Maca is an indigenous Andean plant that belongs to the brassica (mustard) family. Maca is a vegetable that has been cultivated as a root crop for at least 2,000 years and used both nutritionally and medicinally. It can be found wild in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, but has primarily been cultivated in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. According to folk belief, Maca is an aphrodisiac and enhances sexual drive in humans and domestic animals, which tends to be reduced at higher altitudes.
Maca is known as an adaptogen, broadly contributing to overall well being and a healthy mood. Additionally, maca root has been touted to normalize energy levels and endurance and support a healthy libido.
Latin Name: Lepidium meyenii
Also known as: Maca
Active Constituents of Maca: Alkaloids, Saponins, and Tannins
Parts Used: Root
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Note: Maca may alter the levels of sex hormones and may interfere with the effects of herbs taken for oral contraception. Glucosinolates may cause goiter if taken in excess combined with a low-iodine diet.