As the glaciers receded and the ground opened up to year round inhabitation, a pastoral tribe called the pumpush settled on the shores of 12,000 foot high Lake Chinchaycocha now called Lake Junin in the Peruvian highlands. They soon began to domesticate plants they found in the region, Maca being the most cold tolerant and adaptable to culture. Astute farming practices and an intimate knowledge of natural genetic selection increase the diversity of Maca cultivars.
Evidenced by Maca found in ancient fire-pits by archaeologists, Maca had evolved from a wild plant into ta domesticated staple. Later, Yaro tribes arrived on the plateau bringing the cultivation techniques to even greater perfection. By then, new Maca cultivars of all shapes and colors had been developed and named. Now, with more than 30 distinctive ecotypes, Maca had become one of the most irrepressible super-foods to have arisen from the land of constant frost and wind. As the political landscape of the region changed controlling the cultivation of the Maca lands became as important to reign of power as were cattle and the very farmland itself. Is said that the Inca inherited the fight of Maca culture from the Yaro, but maca’s reputation as an energetic and fertility enhancer far preceded it, increasing its value as an item fo commerce and power. Even then, Maca was known to enhance stamina of warriors in battle, and many believe, the very reason that the Inca wanted to subdue the Plateau was to gain control of maca’s production. When the Spanish entered the picture in 153 they soon learned of the virtues of Maca and mentioned it in almost every chronicle of the time. From the Highlands of Peru flowed quantities of the precious root.
The Spanish fed it to their horses and livestock, and shipped tons of it back to the kings of Spain as a payment of tax. The first Spanish baby born in the Highland did not come until a full 50 years after Pizarro’s arrival, and it is speculated that conception was achieved with the aid of the botanical species Lepidium Peruvianum, known as maca.
Chronological Order of Maca’s History
- Primitive varieties of Maca were found in archaeological sites dating back to 1600 B.C.
- Maca Root was domesticated during the pre-Inca Period sometime around 3800 B.C
- The indigenous people used it for centuries to enhance fertility in humans and animals.
- For Almost two centuries Maca was commonly traded for gold and exported to feed the kings of Spain
- When the Spanish entered the picture in 1533 they learned of the virtues of Maca and mentioned it in almost every chronicle of the time
The Nutritional Value of Maca
Vitamins found in maca comprise thiamin, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. Carbohydrates, coming from maca’s cellulose and lignin, are polyholosides.
Amino acid proteins in maca include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, histidine, glycine, threonine, cystine, alanine, arginine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, methionine, lysine, tryptophan, proline, hoproline, and sarcosine.
Proteins make up 11% of maca root.
Calcium makes up 10% of maca’s mineral count.
Magnesium and potassium are present in significant amounts.
Minerals include iron, silica, and traces of iodine, manganese zinc, copper, and sodium.
A hexosane polysaccharide in maca, contains the triple minerals calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
These investigations on the food content of maca were carried out in 1979 at the Institute of Nutrition in Lima.
Maca nutritional profile
Minerals mg/100grams mg mineral/1 gram Maca mg mineral/5.0g(1tsp)
Calcium-220mg 2.2 mg 11 mg
Phosphorus-180mg 1.8 mg 9 mg
Iron-15.5mg .155 mg .775 mg
Manganese-0.8mg .0008 mg .004 mg
Copper-5.9mg .059 mg .295 mg
Zinc-3.8mg .038 mg .19 mg
Soduim-18.7mg .187 mg .935 mg
Potassium-2050mg 20.5 mg 103 g
Amino Acids- mg/1 gram protein
Riboflavin(B2): 0.31-0.76 Ascorbic Acid(C): 0.80-3.52
Niacin: 37.27-43.03 .
Other vitamins: B6,D3,P
A 2,000 Year Old Crop Resprouts in the Andes …
… “A History of the Forgotten Root”
When the Spanish sailed to Peru in 1533 they soon learned of the virtues of maca and mentioned it in almost every chronicle of the time. From the Highlands of Peru flowed quantities of the precious root. The Spanish fed it to their horses and livestock, and shipped tons of it back to the kings of Spain as a payment of tax. The first Spanish baby born in the Highland did not come until a full 50 years after Pizarro’s arrival, and it is speculated that conception was achieved with the aid of the botanical species Lepidium peruvianum, known as maca. While maca thrives in the most rugged terrain above 12,000 feet, political uprisings and a change in the popular diet pushed maca plants close to extinction by the late 1970’s. Careful seed harvesting and the resourcefulness of dedicated native people have protected it from extinction.
Families in the vicinity of Lake Junin (Condor, Maqque, Vicuna and more), and generations before, are owed insurmountable debt for their dedication to the preservation of this astounding, health giving crop. Today, there is a huge upswing in maca farming in the highlands of Peru, with more than 10,000 acres planted annually. Once again, maca is eaten up to 3 times a day by Peruvians, from professional athletes to the elderly.
In Peru, we cultivate our own Maca root without chemicals at 14,000 feet elevation in the mineral-rich highlands of Peru’s Altiplano! Our fields are naturally irrigated by glacial ice-melt and rainfall born in the thunderclouds of the Amazon basin. The result is 100% Maca root, incomparable in potency, freshness and flavor!
In Peru, our goals are simple: to produce pure foods that change peoples lives and to support farmers who work in harmony with the environment.
Copper: 6-8 ppm and 5.90mg/100g
Zinc: 30-32 ppm and 2.8-6.12mg/100g
Manganese: 20-22 ppm and .8mg/100g
Iron: 62-86 ppm and 9.93-24.37mg/100g
Also traces of Silicon and Aluminium and a vestige of Bismuth