The Maca Root History

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Maca root has become a very popular food due to its famously known high nutritional value, maca root is used daily by many when adding it to their diets as part of their food plan. This routine helps its users greatly physically and mentally as the incorporation of maca root to a persons daily diet is encouraged and essential because of its health benefits. History and studies show that maca root helps in aspects such as fertility, sexuality, stress, concentration among many other aspects in both in women and men.

With out a doubt the maca we know today with the scientific name of "Lepidium Peruvianum Chacón" is an ancestral fruit that the Andean inhabitants of the zone of San Blas, Province of Junín and its surroundings have tamed from wild grass to an edible plant that can be consumed and mass produced as we see presently.

In Pachamachay around the San Blas Annex, Province of Ondores (Province and Department of Junín in Peru) evidence has been found that auquénidos and maca (as wild root) and meat were consumed 22,000 years ago, these findings were made during excavations of archaeological studies made by Dr. Ramiro Matos Mendieta in the years 1969-1970. This data is very important for the current projects of appellation and concludes the origin of Maca as being native of Junin Peru.

Dr. Matos shows that in those days the auquénidos were of a larger size than the present ones (llamas, guanacos and vicuñas), this study created an agreement with the University of Cornell of the United States of America being this because the professor of the University Major of San Marcos was in need for more illustration as it is necessary to resort to the archives in the library of the Greater National University of San Marcos.


MACA= Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum Chacón.


The appearance of flowering plants (Angiosperms) dates back 300 million years according to studies of paleontologist Hill, (1996) evolved in areas of the north, center and south of Peru and between these plants was the Maca.

The name of Maca, according to Pulgar Vidal (1985), comes from two words from the Chibcha Language "MA" that has meaning of origin of height and "CA" that means High, exalted, good food that strengthens. The name of the Maca could also be due to the fact that the Incas have placed the name of Maca, as a justification of continuity of its dominion, by the presence of the Ayarmarcas, since Maca has always existed like root that grows in the Andes.

According to historical evidence, the domestication of the Maca plant probably coincided with the late formative phase (early Christian era), in the San Blas or Junin Zone by the Chinchaycocha inhabitants, among them the Pumpush culture. The expansion of its cultivation in the ecological environment Alto Andino would have been by the Yaru or Yaro Culture and the Ayarmarcas coming from the South, who gave great importance to their cultivation because it constituted as a food of daily consumption (Matto, 1975); Rick (1979), Antunez de Mayolo (1977), Rostworowski (1978) and Waldemar (1976), refer that the Yaros have been excellent breeders and practiced intense agriculture, dedicating themselves to Maca Cultivation. Pacheco (1988) mentions that the inhabitants of Bombon Marca or Bambamarca (Junin) constituted a Collection Center of roots of Maca, potato and fibers of alpaca and llama (Warehouses of Shongunmarca).

The expansion of Maca cultivation would also be due to the Collas that are intensively engaged in Maca Cultivation. The Inca troops were fed with Maca rations, as this plant was attributed the ability to give vitality and physical strength to its fighters.

Guamán Poma de Ayala (1613), says that Maca is a nutrient that the Native Indians use it in order to obtain good health and vigor.

First Discoveries of the Maca: Walpers (1843) for the first time scientifically identifies the species as Lepidium Meyenii Walp, because Lord Meyenii collects a species in Pisacoma (Department of Puno). Also, Weberbauer (1945), describes the existence of Lepidium Meyenii Walp between Candarave and Carumas (Department of Moquegua), which is the subspecies Lepidium Meyenii Gelidium.

In 1961 Dr. Gloria Chacón of Popovici presented a Phytochemical study of the Maca, and mistakenly assigned to this plant the name Lepidium Meyenii Walpers. For 1988 deepens its taxonomic investigation, identifying it like Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon being ratified the scientific name by the Biologists of the Herbarium of the National University of San Marcos.

In recent years there has been a boom in Maca due to the pharmaceutical interest and its benefits of various systems on humans and their bodies, the emphasis that is attributed high due to aspects to the reproductive systems in both male and females, thus, Dr. Gustavo F. González (MDMSc) of the Peruvian University Cayetano Heredia in his book "MACA: From Tradition to Science" scientifically highlights the relationship of black Maca with sperm and male sexual ability, while The red Maca with the improvement of the reproductive capacity in women.


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