Maca is a plant, native to the Central Andes, whose root is believed to possess several health benefits. When using maca for women, the plant is thought to increase libido, increase fertility, and relieve menstrual problems. Maca might also be used to increase energy and improve mood in postmenopausal women. While it is generally believed to be safe, little is known regarding possible maca interactions and long term side effects.
One of the primary uses of maca for women is to increase libido. Studies have indicated that maca might increase libido in menopausal women. It might also be effective in enhancing sexual function in women who are taking selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors to treat depression. While there has not been enough research as of 2011 to conclusively determine the effectiveness of maca for women, many do report finding the herb beneficial in increasing libido.
Another common use of maca for women is to increase fertility. Although maca is more frequently used to increase the quality and mobility of sperm in men, the herb is also believed to support fertility in women. While research is limited as of 2011, one study found maca successful in increasing the litter size of female mice.
Due to its high concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, maca is also effective in regulating the menstrual cycle. Many menstrual problems, including spotting, cramps and irregularity, are sometimes caused by nutritional deficiencies. Maca provides the body with a wide variety of nutrients and aids in absorption. This herb is also believed to support the endocrine system and balance a woman’s hormones. While this has not been proven as of 2011, it would help explain maca’s effect on the menstrual cycle.
Maca can also be used to increase energy and reduce certain menopausal symptoms. Menopausal women who take maca may notice an improvement in mood and concentration as well as reduced anxiety. Some women also report a reduction in hot flashes and other unpleasant symptoms.
To reap these benefits, users typically take a maca dose of anywhere from 500 mg to 2,000 mg a day. This dose may be taken at once or split up during the day. To ensure the safety of the supplement, users should follow all dosage instructions as dictated by the manufacturer. Women who have questions regarding dosage should consult their physician to determine what dosage might be the most beneficial.
It is also important for women to understand that while maca is believed to be safe the side effects are not entirely known. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult their physician before taking maca. Those with thyroid or hormonal problems should also exercise caution when taking this herb. In 2011, maca is not believed to negatively interact with any medications. Although some people believe maca impacts hormone levels, women who are taking birth control should be cautious when adding maca to their diet.