The Mayans were one of the most ancient civilizations in the history of mankind known for their physical and sexual endurance.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Table of Contents
- 1 Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- 2 About this Herb:
- 3 What is Maca?
- 4 Benefits and properties of Maca:
- 5 When and how to take it?
- 6 Safety and side effects
- 7 Cycling
Herbal Name and Characteristics:
- Name: Maca
- Pin Yin: N/A,
- Latin: Lepidium meyenii
- Taste: Bitter-sweet (think of maple and butterscotch)
- Color: brown (powder)
- Constitution: warm (Yang)
About this Herb:
Maca blew up big time in 2013. That was also the time when I first tried it since a lot of doctors and fitness experts swore by it, including one of my favorite hormone experts, Dr. Wong.
Initially, when I took in powder form, I did not experience any groundbreaking benefits (compared to other adaptogens). I did however, see some difference in my libido, energy levels and workouts after about 3 weeks of use. I was however blown away when I used Maca in tincture form. Libido, mood, strength, stress resistance – ALL of them went through the roof almost instantly!
I mostly used the herb in powder form by adding it to my shakes to mask the taste of well…dirt. I also noticed that I needed a much higher dose than most people recommended in order to see any results. The tincture is more of a syrup and while it does taste horribly, it does work wonders!
Below, you will find more details about this herb, its benefits, side effects and precautions you need to take before using it.
What is Maca?
Often called the Peruvian Ginseng (due to its adaptogenic qualities that are similar to Panax Ginseng’s) this root was discovered in Peru when Westerners witnessed local old ladies climbing mountains with huge containers of water on their backs. It is said that their strength, vitality and endurance was the result of consuming this root in big doses.
The Incas were the first to use Maca for its aphrodisiac and stimulating properties and deemed it a sacred plant. The Spanish conquistadors also used it for stamina shortly after setting foot on the same land.
The root is high in nutritional value and contains plant sterols including but not limited to saponins (like Tribulus), tannins, alkaloids (macamides and macaenes) and glucosinolates (mainly responsible for its aphrodisiac and energizing properties).
While it is not found in Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, it was used by the Native Americans. Due to its aphrodisiac properties, it gained popularity in the Western world under the name “Peruvian Viagra”.
Other important ingredients:
- Vitamins: B1, B2, B12, C, D3, E, P
- Minerals: calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sulphur, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium
- Amino Acids: contains over 18 amino acids including the 8 essentials.
Benefits and properties of Maca:
- It can help restore the balance among hormones in the body by supporting reproductive and pituitary health. It can also support testicular health in men by protecting the testicles and also reducing prostate size due to the plant sterols it contains. These sterols are precursors to progesterone and testosterone.
- According to Dr.Wong, progesterone in men is also required as it can help block the conversion of excess testosterone to estrogen. It can also block the conversion of testosterone and estrogen to DHT which can lead to hair loss and prostate enlargement.
- It can support healthy estrogen levels in both men and women due to its DIM (Di Indole Methane) content. DIM helps block the absorption of estrogen by tissues and helps its removal from the body.
- As a result of the above mechanism, it acts as an aphrodisiac and is used to maintain a healthy libido, restoring sexual energy and to assist in hormonal balance for both men and women.
- It can help with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in men and can help frigid women.
- It can support energy levels, vitality and overall well-being.
- It can improve cognitive processes even though the mechanism through which it happens is not currently known.
- It can also support resistance to stress as an adaptogen.
- It can support the nervous system and has a balancing effect on it.
- It can help build and maintain muscle and increase metabolism (and therefore fat loss by optimizing your hormonal profile).
When and how to take it?
There are different ways to take Maca. Each of them has its pros and cons.
Let’s take a look:
Alcohol-based tincture: By using a tincture, the plant’s properties can be absorbed through your mucus membranes and salivary glands in your mouth. Hold the dose in your mouth (under the tongue) for 1 to 3 minutes until it gets absorbed. Then you can swallow it.
The tincture can also be taken in a glass of water. Wait a couple of minute for the alcohol to evaporate and then drink the tincture.
Tablets: Maca can be taken in tablets as well, but remember that you may have to take quite a few of them to get any results unless, you are using a very concentrated extract.
Powder: My preferred way to take Maca is by taking it in powder form. You can add it to your shake or sprinkle it over your breakfast.
Another way to take it is to hold the powder in your mouth for 5 minutes. However, you would have to do this with every dose and that can take time.
What you can also do is alternate through 2 sources, 1st would be a tincture and the second, powder or tablet form.
The original and most traditional way of taking Maca is to cook it as food by cutting it up and creating stews. You can also create your own culinary superfoods as you are only limited by your own imagination. (I will soon be posting a superfood bar recipe with Maca so stay tuned for that).
The best times to take it would be:
- early in the morning on an empty stomach (not for people with low blood pressure),
- before training
- after training
- before bed.
Safety and side effects
While Maca does not appear to have any negative side effects, it has not been adequately studied in order to know its safety. (It is however much safer than the Viagra drug). Regardless, you should proceed with caution before taking a Maca supplement.
You should not take Maca if you:
- are an adolescent or under 30 years of age: This is because in that age your body is still able to make hormones naturally and supplementing with a strong androgenic herb will interfere with healthy hormone levels and even damage hormone production for life (even though it is adaptogenic which means that the body will only take the dose it needs).
- If you have any hormonal problem or medical condition (including but not limited to Benign Prostate Hypertrophy, prostate cancer and liver problems): Check with your doctor before using Maca if you have any hormonal problem or medical condition. Your doctor is the only person who can decide if using it is a good idea or not.
- If you are taking antidepressants or other types of medication (including but not limited to antihypertensive drugs, immunosuppressive drugs or anticoagulant medication) as it can interfere with them.
- Have any psychological or mental condition such as depression, schizophrenia and other without consulting your therapist and doctor.
- Have any hormonal problem or medical condition including but not limited to cancer, diabetes or undergoing chemo treatment: Check with your doctor before using Maca if you have any of the above conditions. Your doctor is the only person who can decide if using it is a good idea or not.
- Are taking blood pressure medication as it can interfere with the dosage.
- Have low blood pressure as there is a high risk of hypoglycemia from using Maca.
- Are scheduled for an operation, organ transplant or you just underwent one. Certain ingredients may interfere with the sedation used during surgery, can lead to rejection of the organ or interfere with healing and cause internal bleeding.
- Have allergies to this specific herb or any of its ingredients.
The best thing you can do before taking any herb supplement is to test it. If you want to be safe while using herbs I strongly urge you to read my other article on how to test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
Avoid using this herb/adaptogen if you have any medical condition or take any kind of medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Since there are not enough studies performed to determine the full safety of this product, pregnant women or breast-feeding women should avoid using this product.
Use for a maximum of up to 3 months and then take 4 weeks off to allow natural androgen production and to avoid homeostasis in your body (the body getting used to the herb thus rendering it ineffective). Repeat cycle after that.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
Closing notes & thoughts:
Maca is a fantastic adaptogen and libido enhancer that can support hormonal health by raising testosterone and lowering estrogen. It can be used by both men and women. I did have good results from using it and I know people who greatly benefited from its use. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in improving hormonal health and recovery without the use of pharmaceuticals.
What is your opinion on Maca? Have you ever used it and what did you use it for? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
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by Nick Sigma SHF
C.W.C, E.H, E-YRT200
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