What are the different colours of maca?

Maca comes in three main colours, with each colour having different unique properties. All three colours arise from the same seed crop, so in essence you cannot independently cultivate a single colour. It is just the skin that is coloured so once sun-dried and processed all powders look similar but are used for different conditions.

Cross section of maca roots

Maca root colour differences

Phenotype genetics provide a harvest with ratios of approximately 60-70% yellow maca, 20-25% red maca and 10-15% black maca. The shamans claim this is not by chance, but more about how ‘she’ (la maca) wants you to consume her. As such, the three different colours are prepared and taken differently depending on the body’s requirements and condition being treated. Yellow maca is for daily use and long-term balance, red maca and black maca are sacred and saved for acute or chronic therapeutic use. Yellow maca is neutral, red maca is internal (feminine energy)and black maca is external (masculine energy).

She wants you to consume yellow maca root every day so she makes it abundant, this is your food. Red maca root and black maca root are rare and sacred and saved for medicinal use.” – local shaman, Junin Peru.

Yellow maca root

Yellow Maca is the most abundant of the 3 colours (60-70%) and is claimed to be the neutral form that should be taken daily and used for long-term balance and resilience to stress. Scientifically we know that yellow maca has the most broad and general array of macamides and other bioactives but in lower concentrations vs red maca or black maca. Yellow maca is more mild than the other colours and is a great general health tonic for men and women of all ages including children. Yellow maca powder benefits those with hormonal imbalances (including PMS and menopause), thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, autoimmunity, inflammation, mental health and also for improving energy and fertility.

Red maca root

Red Maca is more rare (20-25%) vs yellow maca and is thought to be sacred and saved for acute treatment of constitutional imbalances or alleviating more chronic conditions. Red Maca root represents the internal energy of our body, that energy that nourishes, stabilizes and calms (it is the feminine side of the maca). As such red maca benefits conditions such as anxiety, adrenal fatigue, osteoporosis (bone density), blood flow, oxygen in the blood, inflammation and autoimmunity, prostate function in men, hormonal balance and female fertility. Red maca root takes care of our entire inner being and our feminine energy, it is like a warm and loving hug from your mum. Our own studies have shown red maca root contains higher levels of bioactives vs yellow maca and black maca. Red maca is ideal for use by men and women for more chronic or acute conditions and imbalances.

Black maca root

Black Maca is the rarest form of maca (10-15%) and is thought to be the most sacred and saved for acute treatment of constitutional insufficiencies or chonic health conditions. Black Maca represents the external energy of our body (it is the male side of the maca), that which strengthens, gives vitality and gives direction to our organism. As such black maca benefits our cognitive capacity (brain fog), brain function, energy, mental focus, mental health (antidepressant), physical performance, male fertility, sexual function and libido. Our own studies have shown black maca root contains higher levels of bioactives vs yellow maca but slightly lower vs red maca. Black maca root takes care of our entire external being and our masculine energy, it is like an uplifting and encouraging boost. Black maca is ideal for use by men and women for more chronic or acute conditions, imbalances and athletic and cognitive enhancement.

Each person, male or female, is composed of the two energies: female and male. In fact, during the day, depending on the environment and the situation you face, you will be using one or another energy without realising it. Finding the balance of your energies is the key to improving your health.

The fundamental properties of the three colours of maca

Red and black maca

Red maca and black maca are used both daily in low-doses or acutely in high-doses vs yellow maca, used more only as a daily food source.

Red maca vs black maca

Red maca root and black maca root can be used to provide additional acute support to specific health conditions. Red maca nourishes the internal and black maca nourishes the external. Traditionally, the shamans and healers will look at your body’s constitution and see what energies are lacking before determining the ratios of red maca vs black maca to use in treatment. See the chart below listing the symptoms of deficiencies relating to internal and external conditions and which colour of maca root benefits each. When treating with maca you can either manage dominant symptoms with concentrated maca extracts on any given day with the appropriate maca root colour, or alternatively take a combination harmonising blend of the 3 colours of maca for men or maca for women based on your constitution or needs. Learn more what dose of maca to consume when taking maca here and which maca powder to take for which condition here.

Red maca vs black maca for treating different constitutional symptoms

Taking all 3 colours of maca root – the rationale and benefits

The reality is that all three colours of maca are beneficial for both men and women. It is not as simple as women should take red maca and men should take black maca. In reality we all need a balance of masculine and feminine energy, yin and yang. Clinical studies have shown for example red maca is highly effective for improving male prostate function and also anxiety, adrenal function and stress. While black maca has been shown to benefit female brain function, athletic performance and mental health.

