Friday, January 29, 2010

Powerrrrr Up with Maca

Most of us are good at powering down but how about powering up?!? If you are feeling hit by the winter slug bug or dealing with issues of fatigue or exhaustion, maca may be an answer to your prayers!

Maca is a root that originates from South America, native to the Andes of Bolivia and Peru. Known as the Incan superfood, it is both eaten as a root vegetable and used for medicinal purposes. In ancient times, the Incan warriors ate maca root in order to sustain them and give them strength before going into battles.

In its true form it looks similar to a turnip but can vary in size and shades. Maca is traditionally grown in the mountains at altitudes of approximately 13,000–15,000 ft in elevation.

Maca has many wonderful healing properties. One of the main ones being it is a major energy booster and nourishes the adrenal glands. In fact, maca is very supportive of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of many glands that produce important regulatory hormones for the body. Some of the endocrine glands are: the adrenals, thryroid and parathyroid, hypothalamus, thymus, pituitary, ovaries and testes. So for those suffering with adrenal fatigue or burn out, this is a great supplement to restore your vitality again.

Maca also helps a number of ailments like hormonal imbalance, whether you suffer from PMS or irregular moon cycles or for post menopausal balance.

Maca is also known to be an aphrodisiac, increasing sexual libido & stamina. So.. it could be fun! LOL (I had to toss that in- for those of you familiar with those annoying male enhancement commercials!) In addition, it has been documented maca aids mood elevation, helping anyone with depression due to its molecular makeup being similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin.

How does it do all this? Maca is an adaptogen, which means that it will work naturally with your body’s own rhythms. For example, if you are weak in one area hormonally, maca will aid in boosting the production of hormones. Or if you are producing too much of another, it will assist in calming down an overactive gland/s. Adaptogens help strengthen the body’s resistance and aid in rebuilding a taxed immune system. All adaptogens have anti-stress qualities, which provide stabilizing effects on the endocrine system and help to regulate it. Many are also a great source of certain antioxidants.

Maca comes in many forms- capsules, powder and extract. Personally, I like the maca powder; mainly because it is simple to use and keep track of in this form. It has a mellow- sweet, earthy taste and is great to add in smoothies; it also mixes easily in a green or red drink blend. In addition, it can be sprinkled in foods like cereals.

As with all adaptogens, dose is rather experimental. It has been said to start with 1- 2 teaspoons maca powder and see how you feel for two weeks, making note of how you feel after each week. ( If you do not notice any changes, stop taking it for a week and be aware of subtle feelings- energy, mood, etc… The dose can be increased up to 3 tsp (about 1 Tbsp) or decreased as needed. Some people have said that they felt tired with maca at first but then noticed an energy increase after a week or so.

I have been using maca for the adrenals and noticed an increase in energy within a week. It varies from person to person, though. If you are attempting to cut your caffeine intake, substitute maca in the morning or afternoon. (I find it keeps me awake at night if taken too late) It will help you feel calm yet more energetic without the negative jittery side effects of caffeine.

Where to buy it? You can find maca at most health food and natural food stores. There are many great places to purchase it online also. The best place and price I have found for maca powder is on (Which is a fantastic supplement and natural product store!)

Happy hunting!

Magickal maca blessings, Love & Light

© Amie Schlichting

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