History of the Maca Root
Maca root’s history began as the glaciers receded and the ground opened up to year-round inhabitation of the Peruvian highlands, a pastoral tribe called the Pumpush settled at an altitude of 12,000 feet on the shores of Lake Chinchaycocha, now called Lake Junin.
With astute farming practices and an intimate knowledge of natural genetic selection, they domesticated the plants they found in the region, maca being the most cold-tolerant and adaptable to culture.
Maca quickly evolved from a wild plant into a domesticated staple, with increased diversity of maca cultivars, as evidenced by maca found in ancient fire-pits by archaeologists.
Later, with the arrival of the Yaro tribes, new cultivation techniques were brought, and novel shapes and colors of maca cultivars were developed and named. Maca had become one of the most irrepressible superfoods 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.
It is said that the very reason the Inca came to the plateau was to gain control of maca’s production, as its reputation far preceded it, increasing its value for commerce and power.
When the Spanish sailed to Peru in 1533, they soon learned of the virtues of maca, mentioning it in almost every chronicle of the time. The Spanish fed it to their horses and livestock, shipping tons of it back to the kings of Spain as a payment of tax.
While maca thrives in the most rugged terrain above 12,000 feet in Peru, political uprisings and a change in the popular diet pushed maca plants close to extinction by the late 1970s, but careful seed harvesting and the resourcefulness of dedicated native people have protected it from extinction.
Families from the vicinity of Lake Junin, including the Condor, Maqque, Vicuna and generations before, are owed insurmountable debt for their dedication to the preservation of this astounding superfood.
Today, there is an upswing in maca farming in the highlands of Peru, with more than 10,000 acres planted annually.
What’s inside Maca Root?
According to a 1979 study carried out by the Institute of Nutrition in Lima, Peru.