November 1st, 2010
05:02 PM ET

The sexual power herb of the Andes

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2010/11/01/pkg.cohen.maca.cnn"%5D

In Peru, legend tells of Incan warriors who were forbidden to eat a powerful sex herb after conquering a city. The herb, called maca, was such a potent aphrodisiac that it was feared the warriors who ate it would be tempted to ravage women.

Today, some 2,000 years after maca was first cultivated in Peru, researchers are studying whether maca can help men and women with a low libido.

"This is really the sexual power herb of the Andes," says Chris Kilham, an ethnobotanist who travels the world in search of medicinal plants. "Women who have low sex drive for any number of reason - stress, drugs, antidepressant use, whatever - find that when they consume something like maca their sex drives goes back up to a normal, functional healthy level, and they want to have more sex."

Kilham sells maca, as well as other supplements, to help men and women. Some mice studies have found maca is an aphrodisiac, but no major studies have proven maca's sexual effect on humans. A review of products heralded as natural sex enhancers in the journal Current Sexual Health Reports concluded, "there is no strong medical evidence in support of its use for female sexual dysfunction."

Diana Moerbeck started taking maca a year ago after stress zapped away her sex life. She isn't bothered by the lack of strong, scientific evidence.

"The Diana before maca probably wouldn't have such an active sex life," says Moerbeck, who grew up in Peru and lives in the United States. "After maca, it became really active. On a daily basis."

Maca products had sales of $5 million in United States last year. The supplement isn't approved by the FDA.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Skippy

    "Kilham sells maca...." 'nuff said. More snake oil.

    November 1, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Melinda

    Um? or is this just me? but seems odd to have posted this article smack dab against the other one (apparently worried about teen sex)?

    November 2, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wzrd1

      It's simple really. Sex sells.

      November 2, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  3. cincy_sensei

    Yes Melinda, it is you. Informing about this herb is not going to increase nor decrease sexual activity amongst teens. In all issues that face teens it appears there are two (or three) factors that have a meaningful impact. These are the factors that inattentive, or pre-occupied (career/job), or uncaring (unplanned families) parents dislike being pointed out...because it places more blame on the home and lessons blame on the larger society. Those factors are family, peers, and values (academic & religious). All studies I've ever read express this, or imply this.

    November 2, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Arturo


    November 18, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Pederson P.R. Consulting

    Visit http://SolRaizOrganics.com for the purest form of 100% Premium Organic Maca

    March 1, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Debra

    Maca is used to restore energyand helps to increase libido, improve memory, curb depression and regulate hormones. Large scale studies need to be done but wouldn't be great to have such a wonderful herb readily available.

    October 24, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 30, 2018 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
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