Maca Root Information


Maca (Lepidim meyinii), a member of the Cruciferae family, thrives in the highlands of the Andes mountains. For centuries, Maca has been grown by indigenous people as a food source but recent interest in the plant as a health tonic and fertility aid has lead to its wider cultivation.


Maca has a large, tuberous root that is similar in texture to its close relative, the radish. Above ground, the plant is low-growing perennial with inconspicuous, mat-like foliage.


Grown at altitudes of up to 14,500 feet, Maca grows in conditions unsuitable for most agricultural crops.

Food Use

Like many tubers, Maca contains sugar, starch and protein and they are rich in iron and iodine. When dried, the roots can be stored for several years.

Medicinal Use

According to the Langone Medical Center at New York University, Maca's reputation as a fertility aid and sexual function enhancer is largely unproven.

Legal Issues

Two U.S. companies have patented extracts of the Maca plant. These patents apply to active ingredients of the plant, not the plant itself.


  • American University: Maca
  • NYU Langone Medical Center: Maca
  • National Academy Press: Maca
Keywords: maca, sexual function enhancer, fertility aid

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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.