7 Benefits of Maca Root for Women

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A powder form of a maca root in a glass container. Maca is considered a superfood that is beneficial for women.

Indigenous people of the Andes have consumed maca root (commonly referred to as Peruvian ginseng) for centuries, calling upon this superfood as a natural remedy for a diverse range of conditions. While considered a root vegetable and food staple in the Andean diet for thousands of years, Western researchers have only recently discovered this ancient herb and the many benefits it may provide for women. Sexual health, improving fertility, and combating the effects of menopause are only a few benefits this healing herb has to offer.

Maca for Women: What are the Benefits?

For women, the benefits of regular maca consumption are substantial. While maca benefits both men and women, we’re going to focus specifically on how it can boost female quality of life. The following 8 benefits of maca for women are now supported by modern research.

1. Decreases Menopause Symptoms

Maca root has been used extensively as a hormone balancer, and research shows that its high nutrient density and phytochemical content may be the underlying contributors to this effect. Researchers evaluating the herb for weight loss observed that women taking a maca root supplement enjoyed a reduction in many of the most common menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep disruptions, night sweats, and depression. [1] A similar study found women taking maca root enjoyed a significant relief from symptoms associated with menopause. [2]

2. Improves Sexual Function

Female sexual dysfunction depends on a multitude of factors, with the woman’s age, lifestyle, and medical/nutritional status being the primary elements. Although conventional medicine has created pharmaceutical agents designed to increase sexual desire and satisfaction in women, these products are often laden with side effects that can create more problems than previously existed.

One study examined the effectiveness of maca supplementation for remedying sexual dysfunction in women as a result of taking SSRIs, commonly-prescribed antidepressants. Women in the study enjoyed an improvement in sexual satisfaction when taking the highest dose of three grams per day. [3] Maca’s success as a potent fighter against chemically-induced sexual dysfunction seems to support its traditional use.

3. Aphrodisiac

While research is sparse on its effectiveness for being a sure-fire aphrodisiac, some small-scale studies indicate maca’s possible use in the bedroom. Not surprisingly, maca root has a centuries-long reputation for being a powerful aphrodisiac. Loaded with minerals like zinc, iodine, and essential fatty acids, maca may balance sex hormones and may also improve mood. [4] With a healthy mood and balanced hormone levels, arousal is usually much easier to achieve.

4. Supports Mood

Nutrition research shows that natural fatty acids found in foods, including maca root, is necessary for supporting mood and overall brain health. [5] An examination of maca’s protective effect for the brain has shown promising results, offering many researchers hope for finding a natural alternative to cognitive-enhancement drugs. Fatty acids in maca root support brain function, which may be responsible for stabilizing analytical skills, cognitive function, and rational thinking. Many doctors focused on holistic wellness often recommended omega-3 fatty acids (like the ones found in maca) as a first step toward alleviating certain symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. [6] [7]

5. Fertility

As infertility is becoming an increasing issue facing both women and men, it’s no wonder why so many people today are turning to natural alternatives for improving fertility. So far, research has only examined maca root’s impact on fertility in animals, with much of the research showing promising results. Studies support maca’s traditional use as a fertility enhancer, especially for females, noting its ability to increase serum luteinizing hormone in the pituitary gland. [8] This hormone is associated with fertility, among other factors in the body.

6. Increases Bone Density

Maintaining bone density is a common problem for many women as they age. Studies of maca’s effect on menopausal symptoms have found that it increases important marker’s associated with bone density. [9] This could be helpful for women who have a family history of osteoporosis, or for those who are simply seeking to protect their bone health.

7. Energy Enhancer

Maca is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein. These nutrients naturally support energy levels and aid in recovery from injury. Numerous studies have evaluated maca root for its role in athletic performance for these exact reasons. [10] Even if you’re not an athlete, incorporating maca into your daily routine could be an excellent way to bring a spring back into your step.

One Final Thought

Additional studies determine maca as a safe, yet potent, superfood. This isn’t at all surprising to those in the know, as maca root has been a staple in the diet of indigenous peoples for thousands of years. For many, maca root is a daily food, used in smoothies, soups, and baked goods. Whether it’s consumed for enhancing energy, increasing libido, or improving bone density, maca is a tasty addition to any diet. For those of you who do not consume maca root on a daily basis, you might want to look into increasing your intake. You just may be surprised at the benefits you reap once incorporating it into your meals.

