Maca, also called Ginseng Andin, Peruvian Ginseng, Lepidium meyenii, or Lepidium peruvianum, is a relative of radish and smells similar to butterscotch.

Maca is a plant that grows on the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains. It's been cultivated as a root vegetable for at least 3000 years. The root is also used to make medicine, but there isn't enough reliable information available to know how maca might work.

People take maca by mouth for male infertility, health problems after menopause, increasing sexual desire in healthy people, and other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses.
When taken by mouth: Maca is likely safe for most people when eaten in foods. Maca is possibly safe when taken in larger amounts as medicine, short-term. Doses up to 3 grams daily seem to be safe when taken for up to 4 months.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if maca is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by estrogen, do not use these extracts.


There is interest in using maca for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Maca has most often been used by adults in doses of 1.5-3.5 grams by mouth daily for 6-16 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Maca interacts with any medicines. Before taking Maca, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 16/11/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 12/07/2022 05:19:07. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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