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EFFECT OF A LIPIDIC EXTRACT FROM Lepidium meyenii
ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN MICE AND RATS

BO LIN ZHENG, KAN HE, CALVIN HYUNGCHAN KIM, LINGLING ROGERS, YU SHAO,
ZHEN YEN HUANG, YANG LU, SUI JUN YAN, LU CHENG QIEN, AND QUN YI ZHEN.

ABSTRACT

Objectives:
To determine the effect of oral administration of a purified lipidic extract from Lepidium meyenii (MacaPure M-01 and M-02) on the number of complete intromissions and mating in normal mice, and on the latent period of erection (LPE) in rats with erectile dysfunction.

Methods:
Mice and rats were randomly divided into several experimental and control groups. A 10% ethanol suspension of M-01 and M-02 was orally administered for 22 days to the experimental groups according to the dosage specified by the experimental design. On day 22, 30 minutes after the dose was administered to the male mice, 2 virgin female mice were placed with 1 male mouse. The number of complete intromissions of each male mouse in 3 hours was recorded. In an assessment of 1 day of mating, each male mouse was cohabitated with 5 estrous female mice overnight. The number of sperm-positive females was recorded. The LPE was measured to assess the sexual function in rats with erectile dysfunction. By using a YSD-4G multifunction instrument, an electric pulse at 20 V was applied to stimulate the ratÕs penis, and the duration from the start of the stimulus to full erection was measured in seconds as the LPE. Results. In the normal male mice, the number of complete intromissions during the 3-hour period was 16.33 ± 1.78, 46.67 ± 2.39, and 67.01 ± 2.55 for the control group, M-01 group, and M-02 group, respectively. In the assessment of mating, the number of sperm-positive females increased from 0.6 ± 0.7 in the control group to 1.5 ± 0.5 in the M-01 experimental group. The LPE of male rats with erectile dysfunction was 112 ± 13 seconds with a regular diet (control group). The oral administration of M-01 at a dose of 180 or 1800 mg/kg body weight and M-02 at a dose of 45, 180, or 1800 mg/kg body weight reduced the LPE to 54 ± 12 seconds, 54 ± 13 seconds, 71 ± 12 seconds, and 41 ± 13 seconds, respectively. The LPE of the surgical rats treated with M-01 at the lowest dose (45 mg/kg) was 121 ± 12 seconds; thus, the change was not significant.

Conclusions:
Oral administration of M-01 and M-02 enhanced the sexual function of the mice and rats, as evidenced by an increase in the number of complete intromissions and the number of sperm-positive females in normal mice, and a decrease in the LPE in male rats with erectile dysfunction. The present study reveals for the first time an aphrodisiac activity of L. meyenii, an Andean Mountain herb. UROLOGY 55: 598-602, 2000. © 2000, Elsevier Science Inc.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:
The dried maca roots were collected from Peru in 1998. A voucher specimen was deposited in the Herbrio de Museo de Historia Natural Ô J. PradoÕ Un. H. S. Lima, Peru. Primary extraction was carried out using methanol or ethanol and water as a solvent by way of a proprietary extraction process. The alcohol extract was further purified through a series of chromatographic processes.[3] The resulting lipidic fractions were formulated with an excipient, such as maltodextrins or tricalcium phosphate, and were dried to a powdered extract. M-01 and M-02 were two formulas standardized in the content of macaene and macamide, novel multiunsaturated fatty acids and their amides.

