The perfect medicine for love

Corin Storkey holding a bouquet of maca to Sally Huapaya in a field

Wellbeing writer and maca enthusiast Justine Jamieson talks to the founders of The Maca Experts about how the planet connected them and sparked their love.

Six years ago, Dr Corin Storkey was stuck in the dull corporate grind at a pharmaceutical company in Sydney – in a job that left him unfulfilled, single and diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. He was lacking passion in his life. That was until he booked a trip to Peru; an experience that changed his life forever.

Once in Peru, along came Sally Huapaya, a beautiful Peruvian woman who grew up with the spiritual traditions of the Inca people. Sally was also in the corporate world, working at a bank, and had a tertiary education in engineering. The pair connected on so many levels.

After a short time, Corin opened up and explained his chronic fatigue condition and the effect that had on his libido. “In my culture, there is not even a word for this. It is a western world issue,” explains Sally.

She prescribed the root of her ancestors. “You need maca,” she told him, in her strong, convincing way. “It will help you, offer you protection and energy.

”How could he refuse? “She even hid it in my porridge,” jokes Corin. “Ah, stop,” says Sally with a cheeky giggle. “Yes, but I explained you must be consistent!”

Even with her microdosing porridge antics, Corin trusted Sally. But, being a scientist, his inner sceptic was on the alert. He needed to know more, and was fascinated by the medicinal root that was giving him back his vitality. After returning home with a new-found twinkle in his eye, he quit his job and moved to Peru to be with his lover, who also left her job. These masterminds with purposeful hearts became partners in a new social enterprise – The Maca Experts.

A farmer in holding a bunch of freshly harvested maca with both hands
A farmer in Peru with freshly harvested maca.

Corin started researching every detail. He learnt that maca was the most sacred plant of Junín, Peru, and it has been used by the Inca people for more than 2000 years in traditional practice as a medicine for healing. Maca is a vegetable – part of the radish family – that grows in extreme conditions. Grown at 4000m above sea level in the Andes, it is the highest cultivated crop on the planet.

A farmer in ploughing fields in Peru with two Donkeys in front of him
A Peruvian farmer ploughs his fields.

This magical plant not only thrives where other vegetables don’t, but it survives intense frosts, scorching UV rays and lack of oxygen at high altitude. The resilient root vegetable is treated with the utmost respect by farmers and shamans. Planting, harvesting, drying (for three months), cooking and ingesting are all performed in a ceremonial way. Corin later found, in lab tests, that without this sacred drying process it would not develop its medicinal qualities.

The maca plant is known to the ancients as the food of the brain. More scientifically, it is an adaptogen that helps the brain respond and adapt to stress, and to return balance to the body’s natural endocrine function. It’s always been especially valued for its ability to boost libido – and in that respect it certainly worked for Corin. Maca root is also a nutritional powerhouse that provides key macro and micronutrients, antioxidants, and unique bioactive compounds, like macamides, which regulate our endocannabinoid system.

Maca grows in three colours, and the ratio remains constant – about 60-70 percent is yellow, 20-25 percent red and 10-15 percent black. The shamans claim this is not by chance, but about how “she” (la maca) wants you to consume her. The three colours are prepared and taken differently depending on the body’s requirements and the condition being treated.

It’s often best to combine the three colours to get the best from each, but the ratio can be different for men, women and children. Corin has worked on clinical studies with New Zealand university labs, and says red maca is effective for improving male prostate function, balancing female hormones and managing anxiety, adrenal function and stress. Black maca benefits brain function, athletic performance and mental health.

Once the maca has gone through its harvesting process, The Maca Experts make sure every batch is scientifically analysed and standardised, a process that’s backed by Corin’s PhD in medicinal chemistry and his 15 years of academic and research experience, resulting in the most premium, specialised product on the market.

Learning from the ancient knowledge of healers in Peru, and after testing the macamide profiles of the raw ingredients, The Maca Experts created specially formulated Maca for Men and Maca for Women, which are tri-coloured maca blends that you can pop in your smoothie, cuppa or porridge in the morning. They also offer highly concentrated blends, that are up to 10 times stronger, to target specific ailments.

Corin and Sally work closely with farmers and shamans in Peru and follow ancient traditions in a respectful way.

Sally Huapaya and Corin Storkey standing on a farm in Peru holding The Maca Experts products
The founders of The Maca Experts, Sally and Corin, on a farm in Peru.

Sally Huapaya and Corin Storkey standing on a farm in Peru holding The Maca Experts products ImageThe ceremonial process takes into account the masculine and feminine elements of nature, and gives thanks to the plant as a sacred living being. They give back to the local Junín community and also teach people in New Zealand the ancient ceremonial practices, offering experiences to learn about this sacred plant here and, before the pandemic, on retreat in Peru.

There is an Inca proverb that says, “When the eagle and condor fly together, it is a sign that humanity will raise the vibration.” This means when different cultures move together as one unified being, humanity will advance. Sally and Corin’s union of cultures with science and spirituality has definitely been a success. After six years of working together, they will marry later this year. The couple will give thanks to maca, the magical plant that brought them together.

Maca for Men and Maca for Women by The Maca Experts
Men’s and women’s maca blends.

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