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Thread: Growing Maca - Peruvian Ginseng
- 21-09-2006, 08:54 PM #1
Growing Maca - Peruvian Ginseng
Fancy trying these:- Bit of a lengthy write-up but sounds interesting!
On offer are 10 Maca (Lepidium meyenii) seeds.
Synonyms: Lepidium peruvianum, Lepidium weddellii, Lepidium affine, Lepidium gelidum, Maca, Peruvian Ginseng, maka, mace, maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, ayuk willku, pepperweed.
Maca is a hardy perennial plant cultivated high in the Andean Mountain at altitudes from 11,000-14,500 feet. The area where Maca is found high in the Andes is an inhospitable region of intense sunlight, violent winds and below freezing weather. With its extreme temperatures and poor rocky soil, the area rates among the world's worst farmland, yet over the centuries, Maca learned to flourish under these conditions. Maca was domesticated about 2000 years ago by the Inca Indians and primitive cultivars of Maca have been found in archaeological sites dating as far back as 1600 B.C.
Maca has a low-growing, mat-like stem system which at times goes almost unnoticed. Its scalloped leaves lie close to the ground and it produces self-fertile small off-white flowers. The part used is the tuberous root which is pear shaped, up to 8 cm/3 inches in diameter and ranging from off-white to golden in colour usually, with the occasional purple one.
Although it is a perennial, it is grown as an annual, and 7-9 months from planting are required to produce the harvested roots..
To the Andean Indians, Maca is a valuable commodity. Because so little else grows in the region, Maca is often traded with communities at lower elevations for other staples like rice, corn, and beans.
Native Peruvians have traditionally utilized Maca since before the time of the Incas for both nutritional and medicinal purposes.
Maca is an important staple in the diets of the people indigenous to the region since it has the highest nutritional value of any food crop grown there. It has 59% carbohydrates, 10.2% protein, 8.5% fibre and 2.2% lipids. It has a large amount of essential amino acids and higher levels of iron and calcium than potatoes. Maca contains important amounts of fatty acids including linolenic, palmitic and oleic acids. It is rich in sterols and has a high mineral content as well. In addition to its rich supply of essential nutrients, Maca contains alkaloids, tannins and saponins. A chemical analysis conducted in 1981 showed the presence of biologically active aromatic isothiocyanates, especially p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which have reputed aphrodisiac properties.
Nutritional Profile of Dried Maca Root
(Average 10 gram serving)
Component per 10 g Amino Acids per 10 g Minerals per 10 g
Protein 11.4 g Alanine 63.1 mg Calcium 25 mg
Carbohydrates 67.5 g Arginine 99.4 mg Copper 0.6 mg
Fats (lipids) 220 mg Aspartic acid 91.7 mg Iron 1.5 mg
Fiber 850 mg Glutamic acid 156.5 mg Iodine 52 mcg
Ash 490 mg Glycine 68.3 mg Manganese 80 mcg
Sterols 510 mg Histidine 41.9 mg Potassium 205 mg
Calories 32.5 HO-Proline 26.0 mg Sodium 1.9 mg
Isoleucine 47.4 mg Zinc 380 mcg
Leucine 91.0 mg
Vitamins per 10 g Lysine 54.5 mg Fats/Lipids per 10 g
B2 39 mcg Methionine 28.0 mg Linoleic 72 mcg
B6 114 mcg Phenylalanine 55.3 mg Palmitic 52 mcg
C 28.6 mg Proline 0.5 mg Oleic 24.5 mcg
Niacin 565 mcg Sarcosine 0.7 mg
Serine 50.4 mg
Threonine 33.1 mg
Tryptophan 4.9 mg
Tyrosine 30.6 mg
Valine 79.3 mg
The tuber is consumed fresh or dried. The fresh roots are considered a treat and are baked or roasted in ashes much like sweet potatoes. The dried roots are stored and later boiled in water or milk to make a porridge. (the dried roots can be stored for up to seven years.) In addition, they are often made into a popular sweet, fragrant, fermented drink called maca chicha. In Huancayo, Peru, even Maca jam and pudding are popular.
The tuberous roots have a tangy taste and an aroma similar to butterscotch.
Maca has been used medicinally for centuries in South America to enhance fertility in humans and animals. Soon after the Spanish Conquest the Spanish found that their livestock were reproducing poorly in the highlands. The local Indians recommended feeding the animals Maca and so remarkable were the results that Spanish chroniclers gave in-depth reports. Even Colonial records of some 200 years ago indicate that payments of roughly 9 tons of Maca were demanded from one Andean area alone for this purpose. Its fertility enhancing properties were supported clinically as early as 1961, when researchers discovered it increased the fertility of rats.
Maca is growing in world popularity due to its energizing effects, fertility enhancement and aphrodisiac qualities.
Other traditional uses include increasing energy, stamina and endurance in athletes, promoting mental clarity, treating male impotence, and helping with menstrual irregularities and female hormonal imbalances including menopause and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Today, dried Maca roots are ground to powder and sold in Health Food shops to increase stamina and fertility.
In Peruvian herbal medicine, Maca is also used as an immunostimulant, for anemia, tuberculosis, menstrual disorders, menopause symptoms, stomach cancer, sterility and other reproductive and sexual disorders as well as to enhance memory.
Maca doesn't grow well in hot weather. In warmer areas maca can be grown during the winter months.
Let us know how you get on with it Snadger. Sounds interesting - if it is good would like to try it next year, dont have the ground ready to try it now. Don't forget to post results - are but after eating your maca you wouln't forget anything again.
Last edited by denise; 21-09-2006 at 09:31 PM.Denise xox
Learn from the mistakes of others because you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself.
-- Alfred E. Neumann
- 22-09-2006, 05:42 AM #3
- 25-10-2006, 06:17 PM #4
Managed to get 40 seeds from another source and have been on google to no avail trying to get some information on growing in the UK?
Anyone grew it before or can give me any hints on how to grow it?
Might even have to have a word with Nobby Solano if all else fails! Lol
- 25-10-2006, 06:26 PM #5
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
- Perthshire, Scotland.
- Blog Entries
If we find ourselves surrounded by little Snadgers we'll know you've been successful
- 25-10-2006, 06:34 PM #6
- 25-10-2006, 07:08 PM #7
I have heard it won't grow near to HeatherntgNever be afraid to try something new.
Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
A large group of professionals built the Titanic
- 26-10-2006, 08:37 PM #8
Have to say the designated growing conditions sound perfect for my wind tunnel cliff garden which gets baked in the Summer and no sun and freezing sea winds in winter.
Seriously though I'd reckon the altitude could be a governing factor for this plant. I'm vague on it but I remember a horticulture expert friend who worked at Kew or somesuch once holding forth on the reasons why certain plants from high altitudes cannot sustain here. Can't remember any details though. Interesting. It's the same story with Ginseng from Asia. The plant doesn't maintain the desired properties when grown here apparantly.
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