Adaptogens are substances that improve the bodies ability to resist and recover from stress. Stress can come in many forms, but is basically anything that pushes the body away from homeostasis. There has been a significant amount of research regarding adaptogens in the past few decades following the publicized use of these substances by successful olympic atheletes. Only recently are we beginning to really understand their mechanisms.
Maca comes from high in the Andes mountains of South America. It is, in fact, eh highest altitude crop in the entire world. The phytochemistry of the root is well understood and has many uses medicinally.