Have you ever taken maca root for any of the above benefits? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  1. Meissner HO1, Reich-Bilinska H, Mscisz A, Kedzia B. Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun;2(2):143-59.
  2. Meissner HO1, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski J. Use of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun;1(1):33-45.
  3. Dording CM1, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x.
  4. Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008 November-December; 15(6):1157-62. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953.
  5. Pino-Figueroa A1, Nguyen D, Maher TJ. Neuroprotective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca). Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Jun;1199:77-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05174.x.
  6. Parker G, Gibson NA, Brotchie H, Heruc G, Reese AM, Hadzi-Pavlovic D. Omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 2006 June;163(6):969-78.
  7. Rubio J, Caldas M, Davilla S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF. Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006 Jun 23;6:23.
  8. Uchiyama F1, Jikyo T2, Takeda R2, Ogata M2. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) enhances the serum levels of luteinising hormone in female rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Feb 3;151(2):897-902. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.058.
  9. Meissner HO1, Mscisz A, Reich-Bilinska H, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, Kedzia B, Lowicka A, Barchia I. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Dec;2(4):375-94.
  10. Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2009 December 10;126(3):574-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.012.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • http://macarootreview.com Sarah Greene

    Loved your article. My personal experience with maca powder started almost 2 years ago and it’s a part of my daily diet ever since. I take it with my breakfast or morning smoothie and it keeps my energies high through the whole day.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Great idea, thanks for the feedback!

  • D mercer

    Is maca root good for hair loss

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    I’ve seen some sources that cite that as a traditional use but haven’t seen anything rock solid to confirm. Can any other readers offer insight?

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  • maria

    I just got my first can of maca powder through the mail yesterday and tried it in some milk mixed with honey and I absolutely loved it. So easy to prepare and such a delightful taste!

  • James Frame

    Many of the references used here refer to Maca-GO which is commercially known as Femmenessence. Maca-GO is not normal Maca but a concentrated, highly bio available specific phenotype combination of Maca that to date is the only study demostrasting these effects on hormones in peri and post menopausal women. I think it is important to point this out in the article so people are aware that this was the form used. No other research has shown these results, in fact all other research showed no effects on hormones in peri or post menopausal women.

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  • Valley girl

    I have just discovered Maca and started adding it to my morning Herbalife shake, with Chocolate is it Amazing like a chocolate malted.

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  • Susan Jurj

    I HAVE BEEN TAKEING A TABLESPOON OF MACA .AND A TABLESPOON OF CACOA POWDER .AND A TABLESPOON OF COCONUT OIL …EACH DAY FOR FIVE MONTHS I FEEL SO GOOD .IT GIVES ME A LOT OF ENGERY ..IT REALY DOES WORK

  • Colleen

    I just went off my depression and anti-anxiety meds because of the dangers and side effects. I’ve tried everything I can (spending lots of money) to help alleviate the symptoms naturally. I talked to a woman at a whole foods store who recommended a peri-menopausal maca supplement and I noticed a difference with my 1st dose. It hasn’t completely alleviated my symptoms but has worked better than anything else I’ve tried. I was wondering if in addition to the supplements, I could add maca to smoothies to up my intake? I’ve seen some warnings in a couple articles to watch intake and to make sure to take a break from it after a months time? There are so many different opinions on so many holistic remedies and supplements it can be quite daunting to navigate our way through it all.

  • CM

    Anyone have any side effects with the maca root supplement?
    I bought some, have yet to try – just curious if anyone had issues.

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  • Hoop

    No side effect it’s a superfood!!
    It’s all natural it work well for me I take the maca root powder

  • Rave

    Can breast feeding mom consume maca… Is it safe? Mom of 8 month kid. Facing depression, fatigue, and Bone issue

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Well, first and foremost maca is food. Unfortunately, there is not a definitive answer. I suggest that you discuss any supplements you take or plan to take with your healthcare provider.

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  • Jaymie

    Has anyone had any experience with Maca extract?

  • Lauren

    I have just started reading about and taking maca (I mix Gaia herbs’ macaboost – it’s got real vanilla which I like, and holy basil, which it indicates is for stress support, and it’s essentially a chai blend – in with some milk and half-and-half and heat it and also add in 8-10 drops of Sweet Leafs Sweet Drops Sweetener in the English Toffee flavor; aside from a slight licorice flavor I detect sometimes and a slight grittiness from what I suppose is the root, it tastes almost exactly like my favorite chai tea lattes). I have read that it’s a whole food, meaning that it is a root that is consumed almost like a potato would be here. You can’t easily overdo consumption. At the same time, I have also read you should ‘wean’ yourself into it and also consider trying only cooked or gelatinized forms as they are less harsh to digestion/digest. I have also read that it might be a good idea to use three weeks and then go off a week or to use during the week but not weekends. Im signing off, I just wanted to share what I’m taking and address your question. Take care and I hope this helps!

  • http://naturescapehomestead.com Kathy Wigley

    I currently use pueraria mirifica. I am interested in adding maca to my herbal routine. Will using both products be a problem?