The macaene and macamide of the purified standardized product, M-01 and M-02, were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, and included three new compounds, N-benzyl octanamide, N-benzyl-16-hydroxy-9-oxo -10E, 12E, 14E-octadecatrieneamide, and N-benzyl-9, 16 -dioxo-10E,12E,14E-octadecatrieneamide and 17 other analogues of macaene and macamide. The product also contained 3.72% free fatty acids, which included 0.14% caprylic acid, 0.13% capric acids, 0.97% lauric acid, 0.38% myristic acid, 0.67% palmitic acid, 0.92% palmitoleic acid, 0.17% stearic acid, 0.21% oleic acid, 0.69% linoleic acid, and 0.33% linolenic acid. Other minor constituents were 0.03% to 0.04% sterols (campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol) and 0.10% to 0.15% benzyl isothiocyanate. All of the above mentioned constituents were determined by gas chromatography - mass spectrometry. For the study of the effect of maca on mounting behavior in mice, a total of 45 male and 90 virgin female mice (a strain of Shenyang, grade II) were obtained from the Experimental Animal Center of China Medical University. The study groups included control, M-01 and M-02 groups; 15 males and 30 females were randomly placed in each group. The age range of the mice at the start of the experiment was 8 to 10 weeks; the body weight was 25 ± 1g. Each animal was identified by ear tags or color codes. The control group received a common granulated feed in 10% ethanol suspension for 22 days. A 10% ethanol suspension of M-01 and M-02 was administered twice daily by gavage to the animals in the experimental groups at a daily dosage of 40mg/g body weight for 22 days. On day 22, 30 minutes after the dose was administered to the male mice, 2 female mice were placed with 1 male in a cage kept in darkness. The male began to copulate immediately. After a sequence of precopulatory behavior, the male mounted the female from the rear and clasped his forelegs about her laterolumbar region. While clasping the female, the male palpated her side with rapid movements of his forelimbs, and simultaneously his pelvic region moved in rapid piston-like thrusts. After a final and unusually forceful thrust, the male lunged backward. This backward lunge was indicative of intromissions or complete copulation. The number of complete intromissions within 3 hours was recorded manually by an observer.[4]

For the assessment of 1 day of mating, a strain of Beijing mice (grade II) with a body weight of 24± 1 g was used. Twenty male mice were randomly divided into two groups of 10. One group served as the control and received a common granulated feed. The experimental group received oral M-01 at dose of 4g/kg body weight for 1 day only. On the same day at 5 PM, each male mouse was placed in a separate cage. The female mice were brought intro estrus with a single subcutaneous dose of estradiol benzoate and progesterone. The next morning (7:00 to 8:00 AM), a vaginal smear from each female mouse was examined under a microscope for the presence of sperm. The number of sperm-positive females in each cage was recorded. The average number of sperm-positive females was calculated for the control and experimental groups. To study the effect of maca on erectile function in rats with erectile dysfunction, 90 grade III Wistar male rats were obtained from the China Medicinal and Biological Institute. Ten rats per test article (M-01 and M-02) at three different dose levels and 10 rats each in three different vehicle control groups were used. All male rats, except the normal and testosterone-treated rats in th\e control group, were weighed and enesthetized using 4.5 mg/g body weight of 0.6% pentobarbital subcutaneously injected for the surgical removal of the testes. The body weight of the rats at the start of the experiment was 200 ± 20 g. After surgical removal, sodium penicillin (2000 U/kg body weight) was injected for 3 days (one injection daily). The control group consisted of three subgroups: normal rats, testes-removed rats, and testosterone-treated rats. The rats in the control group received a regular oral diet by gavage. The test articles were administered by gavage to the male rats at a dose of 45, 180, or 1800 mg/kg body weight for 20 days. The testosterone propionate control group consisted of normal rats injected subcutaneously with 20mg/kg body weight of testosterone propionate (one injection daily for 3 days before the experiment). On day 20, 30 minutes after dose administration, each male rat was placed in a restraining device, and an electrode of the YSD-4G multifunction instrument gave an electric pulse at 20 V to stimulate the ratÕs penis. The latent period of erection (LPE), the time to reach a full erection from start of the stimulation, was then recorded. Pairwise statistical comparisons between the control and treated groups were done with Students t test. Mean differences were considered statistically significant if P<0.05.

