At Balanced Nature we believe in using the most powerful ingredients Mother Nature has blessed our world with.
Our earth blossoms with good things that our ancient ancestors harvested and applied for health and well-being. We have lost so much of this knowledge through the advent of modern medicine, which while undoubtedly a force for good at times, has also dimmed our understanding of natural healing tools.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) is one such superfood. It grows at high altitude of 7,000 to 11,000 feet in the Andes Mountains of Peru, making it the highest altitude growing plant in the world. A staple of the Peruvian diet, records show it being used, both for food and as a herbal supplement, for at least 3,000 years. The plant itself is related to the radish, with an appealing odour similar to butterscotch. Interestingly, Maca is the only local plant which grows at such a high altitude (besides potatoes) – proving again that treasures in life are often found by climbing upwards!
Legend has it that the Inca warriors consumed the root of the Maca plant before going into battle and it was also widely lauded as a libido-enhancing aphrodisiac, known as the ‘Peruvian ginseng’. Modern athletes still turn to the supplement today to increase endurance and focus. The power plant was so valued in ancient times that the Spanish colonists in South America accepted the plant as a tax payment in lieu of gold! They first encountered the plants qualities by feeding it to their weary horses and witnessing miraculous stamina and fertility amongst the previously weakened steeds.
There are three main types of Maca root, all of which contain astonishing health benefits.
Here are their main qualities by colour:
Yellow Maca: (can also be a white-ish colour): This is the most commonly used Maca, favoured in Peru and widely grown. It is well known as a libido enhancer.
Black Maca: A powerful energy and stamina boosting aid. There is evidence that it contains the strongest neuroprotective qualities improving memory and concentration. It can also help the immune system in fighting infections and common colds.
Red Maca: Valued for its medicinal qualities including prostate health enhancing and increasing bone density. Packed with antioxidants, this root is a mood lifter, relieving stress and even symptoms of depression.
Research has shown all Maca to be a valuable hormone balancer as well as aiding with the symptoms of menopause such as PMS.
When we discovered Maca’s story and benefits we knew we had to incorporate it into Balanced Nature’s products and have used both the black and red variety to infuse one of our raw chocolates. Both colours offer tangible and powerful healing properties. Maca gives the chocolate both a distinctive taste and a fantastic health boost – a double bonus! Our Maca Raw Chocolate is the only one of its kind on the market and we are excited about the impact it will have.
We use only organic powdered root from a trusted source so as not to compromise the benefits of this vitality-filled ingredient. The root itself can be dried and stored for up to seven years without spoiling.
Mainly used in powdered form, Maca contains a potent mix of carbohydrates and protein as well as magnesium, calcium and iron. It is credited by leading fitness figures with helping reduce weight and muscle growth in training, another example of reaping the benefits of ancient knowledge. Other qualities include a positive impact on hormonal cycles including menopausal issues and prostate health, as well as blood oxygenation. The minerals and vitamins present in Maca root are invaluable to a balanced, life-giving diet in today’s world. This extraordinary natural gift is a powerful adaptogen, which, in simple terms, means it contains the elements to balance and stabilize the body’s muscular, cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as aiding lymphatic health. Over 20 amino acids provide essential building blocks for the body. For those struggling with blood sugar issues, Maca has been shown to both significantly increase glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar – great news for those with diabetes or hypoglycemia. Unlike many other boosting substances for muscle and energy, such as anabolic steroids, Maca boasts no chemicals that interfere with normal endocrine function.
Maca also regulates the hypothamlus, helping the pituitary gland to properly function, which is another key element in balancing focus and energy – and anxiety and depression can also be alleviated. The nutrients in Maca have long been valued for their healing qualities and can help keep bones and teeth healthy. We have also heard testimonies of acne and skin blemishes clearing up with regular Maca use and, for any potential explorers out there, it has been shown to help the skin withstand extreme temperatures and conditions with UV protection abilities – qualities that would have been precious high in the Andes Mountains!
We would love to hear any experiences with Maca root and how it has helped you in your journey towards better health.
In the meantime, click here to order our newly launched Maca chocolate.
Peter and Julia