What Is Black Maca? - Understanding the 3 Colors of Maca
If you were to visit a Maca farm in Peru during the annual harvest you would see that Maca roots grow in 3 ranges of colors:
- White to Yellow roots are called Cream Maca
- Light Pink to Dark Purple roots are called Red Maca
- Light Gray to Dark Gray roots are called Black Maca
Of the three colors Black Maca is the rarest. Cream Maca makes up about 60% of the harvest, Red Maca about 25% and Black Maca about 15%. Note: Black Maca is the one in the middle of the picture to the right.
The three Maca colors are all from the same species and sub-species of plant and traditionally were lumped together when Maca powder was produced. But starting about 15 years ago, the roots began to be separated when making powder because studies suggested each color to have some different properties and uses.
What Studies Have Been Done on Black Maca?
In 2010 a review paper published by Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences in Zurich, Switzerland concluded that different colors of Maca root indeed do have different health promoting properties. This review was inspired by several other research papers focused on both Red and Black Maca in the middle 2000s.
Here is a summary of what research has uncovered on Black Maca so far
(note, you can click the links to read the full paper abstracts)
- In a study from 2009 at the a Peruvian University, Black Maca was seen to be the best Maca for increasing sperm production motility and volume as well as for increasing libido. (Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru--from tradition to science, Gonzalez, CF, et al)
- In 2011 two different studies, one from China and one from Peru found that Black Maca helped laboratory mice improve their memory and concentration skills. ( Dose-response effect of black maca in mice with memory impairment, Rubio, J and ...Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment, various)
- In 2010 a team of 6 researchers reported that Red and Black Maca were found to be the best at improving and protecting bone structure especially in mice who had their ovaries removed. (Effects of different varieties of Maca on bone structure, Gonzalez, C et. al.)
- And in 2006 a Peruvian team observed that while all Maca contributed favorably to reducing depression, Black Maca also improved the learning and concentration abilities of laboratory mice. (...Maca on Learning and Depression, Rubio, J.)
Other ongoing research has suggested that Black Maca works slightly better than the other colors for muscle building and endurance purposes. More studies are needed to confirm this, but we have found it to be the case in reviewing feedback from our customers.
Who Should Take Black Maca?
Based on the research we cite above, Black Maca is sometimes considered as "men's Maca." We often receive questions asking if women can also take it. While Black Maca does work better for male fertility and libido than other Maca colors, women can and do take it regularly. That's because Maca, regardless of color, does not contain any hormones. Instead it stimulates the body to acheive a healthy hormone balance.
Black Maca, raw and gelatinized, is our second best selling Maca and our exprience combined with the research above leads us to recommend it for:
- Men wishing to increase their fertility (women should try Red Maca for fertility)
- Men and women wishing to boost their libido
- Athletes, both men and women, looking for extra stamina and strength
- Anyone looking to improve memory, concentration and focus skills with Maca
- All people taking Maca to improve their bone strength and density (Red Maca has also been shown to be helpful for this purpose)
A Few Things to Look for When Buying Black Maca
It's always important to consider the source quality and freshness of any Maca product you purchase because ultimately this will determine how effective it is. Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice:
- Buy only Peruvian Maca - The best Maca 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 from China.
- Insist on organic - Maca can and is grown organically and traditionally without the use of pesticides and chemicals. (Note that the studies above were all performed exclusvely with organic Maca roots)
- Get the freshest - Maca is only harvested once a year, but has a shelf life of 2 years. Try to purchase Maca from the current year's harvest and make sure that it comes in a containter which completely seals out humidity, light and oxygen. This will preserve the freshness of the powder and get you better results.
- GMO- Free - This is easy since Peru has banned all GMO (genetically modified organisms) from all of it's agriculture until 2021 (yippie!).
One final thing to keep in mind with Black Maca is that the powder will be only slightly darker than Cream Maca. The reason for this is that Black Maca roots are something like a radish in that the color is predominately in the skin.
Both of our Black Maca products are available in powder and capsules.
Buy Organic Raw Black Maca Here
Buy Organic Gelatinized Black Maca Here
Find out which Maca is best for you here.
We hope this article has helped you understand more about Black Maca and it's potential. If you have any questions, please let us know. We're happy to help.
Enjoy the day!