Introduction: The use of natural remedies for the treatment of sexual disorders is under current investigation. For generations people of the rural community in Peru have used Lepidium meyenii Walpers (Maca), because of their belief that it improves fertility and sexual desire.
Aim: To determine the acute and chronic effects of Maca on male sexual behavior and to examine chronic administration of Maca on anxiety.
Main outcome measures: Ejaculatory and mounting behavior and postejaculatory interval. Anxiety tests using an elevated plus maze, locomotion, and social interaction with another male.
Methods: Maca (25 and 100 mg/kg) was orally administered to male rats for 30 days. Male sexual behavior was monitored after acute, 7 and 21 days of treatment. Anxiety behavior and locomotion were measured at 28-29 days using the elevated plus maze and social interaction tests.
Results: Maca treatment did not produce large changes in male sexual behavior. However, an increase in ejaculation latency and postejaculatory interval was observed after both acute and 7 days of treatment. After 21 days of treatment Maca had no effect on sexual behavior. Chronic administration of Maca did not increase locomotion or anxiety.
Conclusion: Acute and short-term administration of Maca produced a small effect of rat male sexual behavior and long-term administration did not increase anxiety.