Maca is a plant that is native to Andes in Peru. The plant is usually found at elevations of 4000 to 4,500 meters above the sea level. Maca roots have been used for a very long time, both for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. This plant is related to radish and turnip, and resemble them in looks. The green frilly leaves that are arranged in a rosette, lie over the ground. The fleshy roots have an inverted pear shape. The roots of this plant are highly valued for therapeutic purposes.
Now, there are many different varieties of maca, that vary in color of the hypocotyl and the size and shape of the roots. The roots can be cream, golden, purple, blue, black, or green. While maca plants with cream-colored roots are widely cultivated for their sweetness, those with blue and black roots are found to have strong energy-boosting properties. Even those with reddish roots are being studied, as they are claimed to be effective for reducing prostate size. Maca roots have been used through the centuries, as a rejuvenating herb and an aphrodisiac. It is also being used as a herbal treatment for various conditions relating to the male and female reproductive system. Nowadays, maca is fast getting popular as a remedy for menopausal symptoms.
Menopause is that phase of a woman's life, which can be uneventful for some; but for others, it may cause a wide range of symptoms that can make life horrible. The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, depression, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. The hormonal fluctuations that take place during this period are responsible for most of the symptoms. It is said that the onset of menopause may start somewhere around the age of 35. From that time, the functioning of ovaries slows down.
This will in turn affect the production of hormones, thereby causing hormonal imbalance, leading to various other symptoms as well as health problems. However, menopause is not a disease or disorder and is only a transition phase in a woman's life. These symptoms can be easily managed with some lifestyle changes and other remedies. There are certain herbs that are used for managing these symptoms, and they include maca root, dong quai, and black cohosh.
Beneficial Effects of Maca
As mentioned above, most of the symptoms associated with menopause are caused by hormonal fluctuations. Mace roots do not contain any hormone as such. However, the alkaloids in these roots act upon the endocrine glands, thereby normalizing the hormonal levels. It is said that maca is effective for normalizing the levels of estrogen and progesterone, thereby helping the body to achieve a balance between the two hormones. This reduces the symptoms of menopause.
Use of maca for menopause, is said to be beneficial for relief from hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and osteoporosis (associated with menopause). It is also said to be highly effective for those who have undergone hysterectomy or removal of the uterus. Use of maca is claimed to be better than hormone replacement therapy that may end up with undesired results. Apart from reducing the symptoms of menopause, the herb is also claimed to increase sexual desire and boost energy and stamina. Even though there is insufficient evidence to prove the efficacy of maca root in treating menopause symptoms, it is widely used for this purpose. Maca is available as powder, dried roots, and tea.
In short, use of maca is fast gaining momentum as a herbal remedy to relieve menopause symptoms, as it is found to be effective in most of the users. The efficacy of this herb may vary with individual users, the correct dosage, and the duration of treatment. Maca is considered safe, and is not associated with serious side effects. Those in perimenopause and post menopause are usually administered lower doses (1000 to 1500 mg), whereas those in the menopausal stage are given higher doses (around 2000 to 5000 mg). Consult a qualified herbal practitioner, who can guide you about the proper usage of maca. You must stick to the right dosage and the duration of treatment. Buy these herbal products from trusted manufacturers only.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.