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RESULTS:
The Maca extracts M-01 and M-02 were orally administered to the normal male mice experimental groups at a preliminary dose of 40 mg/g body weight for 22 days. The number of complete intromissions during the 3-hour study period (after a 22-day feeding) increased to 46.67± 2.39 times (P<0.01) in the M-01 experimental group and to 67.01± 2.55 times (P<0.01) in the M-02 experimental group compared with 16.33± 1.78 times in the control group (Fig. 1 and Table 1).
In the assessment of 1 day of mating, the oral administration of M-01 at a dose of 4g/kg body weight increased the number of sperm-positive females from 0.6± 0.7 in the control group to 1.5 ± 0.5 (P< 0.01) in the M-01 experimental group (Fig.2 and Table II). In the third study, three control groups were used to evaluate the LPEs of the experimental groups. The LPE of the surgical control group was 112 ± 13 seconds. The LPE of the normal control group and testosterone-treated control group was 78 ± 13 seconds and 50 ± 12 seconds (P< 0.05 compared with the surgical group). As predicted, the surgical rats demonstrated the weakest sexual ability, as exhibited by the longest LPE values, and the testosterone-treated rats demonstrated the strongest sexual ability, as shown by the shortest LPE values. The LPE of the surgical group was reduced to 121 ± 12 seconds, 54 ± 12 seconds, and 53 ± 13 seconds when treated with M-01 at a dose of 45, 180, and 1800 mg/kg body weight, respectively. The LPE of the surgical group was reduced to 71 ± 12 seconds, 73 ± 12 seconds, and 41 ± 13 seconds when treated with M-02 at the same dose levels (Fig. 3 and Table III).

COMMENT:
Maca was widely used during the precolonial and colonial periods of Peru under the Spaniards. V‡squez de Espinoza, who visited Peru around 1598, and Cobo, who was in Peru from 1603 to 1629, gave descriptions of the plant and its uses.[5,6] H. Ruiz of the Royal Spanish Botanical Expeditions in 1777 to 1778 found it in cultivation close to Lake Junin and briefly described its use. In modern works, it is not mentioned in most of the ethnobotanical publications. Recently in Peru, Chac—n [2] and Pulgar[8] were interested in its medicinal properties.[7]
It was first observed by the Spaniards that in the Andean highlands, their domestic animals, cattle, sheep, chickens, and even their men had a reproduction rate markedly inferior to that in Spain. The chronicles frequently referred to this phenomenon and to the problems created by the lack of young animals. It was stated that Andeans recommended feeding Maca to the animals and that the Spaniards noticed the positive effects of this feed. Today, Maca is used by both Andean and other women who desire pregnancy.

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Two Andean mountain herbs, anu and mac, are both cultivated by the Andeans for their edible underground tubers, and both carry the reputation as having putative effects on human reproductive potential. In his study of the two plants, Johns[9] demonstrated that although anu and maca belong to two different plant families, each has similarities in chemical composition - both contain glucosinolates as their major secondary metabolite. Further analysis revealed that M-01 and M-02 contain benzyl isothiocyanate as the major isothiocyanate and p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate in a relatively small amount. A correlation of these compounds with fertility still requires confirmation.
In 1961, Chac—n [2] conducted a laboratory test to determine the effect of maca in rats. However, the experimental design was far from satisfactory. It failed to demonstrate a positive effect of maca in the increase of reproduction in rats, according to LeonÕs comments.[1] The results from the present in vivo study of the effect of the two maca formulas M-01 and M-02 on the mounting behavior in normal mice illustrated that purified maca products signigicantly enhance the sexual libido and potency in male mice. The dose in this experiment was used as a guideline for a preliminary study. Other dose levels will be studied in the future. In the 1-day mating assessment, the one-time oral administration of M-01 at the dose of 4.0 g/kg significantly enhanced sexual ability. Typically, the dosage used in animal in vivo tests is 10 to 100 times higher than used for humans.

The results of the in vivo study on the rats with erectile dysfunction indicated that the purified maca products, M-01 and M-02, at doses of 45, 180, and 1800 mg/kg body weight, except for the 45-mg/kg dose of M-01, were all effective in improving the erectile function of the testes-removed rats. As demonstrated by the decrease in LPE, the erectile function of the surgical group treated with the extract was significantly better than that of the surgical control group and was almost identical to that of normal rats. The decrease of LPE in treated rats might be due to the higher concentration of the macaene and macamide, a group of biologically active components. Similar LPE results after the medium and high doses of M-01 and all three doses of M-02 suggest that the concentration of the maximum possible intake by the animal might have been reached. From a perspective of phytochemistry, M-01 and M-02 are both fractionate products from maca and are similar in composition, except that M-01 contains more polysaccharide and less macaene and macamide that M-02. This may account for the smaller degree of improvement in LPE in the surgical rats treated with M-01 at the lowest dosage (45 mg/kg). Further studies to identify the active constituents responsible for the increase in the sexual function in mice and rats and the mechanism of action are in progress. All animals except two control subgroups, the normal and the testosterone groups, were anesthetized and underwent surgery to remove the testes. It may be necessary to include a sham group to study the effects of surgery without removal of the testes in a further study of the subject.

