What are the benefits of maca root and are there any side effects? For centuries, herbalists have used this herbaceous biennial plant as an herbal remedy for energy, stamina, and even chronic fatigue syndrome.
What Is Maca Root?
Native to Boliva and Peru, Lepidium meyenii (maca) was utilized by natives when its adaptogen properties were discovered. The maca plant is the size of a radish or turnip and helps bodies adapt to their environment. In the Andes mountain elevations, the maca root was used to help natives adapt to the high-elevation and low oxygen levels. Used as a body stress reliever, maca root boosts endurance, strength, alertness and is recommended as a libido enhancer.
Maca root is full of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C, D and E as well as being high in alkaloids to help regulate the hormone system. It is also full of proteins, fiber, tannins, calcium, potassium, fatty acids, copper, zinc, iron and magnesium.
What Are the Benefits of Maca Root?
Not only is the maca root thought of as an herbal supplement, it is also believed to be an aphrodisiac and a testosterone booster. Athletes of all kinds use it to help boost testosterone levels in order to achieve higher performance, a much wiser alternative than steroids. Some of the benefits associated by taking maca root are:
- Menopause - Some herbalists and physicians have found that maca root is just as effective and preferred over hormone replacement therapy to fight symptoms of menopause and helps to reduce depression, fatigue, and hot flashes.
- Male Enhancer - Dr. Garry Gordon of the American College for Advancement in Medicine has called the maca root, "nature's answer to Viagra," for its ability to increase tissue response in males.
- Infertility - Maca root also helps with infertility through its release of progesterone and estrogen. Females have also reported an increased sexual drive from taking maca root.
- Fatigue - The maca root also helps people facing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or mild fatigue.
- Anxiety - For those suffering from depression and anxiety, this adaptogen has helped steady mood levels offering a sense of well-being.
- Healing - Because the maca root can improve circulation, it has been shown to help heal wounds, cuts and even anemia.
- Brain Power - Some people swear by the maca root for helping them maintain alertness, memory and concentration.
Dosage for Maca Root
Maca root is available in a capsule supplement form and the recommended daily dosage is between 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams per day. Some herbalists and doctors recommend doses as high as 3,000 to 5,000 milligrams per day. Because some people can suffer from the side effects of maca root, its therapy should be started at the lowest dose possible and then increase the dose depending on what your doctor or herbalist recommends.
Side Effects of Maca Root
While the benefits of maca root are many, some people have suffered maca root side effects such as:
- Tightness in chest or throat or breathing problems
- Chest pain
- Rash, hives and itchy skin
- Rapid heart beat
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your doctor first, however, most herbalists say long-term use of maca root is often the cause of side effects. One way to avoid maca root side effects is to take it for up to two or three weeks and then stop taking it for one week before you begin treatment again.
People who should avoid maca root include anyone allergic to dietary supplements, pregnant or nursing women, and those with heart disease or high blood pressure.
The benefits of maca root, including its natural healing and enhancement powers, have been used for centuries. Like other herbal supplements if you are unsure if you can take maca root or to help you determine the right dosage, it's best to speak with your herbalist or physician.