Maca is a South American root known as “Peruvian Ginseng”, which is grown mainly in high altitude areas of Peru. It’s a part of the cruciferous family (containing other nutritional powerhouses such as broccoli and cabbage) and is also what is known as an adaptogen.
Adaptogens are a class of healing plants, which work to help balance, protect and restore the body’s natural functions. Adaptogens can help to balance your hormones, reduce cortisol levels, help recharge your adrenal glands and boost your immune system and thyroid function. Other plants classified as adaptogens include ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil and rhodiola.
What I really love about this supplement though is that being from Peru, it was used by Ancient Incas when they built Machu Picchu. For those who have visited the site themselves, or have heard stories of their friends trekking there like I have, you will be able to appreciate how hard it would have been to get the materials there to build the site – which is where the Maca boost came in handy! Legend also has it that Inca Warriors used before going into battle to make them extra strong, and literally every time I use I think of this!
A little daily sprinkle of ground Maca root has many benefits, which include:
Boosts energy, stamina, focus and endurance
One of the main benefits Maca is known for are it’s energy boosting effects, which come without the jittery side effects that caffeine and other stimulants can have. As a mild nootropic it helps to increase focus, concentration and memory.
Sexual enhancer and aphrodisiac
The Incans also used not only for strength, but to boost libido too and so maca can also known as a natural form of viagra. As well as helping to boost sexual drive, Maca also helps to balance hormones and assists with maintaining a healthy reproductive system for both men and women.
Helps to balance hormones
As an adaptogen, Maca helps to balance hormone levels and for women it can therefore help to reduce symptoms of PMS or PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), by helping to control estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen imbalance can also cause water retention, excess facial hair and irregular cycles and is important for men to keep balanced too. Maca can also help to the function of the adrenal glands and help regulate thyroid hormone production.
Supports the immune system and helps to control glucose levels
Maca is a natural antioxidant, so helps to block the oxidisation of other cells. It also helps to increase levels of glutathione in the body, which plays a vital role in immune system function, disease resistance as well as helping to control cholesterol levels. Maca also apparently lowers glucose tolerance, by lowering levels of glucose in the blood.
Promotes a feeling of wellbeing
As well as helping to boost your mood by keeping your body balanced and healthy thanks to all of the other points mentioned above, Maca also helps to boost serotonin levels.
As a powder, it’s pretty easy to take however you like! I like to take in the morning for the energy boost, and usually either add into my protein shake or sprinkle on top of my oats. A general serving size to start with is usually half or a full teaspoon, working up to 2 or 3 depending on what you feel works well for you!