Black Maca Overview
Black Maca Further Info
If you climb the 14,000 feet (4,400m) up from Lima to a maca field high on the Junin plateau during harvest time, you’ll see something very interesting. As you observe the workers gently digging roots from the ground, you’ll notice that there are significantly more yellow and red colored roots than black ones. No one knows exactly why, but black maca roots are the least common color of all. In fact, they account for just about 1/6 of the annual harvest. It’s especially strange considering that the same batch of maca seeds consistently produces, year after year, roughly the same percentages of red maca, yellow maca and black maca roots.
As you can see from the images on this page, the black of these roots is found primarily in the skin. Underneath that layer of skin, all maca roots are whitish in color, similar to common radishes. That means, that all maca powders end up being an off-white color.
In Peru, after maca roots are harvested, they are taken to be dried either in the sun or in large dehydrators. Either way, before drying the roots are separated by color and size. Once fully dry they are ready to make the trip to a processing facility where they are cleaned and ground into the maca root powder that is the most common form of maca consumed today.
The different types of black maca
There are actually several distinct ways to process black maca roots. Each way results in a bit of a different flavor and a unique nutritional profile. We will outline those here for you.
Raw black maca – the traditional way of drying roots after harvest is to place them in the mountain sun for 10-40 days. This avoids exposing them to high heat and preserves nutrients at high levels.
Premium raw black maca – in this modern process, roots are dried immediately after harvest in large low temperature dehydrators. The result is a product that is higher in glucosinolate content, but much stronger and spicy in taste than standard raw maca
Gelatinized black maca - this type is pre-cooked to remove starch content. Although some nutrients are altered in the process, we highly recommend gelatinized maca for anyone with sensitive digestion.
Premium gelatinized Black Maca – this kind is made from roots that are dried immediately after harvest, then pre-cooked to remove starch content. The result is stronger tasting powder with higher glucosinolate content.
Tips for buying quality black maca products
As you search for any type of maca, it’s always important to consider the source quality and freshness of any product you purchase. Ultimately this will determine how effective it is for both men and women. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice:
Make sure your products are made from 100% black maca roots, rather than just a mixture of various colors.
- Buy only Peruvian grown- The very best quality comes from the high Andes in Peru. There are now Chinese companies attempting to grow maca and producing fake maca in labs. We recommend avoiding any maca that has been made or produced China.
- Insist on organic - maca can be and is grown organically and traditionally without the use of pesticides and chemicals. (Note that the studies we referenced above were all performed exclusively with organic maca roots)
- Get the freshest - maca is only harvested once a year, but has a shelf life of 2 years as long as it’s kept in a sealed container out of humidity and direct light. Try to purchase your product from the current year's harvest and make sure that it comes in a container which completely seals out humidity, light and oxygen. This will preserve the potency of the powder and helps you get the most out of this maca.
- Non-GMO - This is easy since Peru has banned all GMO (genetically modified organisms) from all of it's agriculture until 2021.
How to successfully use black maca products
It’s important to note that maca is a food and not a drug, herb or supplement. Because of that it takes time for it to work in your system. Here is a quick guide of how to get the most out of adding it to your diet.
- Commit to using the product daily for at least 30 days. People often feel initial benefits before 30 days, but everybody is different. Make sure to be patient as long term gains show up over longer periods of time.
- Make sure that you are taking the correct amount daily. That means 1-3 teaspoons of powder, 4-12 capsules or 2 droppers (not drops) of liquid maca extract.
- Try adding maca powder to some recipes to mix things up. Check out our black maca recipes...
Remember with The Maca Team, you can always count on certified organic, fair trade, fresh harvest Peruvian maca products. If you have any questions please let us know. We love to help.
Finally, if you are new to maca, you may like to read about some inspiring black maca research that has been done on our black maca benefits page.
Enjoy the day!