CONCLUSIONS:

Two maca formulas, M-01 and M-02, significantly enhanced the libido and sexual potency in normal mice. The number of complete intromissions during a 3-hour period in normal male mice treated with M-01 and M-02 were 2.9 and 4.1 times higher, respectively, than that of the normal mice in the control group.
Moreover, one -time oral administration of M-01 in a study of 1-day mating showed that the number of sperm-positive female mice in the experimental group was 2.5 times higher than in the control group. The results indicate that the bioavailability of the active ingredients in mice was immediate.
Finally, M-01 and M-02 improved the erectile function in rats with erectile dysfunction. The LPE of testes-removed rats that were treated with different doses of M-01 and M-02 was reduced to that of normal rats, with the exception of the LPE after the low dose of M-01. The present study reveals for the first time an aphrodisiac effect of L. meyenii, an Andean Mountain herb from Peru. UROLOGY 55: 598-602.2000. © 2000, Eelsevier Science Inc.

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REFERENCES:
1. Leon T: The Ô MacaÕ (Lepidium meyenii): a little known food plant of Peru. Econ Bot 18: 122-127, 1964.
2. Chac—n RC: Estudio fitoquimico de Lepidium meyenii Walp. Thesis, University Nac. Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru, 1961.
3. Zheng BL, Kim CH, He K, et al: A process for the isolation and purfication of Lepidium meyenii. Patent pending, 1999.
4. National Clinical Test Procedure, FDA of China, 1998.
5. Hermann M, and Heller J: Andean Roots and Tubers: Ahipa, Arracacha, Maca and Yacon, Rome, IPGRI, 1997, pp 175-195.
6. Cobo B: Historia del Nuevo Mundo. Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles 81: 430,1956.
7. Riuz H: Relaci—n historia del viaje a los reinos del Perœ y Chile, 1777-1778, Madrid Acad. De Ciene Exaetas: Fis y Nat 1: 526,1952.
8. Pulgar VJ: Las Maca Lepidium sp. Poderoso feeundante vegetal. La voz de Huancayo 24: 10, 1964.
9. Johns T: The anu and the maca. J Ethnobiol 1: 208-212, 1981.

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KEY: SE = standard error; L = low dose; M = medium dose; H = high dose.
Low dose, 45 mg/kg; medium dose, 180 mg/kg; high dose, 1800 mg/kg. A statistical method of one-way analysis of variance was used.
Two animals each were considered outliers in the surgical control, M01H, and M02H groups.
* Probability = not significant. P <0.05 by pairwise comparison results with the surgical control group.

From Pure World Botanicals, Inc., South Hackensack, New Jersey; Shenyang Medical College, Shenyang; Liaoning College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang, Liaoning; and Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing, PeopleÕs Republic of China Reprint requests; Qun Yi Zheng, Ph.D., Pure World Botanicals, Inc., 375 Huyler Street, South Hackensack, NJ 07606 Submitted: July 14, 1999, accepted (with revisions): October 20,1999 © 2000, Elsevier Science Inc.

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Effects of Peruvian Maca on Hormonal Functions

Whether discussions today are about estrogen replacement therapy, increasing male potency, or improving other hormonal functions, the solutions mentioned are generally drugs currently on the market. Lately, however, we've been hearing marvelous reports about a hearty plant root cultivated high in the andes of Peru. Known as “maca”, this ancient nutritional source and efficacious endocrine system remedy is being dispensed by health professionals as a safe and natural substitute for drugs. Maca, in fact, has been used by Peruvian consumers for many centuries, from before the time of the Incas.

Promoting the introduction of Maca into the United States market, Viana Muller, Ph.D., is cofounder and President of New World Botanical's, a New York City-based company which manufactures and imports there own product.

