Lepidium meyenii (Maca) does not exert direct androgenic activities

J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 6;104(3):415-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.09.028. Epub 2005 Oct 18.


Maca is the edible root of the Peruvian plant Lepidum meyenii, traditionally employed for its purported aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties. This study aimed at testing the hypothesis that Maca contains testosterone-like compounds, able to bind the human androgen receptor and promote transcription pathways regulated by steroid hormone signaling. Maca extracts (obtained with different solvents: methanol, ethanol, hexane and chloroform) are not able to regulate GRE (glucocorticoid response element) activation. Further experiments are needed to assess which compound, of the several Maca's components, is responsible of the observed in vivo effects.

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glucocorticoids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lepidium*
  • Luciferases / biosynthesis
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology
  • Response Elements
  • beta-Galactosidase / biosynthesis
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • Androgens
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Luciferases
  • beta-Galactosidase