Maca is a native Peruvian root vegetable that has been used for centuries to promote health and balance hormone levels, helping women with conditions like PMS, PCOS and oestrogen dominance, as well as improve fertility, libido and stress management. Maca has also been used during menopause to reduce symptoms of hormonal transitions like hot flushes, mood fluctuations, anxiety and to return inner harmony and balance to the body.
In Peru, maca root (Lepidium meyenii) is traditionally sun-dried for 3 months before being boiled into teas or porridge and consumed daily as a balancing and energising elixir. Known as an adaptogen, it helps the body respond and adapt to stress, provides resilience to the nervous system and supports the master glands (hypothalamus and pituitary) that determine all of our hormonal responses. Regular consumption of maca powder can help those struggling with stress related conditions to rebalance their health, improve wellbeing and build resilience to stress in the future.
What are the other health benefits of taking maca?
There are many clinical studies to show the benefits of maca powder including energy[i], mood and mental health,[ii] hormone balance including reducing symptoms of menopause and PMS,[iii] improving fertility,[iv] metabolic function,[v] sexual dysfunction and libido[vi] and in reducing levels of inflammation.[vii] Furthermore the different colours of maca have also been shown to be unique in how they work. Red maca for example is most effective for improving bone density[viii] and female fertility[ix]. In contrast black maca was shown to be the most effective for improving memory function, learning ability, brain clarity[x] and athletic performance.[xi] Yellow maca is the most common form of maca and is considered neutral. It is used for general balance, well-being, resilience to stress and improving thyroid function.
What maca is best for me?
For most women we recommend using a specially formulated blend of maca called Maca for women. It is a scientific blend of the best of all three colours; red, yellow and black Maca in ideal ratios to balance female hormones and health. Maca for women is effective for mild-moderate hormonal imbalances and can also be used to naturally regulate menstrual cycles to improve female fertility. It is safe during pregnancy and breast feeding and also can be used to help women struggling with post-natal depression. For older women it can be taken daily to assist with transitioning through menopause and improving bone density and circulation.
How do I take maca?
Maca powder has a sweet and malt caramel flavor that combines well with fruits, spices, and bitter foods like cacao. It makes a great addition to your morning smoothie, bircher or porridge and pairs very well with little bird organics Golden Almond Everything Breakfast.
You can also have maca the traditional way by using it as a tea, infused with cinnamon, cloves and dried fruit or blend it into a hot latte. Ideally you want to consume a teaspoon per day for a minimum of 6-12 weeks to get the full health benefits.
We recommend maca from Seleno Health – The Maca Experts
[i](a) Shin, S., et al., Gelatinized and fermented powders of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improve physical stamina and epididymal sperm counts in male mice. J. Emb. Trans, 2008. 23: p. 283-289. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291889082_Gelatinizedand_fermented_powders_of_Lepidium_meyenii_Maca_improve_physical_stamina_and_epididymal_sperm_counts_in_male_mice (b) Choi, E.H., et al., Supplementation of standardised lipid-soluble extract from maca (Lepidium meyenii) increases swimming endurance capacity in rats. Journal of Functional Foods, 2012. 4(2): p. 568-573. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464612000436
[ii] Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause, 15(6), 1157-1162. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
[iii] Meissner, H. O., Mrozikiewicz, P., Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, T., Mscisz, A., Kedzia, B., Lowicka, A., Reich-Bilinska H, Kapczynski W & Barchia, I. (2006). Hormone-balancing effect of pre-gelatinized organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon):(I) biochemical and pharmacodynamic study on Maca using clinical laboratory model on ovariectomized rats. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 2(3), 260. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674989 (b) Meissner, H. O., Kedzia, B., Mrozikiewicz, P. M., & Mscisz, A. (2006). Short and long-term physiological responses of male and female rats to two dietary levels of pre-gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon). International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 2(1), 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674962 (c) Brooks, N. A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K. Z., Ashton, J. F., Cox, M. B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause, 15(6), 1157-1162. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
[iv] Zinaman, M. J., Brown, C. C., Selevan, S. G., & Clegg, E. D. (2000). Semen quality and human fertility: a prospective study with healthy couples. Journal of Andrology, 21(1), 145- 153. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10670528. (b) Gonzales, G. F. (2015) Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21977053
[v] Meissner, H. O., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mscisz, A., & Kedzia, B. (2006). Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon) used as a non-hormonal alternative to HRT in perimenopausal women-Clinical Pilot Study. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 2(2), 143. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614596/
[vi] Gonzales, G. F., Cordova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A., Góñez, C., & Castillo, S. (2002). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia, 34(6), 367-372. (b) Zenico, T., Cicero, A. F. G., Valmorri, L., Mercuriali, M., & Bercovich, E. (2009). Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well‐being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double‐blind clinical trial. Andrologia, 41(2), 95-99.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19260845
[vii] Zheng, W., et al., Lepidium meyenii Walp Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity against ConA-Induced Acute Hepatitis. Mediators Inflamm, 2018. 2018: p. 8982756. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30647537
[viii] Gonzales C, Cárdenas-Valencia I, Leiva-Revilla J, Anza-Ramirez C, Rubio J, Gonzales GF. Effects of different varieties of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on bone structure in ovariectomized rats. Forsch Komplementmed. 2010;17(3):137-143. doi:10.1159/000315214. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20616517
[ix] Gonzales, G. F. (2015) Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a
Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21977053
[x] (a) Rubio J, Caldas M, Dávila S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF. Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006;6(1):23-27. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1534053/ .(b) Rubio, J., et al., Aqueous Extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment Induced by Ovariectomy in Mice. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2011. 2011: p. 253958-253958. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18955369
[xi] Wan, W., Li, H., Xiang, J., Yi, F., Xu, L., Jiang, B., & Xiao, P. (2018). Aqueous Extract of Black Maca Prevents Metabolism Disorder via Regulating the Glycolysis/Gluconeogenesis-TCA Cycle and PPARα Signaling Activation in Golden Hamsters Fed a High-Fat, High-Fructose Diet. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 333. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29681858