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A small clinical trial found that healthy men who took dried maca powder had increased sperm counts and enhanced sperm motility.1
The herbs discussed here are considered members of a controversial category known as adaptogens, which are thought to increase the body's resistance to stress, and to generally enhance physical and mental functioning.1, 2 Many animal studies have shown that various herbal adaptogens have protective effects against physically stressful experiences,3, 4 but whether these findings are relevant to human stress experiences is debatable.
Animal studies have shown that maca can reduce the negative effects of stress; however, whether maca is effective in humans is unknown.5
1. Brekhman II, Dardymov IV. New substances of plant origin which increase nonspecific resistance. Annu Rev Pharmacol 1969;9:419-30 [review].
2. Panossian A, Wikman G, Wagner H. Plant adaptogens. III. Earlier and more recent aspects and concepts on their mode of action. Phytomedicine 1999;6:287-300 [review].
3. Rege NN, Thatte UM, Dahanukar SA. Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytother Res 1999;13:275-91 [review].
4. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1994;1:63-76.
5. Lopez-Fando A, Gomez-Serranillos MP, Iglesias I, et al. Lepidium peruvianum Chacon restores homeostasis impaired by restraint stress. Phytother Res 2004;18:471-4.
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable in the mustard family, related to radishes and turnips. Used as food and medicine in the Andes Mountains of Peru, it is not known to occur naturally anywhere else in the world. The four major cultivars of maca are red, black, cream, and purple; none has been definitely proven to be medicinally superior to any other.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.