Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Benefits and properties of black maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Black maca is a type of maca root that has several health benefits. It is rich in calcium, which helps increase bone density and keep bones healthy. Black maca also contains high levels of protein, which assists with muscle growth and increases strength and energy levels. It can help improve mood, stamina, and overall performance. Additionally, black maca can help with hair loss by promoting hair growth and preventing hair loss.

Maca root in general has several other health benefits. It is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Maca root can be ground up into a powder and added to meals or smoothies. Some of the benefits of maca root include increasing libido, reducing erectile dysfunction, boosting energy and endurance, increasing fertility, improving mood, reducing blood pressure, helping the body manage stress, helping with depression, leading to increased energy levels and helping with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

Maca root has been used for over 2,000 years by Andean people who have cultivated it in the harsh weather conditions above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) in the Peruvian Andes mountain range. While more research is needed to confirm its health benefits as many studies used small sample sizes or animal models, it is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. 

How does black maca compare to other types of maca

The different types of Maca have different properties and benefits. Black maca is considered masculine and supports male sexual health. Both red and black maca have been shown to have a positive effect on bone density, with the red variety proving more beneficial. Black maca is the rarest form of maca, accounting for only 10-15% of the crop. Studies have shown that black maca root has a higher bioactive compound content than yellow maca, but slightly less than red maca. Research has also shown that the black and red maca can improve libido and bone health, while the yellow maca has not shown these effects.

In what presentations can we find black maca?

Black maca root can be found in various presentations, including pills, powder, and hydro alcoholic extract.

PMC /NIH / Healthline / Medicalnewstoday / Forbes

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Differentiation of the amazonian chocolate tree (theobroma cacao L)

Cacao is cultivated in the humid tropics and is a major source of currency for small farmers as well as the main cash crop of several West African countries. Its fruits (pods) contain the seeds (beans) that are later processed by the multi-billion-dollar chocolate industry. Average yields are about 300 kg per hectare but 3,000 kg/ha are often reported from field trials. Genetic improvement of cacao through breeding has focused on increasing yield and disease resistance. To increase yield, breeders have capitalized on heterosis that occurs in crosses between trees from different genetic groups.
Cacao native tree

Traditionally, two main genetic groups, “Criollo” and “Forastero”, have been defined within cacao based on morphological traits and geographical origins. A third group, “Trinitario”, has been recognized and consists of “Criollo”דForastero” hybrids. In parallel, botanists described two subspecies: cacao and sphaeorocarpum, corresponding to “Criollo” and “Forastero”, which, according to some authors, evolved in Central and South America, respectively. For other authors, “Criollo” and “Trinitario” should be considered as traditional cultivars rather than genetic groups. Two other traditional cultivars have been described: Nacional and Amelonado. Nonetheless, a sound classification of Theobroma cacao L. populations, based on genetic data, is lacking for the breeding and management of its genetic resources.

Diferent types of cacao in Perú

The Amazon basin contains some of the most biologically diverse tree communities ever encountered; tree species richness may attain three hundred species in one-hectare plots. In cacao, flowers are hermaphrodites. However, it is an outcrossing species due to the action of self-incompatibility mechanisms in wild individuals, while the cultivated ones are generally self-compatible. Other Amazonian species of importance such as Theobroma grandiflorum show similar mating systems.

At the end, we can find a new classification of cacao germplasm into 10 major clusters, or groups: Marañon, Curaray, Criollo, Iquitos, Nanay, Contamana, Amelonado, Purús, Nacional and Guiana. This new classification reflects more accurately the genetic diversity now available for breeders, rather than the traditional classification as Criollo, Forastero or Trinitario. We encourage the establishment of new mating schemes in the search of heterotic combinations based on the high degree of population differentiation reported. Furthermore, we propose that germplasm curators and geneticists should use this new classification in their endeavor to conserve, manage and exploit the cacao genetic resources. Read more in Geographic and Genetic Population Differentiation of the Amazonian Chocolate Tree (Theobroma cacao L)