“Once in a decade an herb used by native peoples for thousands of years comes to our attention and it seems so important to health that we wonder how we ever got along without it before,” says Dr. Muller. “Maca is that kind of herb.”

“Now women have an alternative to hormone replacement therapy [HRT],” Dr. Muller continued. “Maca works in an entirely different and more satisfactory way for most women than the phytoestrogenic herbs like black cohosh and licorice root. These herbs have become popular with menopausal women who refuse to take the drugs of HRT.”

"And men, too, find in Maca an herb that will counteract the difficulties they may experience in maintaining good sexual relationships as they age, due to a general slowing down in the output of the endocrine glands," said Dr. Muller.

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The Importance of Maca in the History of Peru

MACA'S cultivation goes back perhaps five millennia. It was an integral part of the diet and commerce of the high Andes regions. When they controlled that certain South American area, the Incas found Maca so potent that they restricted its use to their Royalty's court. Upon overrunning the Inca people, conquering Spaniards became aware of this plant's value and collected tribute in Maca roots for export to Spain. Maca was used as an energy enhancer and for nutrition by the Spanish Royalty as well. But eventually knowledge of MACA'S special qualities died out, being preserved only in a few remote Peruvian communities.1

In the 1960s and later in the 1980s, German and North American scientists researching botanicals in Peru, rekindled interest in Maca through nutritional analyses of what was designated as "the lost crops of the Andes." The publication of a book by that name introduced Maca to the world.2


At an international conference in 1991, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recommended that Peruvians should return to eating traditional, native Andean foods. Maca was included in the FAO list as a means of combating nutritional problems being caused by people switching to processed foods and high-sugar drinks. The reintroduction of Maca has established healthy eating once again in the Peruvian diet.


The Nutritional Value of Maca
Proteins, as polypeptides, make up 11% of the dry Maca root and 14% of whole Maca paste. Calcium makes up 10% of maca's mineral count. Magnesium and potassium are also present in significant amounts. Other Maca minerals include iron, silica, and traces of iodine, manganese, zinc, copper, and sodium. Starch, a hexosane polysaccharide in Maca, contains the triple minerals, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.

Vitamins found in Maca comprise thiamin, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. Carbohydrates, coming from MACA'S cellulose and lignin, are polyholosides.

Amino acid proteins in maca include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, histidine, glycine, threonine, cystine, alanine, arginine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, lysine, tryptophan, proline, hoproline, and sarcosine.

These investigations on the food content of Maca were carried out in 1979 at the Institute of Nutrition in Lima.

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The New Maca Species, Lepidium peruvianum Chacon
The scientist responsible for most of the current knowledge of the maca plant is Gloria Chacon de Popivici, PhD, a Peruvian biologist trained at the University of San Marcos, in Lima, Peru. Dr. Chacon wrote her dissertation in the early l960’s on the maca root, and did groundbreaking work on the plant by discovering a new species. By analyzing its chemical actives, she pinpointed their hormonal effects.

Dr. Chacon also authored a book describing the root's nourishing micronutrients: La importance de Lepidium peruvianum Chacon (Maca) en la Alimentacion y Salud del ser Humano y Animal 2,000 Ados Antes y Despues de Cristo y en el Siglo XXI. Published in Lima, in 1997, the book is a definitive study on maca and discusses its use from 8000 BC to the present and into the 21st century.3

Having become interested in the almost extinct Maca root in 1960 as an undergraduate biology student at the University of Lima, Dr. Chacon went on to do extensive research. During a botanical field trip to the Central Highlands of her native Peru, she encountered an amazing and little-known plant whose root, she learned from the local population, had powerful energizing and fertility effects.

A search of botanical literature revealed that a plant closely resembling maca had been identified in 1843 by the German botanist, Walpers. He called it Lepidium meyenii Walpers, but the plant he described was a perennial without the same medicinal effects as Peruvian maca. It grows in parts of Bolivia and Chile. The young student was excited to realize that she had located and identified a new species, which she called Lepidium peruvianum Chacon. It is a classification accepted by major herbariums in the United States and Europe as a true new species. Curiously, in Peru it is still called by the erroneous name, Lepidium meyenii Walpers.
4

Effects of Maca on the Endocrine Glands
This biologist/author has done the most important scientific work to date on the maca plant. In particular, Dr. Chacon isolated four alkaloids from the Maca root and carried out animal studies with male and female rats given either powdered Maca root or alkaloids isolated from the roots. In comparison with the animal control groups, those receiving either root powder or alkaloids showed multiple egg follicle maturation in females and, in males, significantly higher sperm production and motility rates than control groups.

