Maca Root can help your sex drive! Here are all its other benefits

Maca Root is a natural remedy that can be used to boost sex drive, immunity as well as keep fatigue at bay. Read on to know more
Maca root
Know all about maca root. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Anjuri Nayar Singh Updated: 7 May 2024, 04:21 pm IST
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Known as the Ayurvedic Viagra, maca root is known to help address infertility as well as issues with your sex drive. This natural remedy comes from a plant called Maca that seems to have become very popular.

Maca was used as a food and medicine option by the people of Peru for over 1300-2000 years, states this study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It became a medicine in China in the 1990s. Read on to learn more about the Ayurvedic genius and how to use it in daily life.

What is Maca Root?

Maca root, scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii, is a plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family. It is a biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle over two seasons. It is found high Andes mountains of Peru, particularly in the Junín region, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years.

In Latin, it is referred to as Lepidium meyenii, while in English, it is commonly known as maca or Peruvian ginseng. “In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, maca root is often referred to as ‘Ayurvedic Viagra’ due to its purported aphrodisiac properties,” explains Ayurvedic expert Monika B Sood.

Maca Root nutritional information

Here is the nutritional information of Maca root powder, according to the US Department of Agriculture

100 grams of maca powder contains:

  • Energy 375 kcal
  • Protein 12.5 grams
  • Total lipid (fat) 0 grams
  • Carbohydrate 75 grams
  • Fiber, total dietary 25 grams
  • Total sugars 50 grams

What does maca root do for your body?

In day-to-day life, maca root can be a valuable ally in promoting overall well-being and vitality. “Its adaptogenic properties help the body cope with daily stressors, providing sustained energy and mental clarity without the jitters or crashes associated with caffeine,” says Sood.

According to this study, published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, Maca root can help improve erectile function. By supporting hormonal balance, maca may help regulate mood, enhance libido, and improve reproductive health. “The benefits of maca root include it being rich nutritional content, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, nourishes the body and supports immune function, helping to fend off illness and maintain optimal health,” says Sood.

Health Benefits of Maca root

Maca root offers a plethora of potential benefits to the body due to its rich nutritional profile and unique bioactive compounds.

1. Balancing hormones

One of the most prominent maca root benefits is that it supports hormonal balance by acting as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to various stressors. “The herb help regulate the production of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which can contribute to improved reproductive health, menstrual cycle regulation, and overall hormonal equilibrium,” says Sood. This 28-day rat study, published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science, states that maca can be used in hormone balancing, thyroid function, and sexual functioning as well as alleviating stress, depression and frustration.

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2. Boosting energy levels

Maca root is often consumed for its ability to enhance energy and stamina. “It contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, which play crucial roles in energy metabolism and combating fatigue,” says Sood. By providing sustained energy without the crash associated with caffeine or sugar, maca may support endurance and vitality. Talking about fatigue in young women, this study, published in Functional Foods in Health and Disease, states that four weeks of maca roots consumption decreased fatigue in participants.

3. Enhancing libido and fertility

Maca has a long-standing reputation as a natural aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer. “It is thought to increase libido in both men and women by balancing hormone levels and promoting blood flow to reproductive organs,” says Sood. This study, published in Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, states that consumption of 3000 mg of Maca Root every day, for a period of three months, helped participants increase their sexual function. Additionally, maca may improve sperm quality and motility, as well as support menstrual health and ovulation in women.

4. Supporting mood and mental health

The adaptogenic properties of maca root extend to its potential effects on mood and mental well-being. By modulating the body’s stress response and promoting neurotransmitter balance, maca may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. This study, published in Evidence Based Complementary Alternative medicine states that maca may also improve cognitive function and memory.

5. Boosting immune function

Maca root contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which help protect cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. “By supporting the immune system’s ability to combat pathogens and maintain overall health, maca may reduce the risk of infections and promote faster recovery from illness,” says Sood. This study, published in Journal of Immunology Research, states that Maca root can prevent body weight loss and also strengthen immunity as it strengthens the function of the spleen.

6. Improving bone health

Maca root is a good source of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals essential for bone health. Regular consumption of maca may help strengthen bones, prevent osteoporosis, and support overall skeletal integrity, especially in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of bone loss, states this study, published in Food Research International.

7. Supporting athletic performance

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often turn to maca root to enhance performance and recovery. Its energising properties, coupled with its potential to improve endurance, muscle strength, and recovery time, make it a popular choice among those seeking natural sports supplements. A two-week Maca supplement consumption helped cyclists complete a 40 km test in less time, reports a study, published in Nutrients.

Maca root powder vs capsules: How to consume?

Maca root can be consumed in various forms:

1. Maca root powder

You can add 1 to 2 teaspoons of maca root powder to smoothies, shakes, or juices for an energy boost and nutritional punch. Alternatively, sprinkle it over oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal for a nutritious breakfast option. Mix maca powder into hot or cold beverages like coffee, tea, or milk. Stir well to ensure the powder is fully dissolved and evenly distributed throughout the drink. Maca powder can also be added baked goods such as muffins, pancakes, or energy bars. Simply substitute a portion of the flour with maca powder.

2. Capsules or tablets

Maca root is also available in capsule or tablet form. Follow the dosage instructions provided on the packaging or consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

When introducing maca root into your diet for the first time, start with a small amount to gauge your body’s response. “To experience the full benefits of maca root, aim to consume it consistently as part of your daily routine,” says Sood.

Maca Root side effects

Using Maca root supplements and powder is generally considered to be safe. However, some mild side effects have been noticed. stomach distress, insomnia, as well as cramping can be caused by excessive consumption of maca root.

FAQs

Can Maca root be eaten every day?

Yes, you can consume maca root every day as part of a balanced diet. Start with a small amount and gradually increase as tolerated. “While maca root is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation, some individuals may experience digestive discomfort or other side effects,” says Sood.

Who should not have maca root?

While maca root is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation, there are certain individuals who should exercise caution or avoid taking it altogether. There is limited research on the safety of maca root during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While it is generally considered safe in moderate amounts, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with their healthcare provider before using maca root to ensure it is safe for them and their babies. Maca root may influence hormone levels in the body, so individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis should use caution when taking maca root. Maca root may affect thyroid function, particularly in individuals with thyroid disorders. Maca root may interact with certain medications, including hormone replacement therapy, medications for hormone-sensitive conditions, and medications for thyroid disorders.

How long does it take to see results from maca root pills?

Some people may notice benefits from maca root within a few days to a couple of weeks of consistent use, while others may require more time to experience noticeable changes. Generally, it’s recommended to use maca root consistently for at least several weeks to assess its effects fully.

What is the appropriate dosage for maca root?

The appropriate dosage of maca root can vary depending on factors such as age, weight, health status, and individual tolerance. “For most adults, a typical daily dosage of maca root powder ranges from 1 to 2 teaspoons (approximately 5 to 10 grams). It’s recommended to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as tolerated. Some individuals may benefit from higher doses, especially if using maca root for specific health concerns or athletic performance,” says Sood. There is limited research on the safety and appropriate dosage of maca root for children. As a precaution, children under the age of 16 should consult with a healthcare professional before taking maca root or any other dietary supplement. Elderly individuals may start with a lower dose and adjust as needed under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

 

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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