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Maca in early Peruvian records.

In the ample literature about maca that has become available in recent years, there is inaccurate information on the planting, harvesting, and drying of maca, information claiming chemical content that it does not have, applications for certain health conditions that do not occur, as well as the benefits that produce, and still the same scientific name of, that does not correspond to maca (Lepidium Meyenii Walpers), because these data actually describe another plant, Lepidium Peruvianum Chacón.

Until the context of the historical data from which a supposition is taken is certain (for example, that in the time of the Incas maca was used like a food for the imperial troops, or, that it was a food of the nobility), we cannot know how much credibility to assign any assertion.

Once these first erroneous writings are used as sources, others who write on maca spread the erroneous data creating confusion, when their work should have the opposite effect, to contribute new knowledge on maca, describing its many good qualities.

Data such as historical references should not be used outside of their contexts without judicious handling.

References from the dawn of the Spanish conquest

History, narration and true exhibition of the events last and memorable things. It interests to say to us from when this plant is mentioned. There are writings, are dates. The invading Spaniards Ilegaron to You fall down in 1527 in pos of incaico gold, they appropriated themselves earth and people and distributed them like booty military of a single side. The result in the tragic phrase attributed to the educated Atahualpa can be transformed: "Trocósenos reynar in vasallaje" and established from here and for always the heavy load of the tributes that through all the times were reason for protests and insurrections often squashed to fire and blood, tómese to Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, Túpac Amaru II, like one of the examples. It is in a relation of the tributes that had to pay the "lndios", every year, to the Spanish encomenderos, ominous list in which one is, between very many other tributes like gold, the silver, cocaine, clothes, wool, flames, birds, maize, eggs, potatos; mentioned the MACA for the first time. Thus, with this name, not with maca-maca maino neither ayac willcu nor nor ayac chichira. And later in a series of relations of the visitadores and the cronistas from the second big wave of the Spaniards.

Lima, January 12, 1549:
"I Pedro, Lawyer Of the Gasca of the Council of his majesty and of the Holy Inquisition, president, and ruler of provinces of Peru by his majesty..." had given the rank of Captain to Don Joan Tello de Sotomayor, of between several tracts inherited by his wife Catherine Riquelme, of his father Don Alonso Riquelme, corresponding to Chinchaycocha (the lagoon of Junín and his contornos) "... I entrust this Joan Tello, the Runato chiefdom with their main towns and Indians of Chinchaycocha... ""... send the tributes that Iuso Iran declared by the form and order that is followed: Firstly, this cacique and Indios of the this repartimiento in each a year, seven hundred pesos of quatrocientos gold of a and cinquenta marvedis each one put of seys in seys months the dellos trezientos and cinquenta in house of the encomendero half in gold and half in silver... - Yten dareys in each a year trezientas MACA loads each load of average hanega and one hundred loads of potatoes each load of the same put measurement half in the inn of your valley (sic) and other half in house of the encomendero... " - and for the clergyman or monk who had to instruct them "... and each one week a load of potatoes and another one of MACA... ".

Iñigo Ortíz de Zúñiga.... When them exigieron as tribute the maize "... the inhabitants of the Curacazgo de Causso (It sings) referred to cultivate single MACA to be their very high region....".

The called rebellion Taki Onjoy Incahuasi, Parinacochas. "... and they went to the war singing and dancing by the mixture of hallucinogenic products and MACA... ".

(Andean Roots, pag. 163 Investigation 17) Iñigo Ortíz de Zúñiga: Visit of the Province from Leon de Huánuco When talking about to the Chinchaycocha and the Yaros that used it like exchange, mentions "... and have earth for its sementeras for grass of its cattle and that in their earth to maiz and potatoes take and quinoa and taures and olluco and maxua and oca and frijoles and MACA: And not another thing and that these sementeras do in platform because it is land of mountain range... "

Fray Domingo of Santo Tomás "... Fruit to bleed... ".

P. Antonio Thorny Vásquez de - Compendium and description of the western Indians in the province of Castrovirreyna... "siembranse Popes that are like criadillas of earth, ocas, MACAS, that are like small nabos... " "the province of Chinchaycocha is very cold as much that in all she arbol does not occur so single, neither cria maiz nor wheat; but single one occurs rrais of form of navo like hogasuela that the Indians single Ilaman MACAS this occurs in this province and has in if as much fire, that the Indians certificaron to me, who where sowing dexa sterilized the Earth by 30 years that is not of benefit to be able to seed it... ".

"... they paid doszientas and twenty and two fanegas of potatos... if the these Indians will want it to pay in MACA, everything or partly can do it... "


P. Bernabé Cobo, "History of the New World."
"In the single province of Chinchaycocha, diocese of Lima, is a plant called MACA in the language of the indigenous ones of that land. This rough plant is born in the cold of the Mountain ranges, where there does not occur another plant which can be cultivated for sustenance of human life; it seems God provided to the Indians of that province with this root so that they were not without having in the Earth some natural maintenance. The plant is small, and does not rise more of the ground than a handspan; the very slight leaf and the root are of the size and form of a pear cermena, white like nabo on the inside, and after drought it is left much smaller and very similar to the dry knobs; it is sweet and of good pleasure; it is finally eaten, cooked and roasted.
"It has one surprising property, that anywhere that seeds a year, burns the Earth of such way, that in more than ten years it is not possible to be returned to seed in her; and so that one does not freeze with contínuous snows and frosts that always there is where seeds it usually cover with straw until the season to take it. Its temperament is very hot, and is common opinion that, with being the Province of Chinchaycocha, where this root occurs, very sterile and of so cold and rough weather, to stay his natural ones with this nonsingle root they go to less, like in the other provinces of Peru, but which they are multiplied every day more, for which they say to have virtue this plant." (Book 4, Ch XV).


Hipólito Ruiz, Spanish scientist, head of the botanical expedition to "the Kingdoms of Peru and Chile."
In his account of his trip to the districts at the center of Peru from 1777 to 1778, on MACA, he indicates its area of production and consumption the towns of Carhuamayo, Pampa de los Reyes, Ninacaca and the districts of Carhuamayo and Ondores of the department of Junín. He says that the crop is "papitas or turmosas roots, of the size of hazelnuts, but greatly favored as ardent aphrodisiacs, which excite Venus; for which reason many think they hasten fecundity of the men and women."

Pierre Duviols in his work "Unpublished of Cristóbal de Albornoz" assures us that "during the Colony existed the practice called Confession of Maca, a custom surely inherited of the pre-Hispanic antiquity. This process was applied to people reluctant to declare the truth, and consisted of providing to them a potion with maca in combination with other substances.
The effect was serious; the subject seemed to be driven crazy, jumped, struck the head against the walls and, naturally, it provided the solicited confession.
'The Unpublished' says nothing on the formula used, nor what were the other components, but is indicated that it was so active that a smallest portion was enough to cause the reactions that we mention."