Dr. Chacon established that it was the alkaloids in the Maca root, not its plant hormones, that produced fertility effects on the ovaries and testes of the rats. “These effects are measurable within 72 hours of dosing the animals,” she offered in a recent telephone interview from Lima, Peru. Through the experiments, she deduced that the alkaloids were acting on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, which explains why both male and female rats were affected in a gender-appropriate manner. This also explains why the effects in humans are not limited to ovaries and testes, but also act on the adrenals, giving a feeling of greater energy and vitality, and on the pancreas and thyroid as well.5

“Implications of Dr. Chacon's discovery of the pituitary stimulating effects of Maca are enormous,” Dr. Muller said when I spoke to her recently. “What it appears to mean is that hormone replacement therapy, even the natural varieties, Will no longer be the gold standard for optimizing health from a holistic point of view.”

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Hugo Malaspina, MD, Works with Maca
Now practicing complementary medicine with an emphasis on the use of medicinal herbs, one of the earliest modern pioneers in the therapeutic use of this ancient herb for an urban population is Hugo Malaspina, MD, a respected cardiologist in Lima. Dr. Malaspina has been using the Maca root in his practice for a decade and makes the following observation: “There are different medicinal plants that work on the ovaries by stimulating them. With maca, though, we should say that it ‘regulates’ the ovarian function.”

Dr. Malaspina, who uses Maca therapy for both his male and female patients, recalls that he first heard about this extraordinary herb through a group of elderly gentlemen who, while well along in years were still lively and interested in enjoying sexual activities. “One of this group (they were all over 70) started taking maca and found he was able to perform satisfactorily in a sexual relationship with a lady friend. Soon everyone in the group began drinking the powered maca as a beverage and enjoying the boost that the root was giving their hormonal functions. I have several of these men as patients, and their improvement prompted me to find out more about maca and begin recommending it to my other patients,” Dr. Malaspina stated.

What makes Maca so effective, according to Dr. Malaspina, is that rather than introducing hormones from outside the body, maca encourages the ovaries and other glands to produce the needed hormones. The cardiologist-turned-holistic physician said, “Maca regulates the organs of internal secretion, such as the pituitary, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, etc. I have had perhaps 200 female patients whose perimenopausal and postmenopausal symptoms are alleviated by taking maca.”

Jorge Aguila Calderon, MD, Prescribes Maca
Another Peruvian pioneer in the therapeutic application of Maca integrated into a modern medical practice is Jorge Aguila Calderon, MD. An internist, Dr. Aguila Calderon is former Chief of the Department of Biological Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Human Medicine at the National University of Federico Villarreal in Lima. Like Dr. Malaspina, he prescribes maca for a wide variety of conditions, including osteoporosis and the healing of bone fractures in the very elderly. “Maca has a lot of easily absorbable calcium in it, plus magnesium, and a fair amount of silica which we are finding very useful in treating the decalcification of bones in children and adults.”

Along with prescribing an excellent diet and certain lifestyle changes, Dr. Aguila Calderon has helped patients overcome male impotence, male sterility, and female sterility by employing Maca therapy. Additional problems he treats with maca are rickets, various forms of anemia, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, climacteric and erectile difficulties in men, premature aging, and general states of weakness such as chronic fatigue.

American Physician Gabriel Cousens, MD, Uses Maca
Physicians in the United States believe this herb has the potential of a balanced answer to the effects of aging on the endocrine system. Many who have tried phytoestrogens and/or precursor hormones such as DHEA or pregnenolone, or even natural hormone replacement therapy and have been dissatisfied, are getting excellent results from their use of maca root. Gabriel Cousens, MD, practicing internal medicine in Patagonia, Arizona, says, “Whenever possible, I prefer to use maca therapy rather than hormone replacement therapy because HRT actually ages the body by diminishing the hormone producing capability of the glands. Maca has proven to be very effective with menopausal patients in eliminating hot flashes and depression and in increasing energy levels. To find the right dosage level, sometimes I have started the patient on maca treatment with a half a teaspoon of powder or three capsules a day. In some cases I have raised the dosage to a teaspoon or six capsules a day for full effectiveness.”

