For thousands of years people all over the world have discovered and used medicinally powerful plants to heal and optimize health. Although this knowledge used to remain concealed in close-knit circles around the globe, in recent years the benefits of these medicinal plants have been more widely shared and have spanned new cultures and continents.
One such natural remedy that’s seen increased popularity in the last decade is the earthy, nutty and slightly sweet maca root. Originating in Peru, it’s been used as a food and for medicinal purposes there for millennia.
Maca is now well-known as a superfood, but it also has specific benefits for hormone health and balance. As we raise awareness and offer support during PCOS Awareness Month, in this blog we cover the incredible benefits of this powerful medicinal plant and explain how it can offer relief for a variety of hormone-related issues.
What is Maca?
Maca root comes from a cruciferous plant related to broccoli, cabbage and kale – also known as Peruvian Ginseng. It grows natively up high in the Andes mountain range and has been cultivated by people in this region for over 2000 years. It was originally used for respiratory conditions and rheumatic disease, but this soon expanded and Maca eventually became more well-known for its effects on energy, stamina and fertility. Maca root is rich in fiber, amino acids, minerals and essential vitamins as well as some powerful antioxidants, all of which make it a powerful superfood. Maca is also classed as an adaptogen – supporting the body’s stress response and nervous system regulation.
Commercially the root is most often found in a dried and powdered format, either within capsules or free-flowing to add to smoothies and juices.
What are the benefits of maca?
Maca is thought to have a great number of health benefits – although it’s important to note that none of these have been proven scientifically with a sufficient number of studies to confirm these effects. Despite this thousands of people worldwide swear by Maca and report a significant improvement in symptoms when consuming it on a regular basis. Key benefits include:
Maca can help ease some of the more unpleasant symptoms and side-effects of the menopause, including sleep disruption, hot flashes and mood swings. A number of studies have confirmed that regular intake of Maca can alleviate key symptoms and improve feelings of wellness and quality of life for women during the menopause.
Mood regulation and natural energy
Maca has been shown to enhance mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, especially in post-menopausal women. A study conducted amongst people living at high altitudes also concluded that after 12 weeks those taking Maca experienced increased energy levels and elevated mood compared to those taking a placebo.
Maca is perhaps most well-known for its libido-boosting benefits for women experiencing low sexual desire. In 2015 a Harvard study showed that women taking a daily dose of Maca found they had significantly improved sexual function and libido within 12 weeks, compared with a placebo group. Another study showed results after just 6 weeks. These effects were witnessed most significantly in women who were experiencing the menopause or who were post-menopausal.
Maca initially became popular worldwide following press promoting its positive effects on fertility and libido, particularly in men. Whilst comprehensive studies on how Maca interacts with the body are still pending, initial findings do show that it can offer relief in a variety of ways for women – most likely related to how Maca affects hormones in the body.
Maca for PCOS
Over 5 million women in the US have PCOS – many more struggle without a diagnosis. In the absence of many medical interventions which don’t involve surgery or side-effects, more women are discovering natural remedies which can help them to live more comfortably and healthily with this condition.
Preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence shows that Maca can be particularly helpful for women suffering symptoms of PCOS.
Because of its interaction with hormones through controlling the function of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus as well as FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormones), Maca can offer relief for many key symptoms including painful periods, hot flashes, acne and hair loss.
As always, it’s important to consult your doctor before starting to take any supplement or medication to ensure that it is right for you and your needs.
Holistic support and balance with Hormone Helper
Our Hormone Helper blend contains a variety of carefully selected natural extracts to support better hormone balance. Our unique formula of choline, myo-inositol and Maca root helps to restore the natural equilibrium of hormones in the body whilst balancing blood sugar to combat symptoms of imbalance such as anxiety, low libido and sleep disturbance.