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Does Maca help?

Dr Louisa Draper

"Maca is a popular supplement sold for a variety of ailments, including ED. There is no scientific evidence that it improves sexual function in men."

Dr Louisa Draper

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Maca is one of numerous herbal supplements marketed as a treatment for male sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction. What is Maca and does it help?

Maca is a plant which originated in the Andes and which grows in Peru. It looks and tastes a bit like a potato and it is a staple food in regions of high altitude where little else grows. Maca is a starchy food and in some parts of Peru, the local population eats Maca everyday. The idea that Maca could help with sexual problems goes back to the ancient Incan culture which regarded Maca as a remedy to not only boost a low libido but also increase physical stamina. The Incas also believed that the humble Maca could help you achieve a clearer frame of mind. Just how much of the legend is true?

Is maca worth a try?

Today, maca is sold as a powder and in tablet form. It is a popular supplement taken by men who hope to improve their sexual function and women who are suffering from symptoms associated with the menopause. Inspired by the many anecdotes and beliefs surrounding Maca, scientists have tried to establish whether the remedy actually works.

A trial in rats confirmed that it does indeed increase the male’s libido - but only in rats. Trials in humans have remained inconclusive and many were not carried out to scientific standard. In any case, even if there is a small chance maca may increase your libido, there has been no evidence whatsoever to suggest that it also improves your erections. It is also worth noting that the slight increase in libido reported during human trials has been attributed to the placebo effect rather than the medicinal properties of the Maca.

Does it help men with erectile dysfunction?

Most men who experiment with maca do so not because they are unhappy with their sex drive but because they are having trouble getting and keeping an erection. Unfortunately, maca is unlikely to help with that, even though sellers may try to convince you otherwise. Erectile dysfunction affects many men and most feel uncomfortable approaching their doctor in search of a treatment which works.

This plays in the hands of online businesses offering maca alongside other herbal viagras. While it may be tempting to go for a “natural cure” rather than seek professional medical help, you should stick with the following advice: When it comes to your health, you are better off trusting trained physicians than relying on the legends of the ancient Incas.