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Henry Campanile, MD, Offers Adrenal Balancing
Maca root, in keeping with its mode of acting through the hypothalamus and pituitary, has a balancing and nourishing effect on the adrenal glands. Henry Campanile, MD, a 50-year old specialist in internal and family/complementary medicine practicing in St. Petersburg, Florida, relates: “I happen to have been born with one adrenal gland just like my father. I started taking cortisone in my late twenties to relieve the fatigue which I was already feeling. Knowing the dangers of long term cortisone use, I looked around for an alternative, and this circumstance is what got me interested in complementary medicine. I started using pregnenelone about 10 years ago and it has been fairly satisfactory. But one of my patients told me about Maca™, and I started taking it about a month ago. It is phenomenal! I haven't felt this good since I was 20 years old. I have so much energy and look so well, my patients have remarked on it and told me how rested I seem. I've got so much energy now I've started an exercise program."

After trying it out on himself, Dr. Campanile began using maca with his patients. “My first patient to take the maca capsules was experiencing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. She started feeling much better after using this herb for only four days. I'm also employing it with patients who have low adrenal function.”


Maca as an Anti-Aging Herb for Both Men and Women
Garry F. Gordon, MD, former president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, now Founder and President of the International College of advanced Longevity Medicine, located in Chicago, Illinois, bases his appreciation of Maca on his own experience with it. Speaking with me from Payson, Arizona, Dr. Gordon said, “We all hear rumors about various products like Maca. But using this Peruvian root myself, I personally experienced a significant improvement in erectile tissue response. I call it ‘nature’s answer to Viagra™.”

“What I see in Maca is a means of normalizing our steroid hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. Therefore it has facility to forestall the hormonal changes of aging,” Dr. Gordon believes. “It acts on men to restore them to a healthy functional status in which they experience a more active libido. Lots of men and women who previously believed their sexual problems were psychological are now clearly going to look for something physiological to improve quality of life in the area of sexuality,” says Dr. Gordon. “Of course, as someone interested in longevity, I'm aware that mortality comes on much sooner for those individuals whose sexual activity is diminished or nonexistent. In other words, I believe that people who engage in sex twice a week or more live longer. I've found sexual activity to be a reliable marker for overall aging.”

Burton Goldberg, President of Future Medicine Publishing in Tiburon, California, whose latest book is An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer, is another enthusiast of Maca. He says that when he tried Maca he was very pleased with the results and began taking it regularly. “I'm a 72 year old man and this Maca has taken 25 years off my aging sex life,” declares Burton Goldberg. “That's pretty important to me!”

Dr Garry Gordon is concerned about reproductive problems in today's world. “Society faces a huge problem of dropping sperm counts and sex hormone difficulties. But maca furnishes a nontoxic solution with no downside effects. It's a therapy that appears to offer men and women the chance for hormonal rejuvenation,” concludes Dr. Gordon. “We currently live in an era in which almost everyone will be doing something to deal with the hormonal consequences of aging. And Maca is now readily available."


References:

1. Vavilov, N. 1. The Origin, Variation, Immunity and Breeding of Cultivated Plants. (Waltham, Massachusetts: Smithsonian Institute, 1957) p. 364.
2. King, S.R. “Four endemic Andean tuber crops: Promising food resources for agricultural diversification.” Mountain Research and Development. 7(l):432, 1987.
3 . Chacon de Popvici, G. La importancia de Lepidium peruvianum Chacon (Maca) en la Alimentacion y Salud del ser Humano y Animal 2,000 Anos Antes y Despues de Cristo y en el Siglo XXI. Peru, 1997.
4. Chacon, R.C., “Estudio fitoquimico de Lepidium meyenii Walp.” Thesis Universidad Nacional. Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru, 1961, p, 43.5. Dini, A., et al, “Chemical Composition of
Lepidium mayenii.” Food Chemistry. 49:347-349, 1994.


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