“She wants you to consume yellow every day so she makes it abundant, this is your food. Red and black are rare and sacred and saved for medicinal use.” – interpretation of shamanic scripts, Junin Peru.
Yellow Maca is the most abundant of the 3 colours (70%) and is claimed to be the neutral form that should be taken daily and used for long-term balance and resilience to stress. Scientifically we know that yellow maca has the most broad and general array of macamides and other bioactives and daily consumption for a minimum of 8-12 weeks can offer benefits for those treating hormonal imbalances (PMS, menopause), thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, autoimmunity, inflammation, mental health, mental cognition and also for improving athletic performance and fertility.
Red Maca is more rare (20%) and is thought to be more sacred and saved for acute treatment of constitutional imbalances. Red is considered feminine and can promote internal balance for those lacking in internal nourishment. Clinically, red maca has been shown to be beneficial for managing acute symptoms of PMS and menopause, for circulatory issues, prostate function in men, fertility in women, osteoporosis, anxiety and fatigue. Our own studies have shown red maca to contain higher levels of bioactives that promote a calming and anti-anxiety effect on the nervous system, substantiating some of the traditional uses.
Black Maca is the rarest form of maca (10%) and is thought to be the most sacred and saved for acute treatment of constitutional insufficiencies. Black is considered masculine and can promote external strength, power, stamina and brain function. Clinically, black maca has been shown to be beneficial for managing acute symptoms of fatigue, mental focus and cognition, memory, motor-neuron function, fertility and libido in men, muscle strength and stamina, depression and brain fog. We are currently investigating the composition of black maca but preliminary reports suggest it can promote increased blood flow via nitric oxide production and achieve higher oxygen levels in blood and muscle tissue, that falls in-line with its traditional uses. Complete mechanisms for each are still being evaluated.
The fundamental properties of the three colours
Red and black maca can be used to provide additional acute support to specific health conditions. Red nourishes the internal and black the external. The shamans and healers will look at your body’s constitution and see what energies are lacking before using red and black maca in high doses to treat. See the chart below listing the symptoms of deficiencies relating to internal and external conditions and which colour to use to treat each. In essence see which symptoms are dominant on any given day and treat with the colour that corresponds:
Generic maca treatment protocol
Treatment with maca usually begins with daily consumption of generic yellow maca for general conditions or a targeted three coloured blend specialised for women (maca for women) or for men (maca for men) for more complex or chronic conditions. The ideal dose of yellow maca or blended maca is approximately 1-1.5 tsp per day but relies on the level of total macamides in the powder. For a good quality powder of >0.6% total macamides – 1.5 tsp provides an ideal 60mg+ of total macamides. This optimum amount has been shown to provide clinical benefit when consumed daily for a min 8-12 weeks. We encourage those who consume maca as a treatment to utilise it daily for a minimum 8+ weeks in order to complete a full treatment cycle. Before buying any maca product please review our article of 5 questions to ask before you buy – here.
For those who are seeking more support for acute or chronic conditions it is advised to see which symptoms dominate and on those days to use 1-2 sachets of high-dose extracted atomised red maca or atomised black maca. High-dose extracts can be used acutely as single one-off treatments for 1-3 days for mild conditions, 5-7 days for moderate conditions or 15-30+ days for severe chronic conditions.
Maca naturally grows in a mixed ratio of colours, with each colour having different properties. It is important to combine the colours following the traditional uses to ensure optimum treatment of health conditions. These are the rules that have been followed for thousands of years in Peru by the shamans and the rules we want to promote for those wanting to get the best out of their maca.
Written by Dr Corin Storkey Founder and Director of Seleno Health. www.selenohealth.com