What is Maca?
Maca is actually a tuber that is also called “Peruvian Ginseng.” According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Natives of this area ate it raw, cooked or boiled leading to its implementation as an everyday staple. The rough terrain of this region made it difficult to cultivate food so most of the communities diet was dependent upon wild gathered material. Maca resembles a radish and is actually a close relative. The growing conditions are very specific and it will only thrive in the glaciated slopes of the Andes with a prime elevation of 12,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level.”
Benefits of Maca
Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance hormones and reverse hypothyroidism. It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning that it does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production.
Maca has also been used as a way to increase fertility (and I can vouch for this personally!). It is naturally “high in minerals (calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc), sterols (6 found), up to 20 essential fatty acids, lipids, fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids.”
Maca is often recommended to those with adrenal fatigue as it nourishes them and reduces stress hormones. It’s especially known for its benefit in balancing hormones. According to this article:
“Maca root helps balance our hormones and due to an over abundance of environmental estrogens, most people’s hormones are a bit out of whack. Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the “master glands” of the body. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.
Maca root has been shown to be beneficial for all sorts of hormonal problems including PMS, menopause, and hot flashes. Maca’s also a fertility enhancer and is best known for improving libido and sexual function, especially in men. For this reason, it’s earned the nickname “nature’s Viagra.””
I have personally seen many cases of couples adding Maca to their daily regimen and conceiving easily, even after struggling with infertility. (Note: It should not be consumed during pregnancy!)
Here is more information about the ways Maca is used to promote fertility and this post talks about its role in balancing hormones.
How to Take Maca
As Maca is a root vegetable in the Radish family, it can safely be taken in small amounts daily. It is available in powder form (least expensive option) or in capsules (slightly more expensive).
The powder can be mixed into smoothies or coffee, or capsules can be easily swallowed.