When it comes to the Maca root – the belief is, you truly can have it all. An increased libido, higher energy levels, lower blood pressure and less anxiety. Known as “Peruvian ginseng”, the natural root vegetable Maca or Lepidium meyenii is full of natural medicinal properties, which has made it such a popular go-to herb within the holistic community.
Native to the Andes Mountains in Peru, Maca is a Peruvian plant of the Brassicaceae family growing between 4000-4500 altitude. Used as a traditional medicine in regions of Peru and Bolivia for centuries, Maca is specifically known for its ability to enhance fertility. Growing in harsh and wild climates, the plant has been a staple crop for Peruvians.
Traditionally, the root was cooked in soups as fuel to prepare for battle and the root was even used to brew light beers. In the modern day, Chefs use maca root powder in baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies. Whilst many use the powder in breakfasts for its energizing properties make for a great start for the day. Think oatmeal, porridges, pancakes and waffles.
The root is bursting with earthy and nutty flavors. It’s rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, which promotes health benefits such as an increased libido, heightened energy levels, improving moods and anxiety. These undeniable nutritional benefits have led the plant to rapidly become one of Peru’s top exports from 2000-2010.
Experts in the scientific field have been studying the plants medicinal properties for some time. Evidence from experiments on humans and animals found the plant to be a natural energizer and fertility enhancer. Clinical trials even showed maca can increase sperm count. Furthermore, the impact the plant can have on women’s anxiety and reduction of depression has been shown in a study reported by Medical News Today, which promotes Maca as a new breakthrough traditional medicine for mental health.
Marketed as a superfood, maca has become a popular herbal trend in recent years. With the impact of COVID sending us all into a healthy eating frenzy, superfoods and vegan supplements have become all the rage online, and maca is no exception. As our busy lives and thirst for fast results, supplements, powders and shakes have become the new way to introduce Maca as a nutrient-rich ingredient into our diet.
Powders promoted to be used in protein shakes, smoothies and cereals have taken the market by storm.
However, there are less discussions on the side affects or warnings of what a herb that is so rich in estrogen can do to women with conditions that impact their hormones.
There are notable warnings about Maca that should be taken into consideration. Reported side affects like stomach distress and insomnia, or the affects on your menstrual cycle are notable warnings for women especially. For women with hormone sensitive conditions such as fibroids which are linked to the estrogen and progesterone hormone, taking Maca which is said to stimulate and increase estrogen production could be detrimental, and in fact worsen your condition. Alongside the impact that this can have alongside other medications, for those on long term medical drugs, consulting with a doctor before implementing any natural remedy is highly recommended.