Peruvian Maca hypocotyls (Lepidium peruvianum synonym L. meyenii) grown as a blend of differently-coloured phenotypes in a mixed native Maca crops in high Peruvian Andes is cultivated at altitudes above 4,000m a.s.l.. It has been traditionally used by natives as an energizing and revitalising food additive with claimed “gender specific medicinal properties”. Several brands of dietary supplements based on processed Maca hypocotyls and designed specifically for men and/or women are now marketed around the world with wide ranging health claims – some of them being confirmed in clinical studies. Glucosinolates profiles and their individual ratios are used to identify products’ origin and plant phenotype responsible for expected specific physiological effects and biological potency of resultant individual Maca product.
In 1990s’ Maca was introduced to China, Yunnan Province, initially for research purpose, but with reported health benefits and potential advantages to local economy under local environmental and soil conditions, Peruvian Maca was propagated to the level of a commercial local crop, eventually in 2002 obtaining approval by Chinese Government for its cultivation in China (under the Latin name L. meyenii) and in 2012 Maca products were formally permitted to be marketed as a “food resource for health”. Recent research demonstrated that geographic location where Maca is cultivated (either in Peruvian Andean highlands or locations in Peru or China) has profound influence on percentage participation of individual phenotypes in Maca crop, their shape, weight and Glucosinolates profiles – all these differences most likely contributing to biochemical status of harvested Maca, hence, influencing bioactive potency of resultant Maca products.
In this presentation phenotypical target action of Maca preparations and their specific health effects on – or influencing medical conditions experienced by men and/or women of different age and physiological stages is presented. The phytopharmaceutical effects of standardised Maca preparations based on individual Maca phenotypes or their blends with characteristic Glucosinolates profiles based on Maca cultivated in High Peruvian Andes where Maca originates and is cultivated for centuries without changes until today according to traditional “single stage” cultivation system is compared with Glucosinolates characteristics of the products derived from cultivation in Shangri-La (Yunnan – China) according to a “two stage” commercial Chinese planting system.
Based on presented results, further research is recommended to help explaining dynamics of changes in Glucosinolates and other active Maca components induced by different cultivation practices and to what degree observed changes in phytochemistry could alter therapeutic functions expected from Maca used as functional dietary supplement originated and derived from traditional Peruvian and/or Chinese commercial cultivation system.
Dr Henry O MEISSNER – is a native of Poland, graduated from Cracow University where back in 1963 has obtained MSc degree in Environmental Sciences followed by PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry in 1968. Next 50 years which followed he settled initially in New Zealand and later in Sydney, Australia, where from 1978 he lived and worked at Universities and government research Organisations with frequent overseas senior academic appointments and various project assignments in the USA, South America, Europe and Asia.
His earlier research centred on correcting various metabolic symptoms induced by dietary imbalances, physiologically-induced stress, toxicity or environmental factors with their practical correction to restore metabolic equilibrium in treated groups of subjects exhibiting various dietary imbalances linked to specific health conditions.
The last 20 years Professor Meissner has devoted most of his time to research and clinical study on use of standardized Peruvian medicinal plant “Maca” and its prime phenotypes in alleviating gender-related health disorders and designing lines of standardised phyto-pharmaceutical products for a wide range of gender- and age-related health symptoms.
He has published over 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers, books and textbook chapters on wide spectrum of research topics, related to his professional interest. Now retired (semi-), still maintains his research base in Sydney continuing his collaborative research and development in biomedical and phytopharmaceutical areas with various institutions around the world.