Medicinal effects of Peruvian maca (Lepidium meyenii): a review

Food Funct. 2020 Jan 29;11(1):83-92. doi: 10.1039/c9fo02732g.


Peruvian maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root native to the Andean region, cultivated for at least 2000 years. Maca is rich in fiber, a large number of essential amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients, including vitamin C, copper, iron, and calcium. Besides these essential nutrients, this root contains bioactive compounds responsible for benefits to the human body, which has caused a considerable increase in its consumption in the last 20 years worldwide. This review documents the Peruvian maca composition and the recent findings regarding the medicinal effects of this root in sexual dysfunction regulation, neuroprotective effects, action in memory enhancement, antidepressant, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory activities, and skin protection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Lepidium / chemistry*
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides