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.

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(s) being treated. Yellow is for daily use and long-term balance, red and black are sacred and saved for acute or chronic therapeutic use. Yellow is neutral, red is internal (feminine energy), black is external (masculine energy).

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

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 and daily consumption for a minimum of 8-12 weeks can offer benefits for those treating hormonal imbalances (PMS, menopause), thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, autoimmunity, inflammation, mental health, mental cognition and also for improving athletic performance and fertility.

Red Maca is more rare (20-25%) and is thought to be more sacred and saved for acute treatment of constitutional imbalances. Red is considered feminine and can promote internal balance for those lacking in internal nourishment. Clinically, red maca has been shown to be beneficial for managing acute symptoms of PMS and menopause, for circulatory issues, prostate function in men, fertility in women, osteoporosis, anxiety and fatigue. Our own studies have shown red maca to contain higher levels of bioactives that promote a calming and anti-anxiety effect on the nervous system, substantiating some of the traditional uses.

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. Black is considered masculine and can promote external strength, power, stamina and brain function. Clinically, black maca has been shown to be beneficial for managing acute symptoms of fatigue, mental focus and cognition, memory, motor-neuron function, fertility and libido in men, muscle strength and stamina, depression and brain fog. We are currently investigating the composition of black maca but preliminary reports suggest it can promote increased blood flow via nitric oxide production and achieve higher oxygen levels in blood and muscle tissue, that falls in-line with its traditional uses.

The fundamental properties of the three colours

Red and black maca are used daily in low-dose or acutely in high-doses compared to yellow maca, used more as a daily food source.

Red and black maca can be used to provide additional acute support to specific health conditions. Red nourishes the internal and black the external. The shamans and healers will look at your body’s constitution and see what energies are lacking before using red and black maca in high doses to treat. See the chart below listing the symptoms of deficiencies relating to internal and external conditions and which colour to use to treat each. In essence see which symptoms are dominant on any given day and treat with the colour that corresponds. Learn more about taking maca here and which maca to take for which condition here.

The symptoms can tell you what the body is lacking in and which maca to use that day

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.

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