The climate atop the Peruvian Andes is a harsh one, few plants, and few people, can survive the environment. However, there is one vigorous plant, Lepidium meyenii, more popularly known as Peruvian ginseng or maca, that thrives at the 4000-meter altitude. Its vitality in this remote region may explain why maca root’s use in Peru as an aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer extends hundreds, if not thousands, of years back into Peru’s history.
Despite the long-standing position in Peruvian society, it wasn’t until the last twenty years that interest in maca root’s powerful aphrodisiac qualities spread across the rest of the globe. Now, maca root is an ingredient found in many male enhancement products.
Many Men are Unhappy With Their Erectile Response
Erectile problems affect many men in the United States. Age, andropause, fitness, medications, and stress all contribute to the problem. Although there are plenty of pharmaceutical drugs that claim to provide a solution, they also provide nasty side effects. Many men who are unhappy with their sexual function instead look to more safe alternative medicine techniques to support their body in performing its own natural abilities. Acupuncture is often an appropriate therapy, some men have reported success with reflexology. Herbal support products are one of the most popular therapies.
Does Maca Support Erectile Response?
Now, before investing in a male enhancement product, it’s important to do your own research and be an informed consumer. Unfortunately, the marketplace is filled with sugar-pill salesman out to make a quick buck. In fact, according to Thorne Research, an organization based out of Idaho, while most “male enhancement” products have not undergone the investigation necessary to support efficacy claims, maca may be one herb that actually does support a healthy erectile response. 
Other research has shown that maca has favorable effects on mood, and that can translate to an improved erectile response. A double-blind, clinical trial that included 50 Italian men with poor erectile response found maca supplementation to significantly improve their overall and sexual well-being. 
The satisfaction among those who use maca may have two parts. Not only does maca help get the train moving, it helps it arrive at the station. When researchers at the Division of Urology at the University of North Carolina conducted a study in which male rats were given maca for thirty days, they reported observing significant and lasting ejaculation improvement. 
Maca and Sperm Quality
Maca’s sexual health benefits are not limited to its role in encouraging healthy erectile response. Research even suggests that maca root may help improve sperm quality.  Peru’s Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia conducted an experiment in which nine men aged 24-44 who were given a maca extract for four months showed improvements in sperm quality and semen volume. 
Supplementing with Maca
Whether you’re out of shape or aging and experiencing the symptoms of andropause, it’s never too late to turn the ship around and put the bounce back in your step. Take inventory of your life. If your diet is out of whack, clean it up. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleansed your body, do it now. If you don’t exercise, start exercising. Movement and motion is a surefire way to increase tanked energy levels. If you or your mate is unhappy with your sexual performance, then now is the time to fix it. Natural herbs and botanicals like maca root, avena sativa, tribulus terrestris, and tongkat ali have helped give many men the reinvigoration they’re searching for.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- McKay D. Nutrients and botanicals for erectile dysfunction: examining the evidence. Altern Med Rev. 2004 Mar;9(1):4-16.
- Zenico T, Cicero AF, Valmorri L, Mercuriali M, Bercovich E. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia. 2009 Apr;41(2):95-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2008.00892.x.
- Lentz A, Gravitt K, Carson CC, Marson L. Acute and chronic dosing of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on male rat sexual behavior. J Sex Med. 2007 Mar;4(2):332-9; discussion 339-40.
- Gonzales GF, Gonzales C, Gonzales-Castañeda C. Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru–from tradition to science. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Dec;16(6):373-80. doi: 10.1159/000264618. Epub 2009 Dec 16.
- Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Gonzales C, Chung A, Vega K, Villena A. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian J Androl. 2001 Dec;3(4):301-3.