Lepidium meyenii is commonly called maca. The plant grows at high altitude in parts of South America, particularly the Junin plateau. Evidence supports a role for maca as an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction in men, and evidence also suggests that maca may improve physical performance and be a neuroprotective agent. There are different varieties of maca and these may have slightly different effects on animals. One study compared yellow, red and black maca for their effects on memory and anxiety in animals. Mice were fed one of the three treatments and then exposed to experimental conditions to test the effects. The results showed that black maca was significantly able to improve the water finding ability of the mice, particularly in trained mice. However, all varieties of maca were able to significantly reduce the anxious behaviour of the mice. Therefore black maca may be the prefered choice if a memory effect is required, whereas all maca seems beneficial as a mood enhancing substance.
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