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-1162.

A2. Lee MS, Shin BC, et al. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas. 2011 Nov;70(3):227-233.

B. Safety

B1. Valerio LG Jr, Gonzales GF. Toxicological aspects of the South American herbs cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) and Maca (Lepidium meyenii) : a critical synopsis. Toxicol Rev. 2005;24(1):11-35.

C. Sexual Function

C1. Dording CM, Fisher L, et al. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-191.

C2. Zenico T, Cicero AF, et al. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia. 2009;41(2):95-99.

C3. Shin BC, Lee MS, et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/29/2020