So the best solution for many is to combine the three colours of maca and get the best of both energies, internal and external. The difference however is the ratios in which they are combined. Men and women have different therapeutic requirements so they need different maca colour combinations to achieve optimum health. From understanding the sacred traditions of maca and the needs of women and men we have formulated the perfect maca blend to bring balance back to each. Learning ancient knowledge from healers in Peru and testing macamide profiles of our raw ingredients we created our specially formulated Maca for Men and Maca for Women tri-coloured maca blends. They are ideal for daily use to optimise and balance hormones and treat more complex health conditions. Ideally they should be taken daily for a minimum 6-12 weeks to provide benefit depending on the condition being treated.

Maca for Men

Maca for Men

Maca for Men is formulated in the optimum ratios of colours to assist with improving energy, endurance, stamina, mental health, focus, libido, fertility, prostate function and in managing stress.

Maca for Women

Maca for Women

Maca for Women is formulated in the optimum ratios of colours to assist with improving hormonal balance, mental health, mood, energy, focus, vitality, fertility, bone density, skin and in managing stress.

Using concentrated high doses of red maca root vs black maca root

In some cases it may be necessary to take single colours of maca for people trying to alleviate acute symptoms or to manage a long-term chronic condition. Traditionally in Peru maca is macerated in plant based alcohols and water to create more concentrated forms for these types of applications. To replicate this we follow ancient traditions and macerate our maca to extract the pure bioactive components then spray dry it into a potent concentrated powder. For every 10kg of fresh maca we only produce 400g of this specialised maca extract. Our concentrated maca powder comes in the pure sacred colours – red maca or black maca.

Concentrated maca is ideal for the acute treatment of symptoms associated with PMS, anxiety, migraine, pain, fatigue, brain fog and sexual function, for which it can be taken on days when symptoms are worse. Or it can be used daily to manage chronic conditions like various neurological disorders, severe hormonal imbalances or severe menopausal symptoms, chronic anxiety, autoimmune conditions, prostate inflammation and chronic fatigue. The dose and type of concentrated maca to be used depends on the condition being treated. When deciding if you should use red maca vs black maca or black maca vs red maca we suggest you check what treatment approach is best for that condition on our treating with maca page.

Concentrated Black Maca

concentrated black maca extract

Our concentrated black maca is 10x more potent and provides a powerful external boost to the body and endocrine system. It is ideal for the treatment of acute external symptoms or for management of an ongoing chronic health condition of the muscular, neurological or nervous system (muscle and brain).

Concentrated Red Maca

concentrated red maca extract

Our concentrated red maca is 10x more potent and provides a powerful internal boost to the body and endocrine system. It is ideal for the treatment of acute external symptoms or for management of an ongoing chronic health condition of the immune, endocrine or hormonal system (internal organs and glands).

Note: There is no upper limit with maca and everybody is different, so it is important to find your ideal dose that is right for your body, for some this may be less than the recommended for others it may be more. If you experience positive health benefits then we suggest you continue treatment at that ideal dosage. The material provided on this website is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice or be a treatment for any medical condition. Users should consult a health professional if you have any concerns about your health, are starting any health or nutritional related treatment, or for any questions you may have regarding your own or any other party’s medical condition. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

12 replies
    • corin
      corin says:

      Hi Alex thanks for the comment – Neither plant we know much about unfortunately, other than they are also adaptogenic. There has been no studies comparing the two with maca, and we have no clinical experience using either with maca so cannot really comment to any extent on them. Many cultures have used adaptogens throughout history and the list of them is long. As with all traditional plants there is always a need for further research, please let us know if you see in any benefits from using them in combination with maca.

  1. Isabella
    Isabella says:

    I find it interesting that the male blend has libido in the description, but not the women’s blend. This comes across as an assumption that women are not interested in increasing their libido. What would I take for increasing libido, but not caring about fertility?

    • corin
      corin says:

      Hi Isabella, the claims made on the products are to do with clinical studies undertaken in either men or women. To date there has been no direct clinical study looking at the effectiveness of maca in increasing female libido. As a result we cannot put this claim with the product for women. That however does not mean it does not work for women, just that there is no evidence to support its use for that. In terms of customer reports for libido improvements in women the results are varied, some women have seen significant improvements, others none. The estimated percentage that have reported libido enhancements in women is less than what we hear from our male customers but nevertheless there are a percentage of women that find maca does help their libido. For this specific treatment we would recommend the maca for women blend of the three colours.


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