Maca: Botany and culinary uses of Peruvian Ginseng

Maca – known under the botanical name “Lepidium peruvianum Chacon” – belongs to the cruciferous family. Maca tubers can be eaten fresh or dried.

Lepidium peruvianum Chacon belongs to the cruciferous family. Maca root is related to cress, mustard, radish and rape. The Maca tuber grows at an altitude of 4,000 to 4,500 metres in the central Andes of Peru. The plant is exposed to extreme weather conditions such as intense sunshine, frost and strong winds.

Underground, Maca forms a tuber with a long main root and fine secondary roots. Above ground, however, Peruvian ginseng develops a rosette of several short, strong shoots. These are accompanied by thin, lilac-like leaves.

Maca tuber: different varieties in colours yellow to purple


Maca – (c) Photo: HANDO®

Maca is generally an annual plant. However, bad weather can delay the forming of the fruits until the second year. It takes an average of eight months from sowing to harvest. The different varieties of Maca are identified in connection with the outer colour of the tuber. Depending on the colour – yellow, black, red (purple) – the composition of the active ingredients varies.

Maca tuber as a culinary delicacy

Maca is not only convincing through its valuable active ingredients. Peruvian ginseng also reaches the palate in culinary terms: In Peru, fresh Maca tubers are roasted in earth furnaces with hot ash – so-called “Pachamancas”. Menopausal women in particular, appreciate this culinary delicacy to alleviate their symptoms.

Boiled in water or milk, Maca can also be eaten as a porridge. Jams and puddings made from Maca tuber are very popular with Peruvians. Peruvian ginseng is also often added to baking bread. When dried, the Maca tuber can be stored for years!

“Love, physical performance, vitality.” Maca helps against sexual apathy or lack of libido. HANDO® Maca is available as “Maca gelatinizada” in capsule form at our online shop.

Hando® Maca capsules: Order now from our online shop!


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