  • Rebecca

    I have used maca root powder for hot flashes for at least 5 yrs and highly recommend it. What a difference it made in just a few days but I had to increase the dosage to get to the point of no hot flashes. If you forget to take it, you’ll quickly remember when the hot flashes return in a couple of days. Also, it helps to avoid the triggers that will increase hot flashes like alcohol, spicy foods and tomato/pizza ssuce. Good luck

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  • JR

    Has anyone had positive results with it enhancing a woman’s libido??

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  • candyland

    Does taking Maca Root in capsule form provide the same results as a powder would?

  • Marcel

    “Numerous studies have evaluated maca root for its role in athletic performance”. Really? You only cite one study. And what did it find? No significant increase in exercise performance compared to placebo.

  • DoubtingThomas

    Just because they’re not all listed doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I used a nifty tool called “Google” and found several rather quickly.

  • Alli G

    For those who question whether it really is beneficial athletically, I would definitely have to say yes. I’ve been using maca now for a year, and I have seen substantial increase in my energy performance. I add it to my morning green smoothies right before my daily hikes or run. I use to struggle with finding that energy to run or make my way up the mountain. With maca I’m able to overcome the lag and to have my stamina increase. I am glad to know there is other benefits from using this natural root. I highly recommend it to everyone in their daily diets.

  • Jem

    Can you take maca powder with agnus castus. I want to take the agnus castus to ease period symptoms but would also like to try maca for energy and fetility.

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  • jackie

    I took maca root last year for menopause symptoms and thought it was great. Stopped taking it as I suspected it was making me irritable and have been trying mung bean supplements instead. Two months in I can’t stand the constant hot sweats. Have ordered so easy more maca. Has anyone else had irritation from it?

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  • Francesca

    Maca root is good for getting pregnant it worked for me and my friend in as little as 3 months

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  • Hilda

    I’ve just received this took one yesterday ..got wind and was on the toilet 5 times this morning. . I don’t know if it’s the maca herb but I do suffer from IBS not serious though but certain foods do trigger wind…but I want to persevere with this herb as it has great results ..please help x

  • medavinci

    According to the Maca website, you should NOT add it to anything hot, and you should start small, 1/2 tsp and then go to 1 tsp and only take it every few days BEC it can wreak havoc with your hormones. Your research should have included that so your readers are well-informed.

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  • DoubtingThomas

    What website are you talking about? That would be helpful to know and be well-informed.

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  • linda

    I just started taking gaia maca powder this week. It suggests 1 tsp. but since it tastes so good I keep dipping into it (eat it straight) so I would guess I take about 3 tsps. a day and it has given me tons of energy. I had been going thru a depression and struggling to work my business and I finally got going for the 1st time in months. I am 56 and have already gone thru menopause and hoped it would help with libido but all I had was a dream about sex but no desire other than that; bummer for my husband!

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  • momkxbutt

    I put maca powder in my veggie/fruit smoothies using the nutribullet and found that if I use more than 1 tea spoon, I get an upset stomach. Is this normal?

  • Cathy

    I just started the powdered capsule and ask also if this is as efficient as the powder#

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  • Big Red

    Hey, just a quick note…poison ivy is all natural too!! Just because it’s all natural doesn’t mean its safe! And anything natural can have side effects. Please don’t tell people that because someone considers it a “superfood” that it’s SAFE and has no SIDE EFFECTS!

  • Big Red

    Colleen. I too suffered from mild depression…but mostly from panic and anxiety. I did a ton of research and found an herb called Rhodiola. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/12/report_nutraceutical/page-01. I went off my Zoloft, which I had been taking for more than 15 years. NO side affects with Rhodiola, no anxiety, no depression, no PANIC. Stress levels have decreased, more energy, feel better with less sleep. It’s been amazing. Since the I’ve been taking it, I’ve also gone off my blood pressure medicine! Studies show it may help reduce the body’s need to produce cortisol (the stress hormone) thereby, relieving stress levels, and sometimes high blood pressure. Check it out. There are studies you can find on PubMed.com. It is THE place if you want to research herbs and see what they are being studied for. And always talk to your doctor before going off any prescribed medicine. Good luck!

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  • Rae

    It depends if it’s mixed with anything and what the capsule is made of. You are better off getting powder.

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  • Sannah

    Yes, I am over the menopause since some years and thought I take it to get more energy. Instead I ended up getting the old hot flashes, the typical before the period bad mood and my period again!!! So,I will not take it anymore.

  • sonia

    CAN ANYONE TELL ME FROM WHICH WEBSITE TO BUY IT

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Are you looking for Female Fuzion?

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  • sandi miller

    I can attest that iodine helps me with hair loss. I started eating high-iodine seaweed (dulse) and my thinning hair thickened back up pretty quickly. Since the article mentioned that maca is rich in iodine, I would assume it could help with hair loss. I just started taking maca today, so I’ll be sure to watch for any improvements I encounter.

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