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Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable used both as food and medicine. It is sometimes called "Peruvian ginseng," not because the plants have any botanical relationship, but because their traditional uses are somewhat similar. Traditionally, maca has been said to increase energy and stamina, and enhance both fertility and sex drive in men and women.
Maca is widely marketed for improving male sexual function , female sexual function , and both male fertility and female fertility . However, at present there is no reliable evidence that it actually provides any benefits at all.
Much of the evidence for maca comes from animal studies. In one study in rats, use of maca enhanced male sexual function. 1 Animal studies have had mixed results regarding male and female fertility. 2 3 4 5 6 There are two published human trials on maca, performed by a single research group.
In one small 12-week, double-blind , placebo-controlled study, use of maca at 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg increased male libido. 7 While this was an interesting finding, the study did not report benefits in male sexual function, just desire. Since...
In the two reported human clinical trials, use of maca has not led to any serious adverse effects. However, this herb has not undergone comprehensive safety testing. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.