Lepidium meyenii, also called maca, is a vegetable belonging to the broccoli family. It is a herbaceous biennial plant native to the high Andes of Peru. The root resembles a turnip and has a history of being used as an aphrodisiac. Due to it’s unique properties it considered one of the world’s natural "super foods." It is very rich in nutrients (has a higher calcium level than milk) and is very nutrient dense. This species has been used for centuries dating back to Inca warriors who took the herb before battle.
Like turnips, the root is boiled and eaten and is very tasty. The root is also dried and ground into flour which can be used in baking and smoothies, and the leaves are used raw like lettuce. Some people even ferment the plant to produce a weak type of beer.
Consuming maca often makes people feel more "alive", energetic, and leaves them with a sense of well-being, all of which are thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate "feel good" endorphins.
Other Names: maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, ayak willku, Lepidium peruvianum, Andean Ginseng, Inca vegetable, Peruvian vegetable