Since maca (known scientifically as lepidium meyenii) is a plant, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with its features when learning about its fertility benefits. The top of the maca is a combination of mat-like stems, scalloped leaves and white flowers.
While this creates a lovely ground covering, it's the part of the plant below ground that has all of the benefits. The maca root is a tuber that looks a lot like radish. At the very top of the root is a feature called hypocotyl. The hypocotyls of macas come in different colors, but researchers have found that those with black hypocotyls have a greater impact on male fertility.
A study in which rats were given maca root originating from macas with black hypocotyls (also known as black maca) found that sperm count was increased within one day of treatment [source: Gonzales, et. al]. This confirmed an earlier study of Peruvian men in which maca root improved sperm production and sperm motility [source: Gonzales, et. al].
And those aren't the only effects maca root has had on male fertility. Another study that looked at infertility in rats found that maca root prevented spermatogenic disruption related to lead exposure [source: Rubio, et. al].
So, if you consider maca root's sperm-augmenting qualities, as well as its potential aphrodisiac benefits, it shows promise as a beneficial supplement for fertility in men. But does it help women? We'll look at that question on the next page.