Those ancient Incas really knew the power that plants have to make our health and life crazy awesome. They used all types of plants to stay strong, full of energy and lasting vitality. Climbing those high mountains and surviving the elements demanded fierce stamina. One of the best plants they frequently used, that supports these kinds of demands is Maca.
Maca is a superfood powerhouse plant that personally has helped me recover from adrenal exhaustion and brought me back to life. I went through a period of time in my life where just getting out of bed was often the biggest struggle I faced. Ya it was that bad.
I dug in deep, and knew I had to make changes in my life if I wanted to live and thrive. After more than 15 years of studying natural therapies I have learned the power that our natural world has to restore, rejuvenate and bring us the best health we deserve.
Maca is a best friend. Literally. I have it in my smoothie on a very regular basis. It is recommended to cycle on and off it, so you don’t have to have it every day. Take it for 3 weeks, then take a week off. It is one of the best adaptogens that nourishes your adrenals and whole hormonal system. It is a potent plant so a little does go a long way. More isn’t necessarily better.
Treat plant medicine with full respect and it will bless your life in endless ways.
The 101 on Maca:
Maca is rich in all the B vitamins, Vitamin C, and E and these are the energy bosses in the Vitamin world. It also provides plenty of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. It’s a great nourishing food that supports an active lifestyle and especially for those looking to get to the next level in their fitness and physical strength. Other benefits include:
- Sexual stamina and increased libido– Rarrrr! Maca makes sex a whole lot better. It invigorates the whole sexual system and offers men and women benefits that increase stamina, endurance and balancing out hormonal disturbances. It was shown to improve erectile dysfunction, low libido, and overall energy to have more engaging sex. So dump the toxic Viagra and get mucho closer to Maca. Get ready for some va va va vooom! in the bedroom 😉
- Skin: Since it regulates hormones it may help with clearing up acne due to hormonal imbalance. Skin will be clearer and more radiant. I truly notice a difference in how much my skin glows and has changed for the better since taking Maca. It also helps the skin adapt to extreme in temperatures, so you’ll thrive both in hot and cold weather conditions. Say bye bye to dry, chaffing skin in the winter, and arrivederci to summertime break outs. Yay!
- ENERGY!: This is of course the biggest benefit you’ll notice within even the first week of taking it. You will recover from workouts faster, sleep better, and have ongoing energy all day long. You will feel your energy sustained all day long and without those lows that often come after a caffeine high from coffee. No jitters, no crashes, just pure vitality. It’s that good!
- Men’s Health: It is now been shown to help increase muscle mass in those weight training and doing higher intensity exertion. Since it helps support testosterone levels it will also assist you in your muscle building goals as well. It will also help nourish the ligaments, tendons and fascia of the body. It will help increase your power where you will see your jumps and plyometric routine just SOAR to bigger heights! Workouts will just get better and better.
- Women’s health: For women this may be the solution to any menstrual woes cramping up your life. Pun intended. It will help regulate you cycle, relieve cramping, increase fertility and also helps menopausal transition. If you are pregnant it is advised to avoid it and you can resume postpartum.
As with any herbal medicine check with your a professional healthcare practitioner (like myself before starting a protocol. If you have high blood pressure, or liver disease this may be contraindicated. Once those are under control, then Maca may fit into your health regime.
The 101 On Maca
Types: Not all Maca is created equal.
Yellow Maca (most common):
Regular yellow raw maca is great for overall health and stamina. It is indeed a nutritional powerhouse, containing nearly all essential amino acids and free fatty acids, significant levels of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C, minerals iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, a high concentration of bio-available protein and nutrients unique to Maca called macaenes and macamides. It’s great one to start with, and proves to have stamina and energy building benefits, supports the adrenals and overall general health.
This is known as the “Body Builder’s” Maca. You don’t have to be a Body builder to take this and really anyone that is working out hard and on a regular basis with goals of increasing muscle strength and stamina can enjoy the benefits. It specifically helps testosterone levels and aids in rapid muscle recovery after strenuous activity or muscle conditioning.
Black Maca also improves memory and concentration. It boosts libido and in a 2009 Peruvian study it was found to boost sperm count and strength. Fertility in men is shown to improve in as little as 2 weeks of taking Black Maca daily. So this can be considered the men’s maca, but women can use it for strength building as well. It does not cause disruption to estrogen balance.
Red Maca was seen to have the best effects for supporting bone density in women at risk of osteoporosis especially after a hysterectomy. Red Maca also is a great overall energy booster and supports the adrenals and thyroid function. In another Peruvian University study it was proven to help men with prostate conditions heal and recover faster. It may also prevent prostate disease in men over 45.
Gelatinized Maca: Raw vs. heat processed?
When you go to buy Maca, I highly advise buying the raw form. It has all it’s enzymes intact and all essential nutrients are not sacrificed or degraded. If the package says gelatinized, you know it’s been heat processed to some degree. This is only advised for those with sensitive stomachs, have digestive disease and can’t tolerate the raw form and for those who may not have enough hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) for digestion.
How to take it: Start GRADUALLY!
A full dose of Maca is about 1 tablespoon a day. That is ALOT! Start with less. Trust me on this. Your digestive system, your hormonal system and your whole body will need to gradually get used to Maca. This is powerful plant medicine and you need to allow your body to get used to it. If you take too much too often, it may cause digestive upset, insomnia, elevated heart rate and you may become a crazy sex maniac! Well as we know, it is one of the best sex and libido herbs out there! Seriously though, less is more and give your body a chance to adapt to it.
Piera’s Beginner’s Maca Protocol:
Day 1, 2, 3, 4: 1/2 tsp ( if you are sensitive have less, 1/4 tsp)
Day 5, 6, 7. : 1 Tsp
Week 2 : 1.5 Tsp daily
Week 3 : 2 tsp daily
Week 4: 1 full tablespoon daily
Cycle off of it for week 5. Then resume again on Week 7 with a full tablespoon daily. You may not even need that much. Go with what you feel is best for your body and constitution. I have clients who are very sensitive and they get the full benefits from having 1 tsp a day. If you are sensitive reduce the amounts above accordingly. You may start with 1/4 tsp and stay with that for a full week. Then up it in quarter amounts. It all depends on your body and sensitivity level. So always listen inwardly 😉
Have a magnificent Maca filled experience!