Erectile Dysfunction and Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca is a member of the potato family and maca root is a good source of some amino acids, as well as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamins C and E.
Research Evidence on Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca has been advertised as "herbal Viagra," but there is not yet well-developed evidence to support this claim.
In one study in rats, use of maca enhanced male sexual function1. There is one published human trial as well. In this small, 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, use of maca at 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg increased male libido.2 While this was an interesting finding, the study did not report benefits in male sexual function—just in desire. Since loss of sexual function is a more common problem in men than loss of sexual desire, these results do not justify the "herbal Viagra" claim. Contrary to some reports, maca does not appear to affect testosterone levels.3
- Cicero AF, Piacente S, Plaza A, et al. Hexanic Maca extract improves rat sexual performance more effectively than methanolic and chloroformic Maca extracts. Andrologia. 2002;34:177-179.
- Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Vega K, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002;34:367-95.
- Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Vega K, Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. J Endocrinol. 2003;176:163-168.