Shaped like a turnip but the size of a beet, the maca root was considered by ancient people to be a magical food. Used by the ancient shamans of Peru, the root is known to enhance the stamina of warriors during battles.
Today, maca root is sometimes used by athletes as a natural alternative to steroids to improve stamina, strength and performance.
As an excellent bio-available source of calcium (and hence is great for vegans!), consuming maca root can also help you build strong bones.
A very important health benefit of maca root is in helping to rebalance your endocrine system (e.g. your adrenal glands, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, pituitary gland, hypothalamus and ovaries). The adaptogenic functions of this miraculous food mean that it can help promote hormonal production when and where it is needed, and inhibit production when there is excess.
As such, maca root has been used traditionally to increase libido, as well as by menopausal women for rebalancing their hormones.
 Collins, Elise Marie. An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods: A Shopper’s Companion. San Francisco, California: Conari Press, 2009. Print.
Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.