Did you know that estimates tell us that as many as 85% of women suffer from menopause-related symptoms at some point in their lives? These difficult symptoms often are the result of hormonal imbalances that can include severe PMS, menstrual irregularity, fertility issues, fatigue, hot flashes, premature menopause, and sleep issues. These newly developed symptoms occurring later in life can be particularly frustrating and can interrupt the regular cadence of one’s life. The good news is that one surprising botanical may help alleviate these symptoms and bring balance back to the body – maca!
Maca, or Peruvian ginseng, is a plant native to the high Andes mountains of Peru. Due to the high elevation, maca grows in extremely harsh conditions and temperatures, but has adapted to survive these stressful environments. The maca root can be eaten freshly cooked. It can also be dried, then processed into an extract, which can be used as a supplement. In traditional medicine, it has been used to balance hormones and restore the body’s natural equilibrium.
This stellar herb is considered to be an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps the body to adapt to stress by normalizing the body’s processes. Adaptogens help strengthen the adrenal glands (the glands that deal with stress hormones) to handle mental, physical, and environmental stressors. One study linked the use of maca to an increase in progesterone levels, which helps maintain the critical progesterone/estrogen balance of the body. Better hormone balance can help reduce those life-depleting side effects of menopause and menstrual symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and decreased libido.
Other beneficial qualities of maca include increased fertility, improved mood, boosted energy and endurance, and aiding libido. The root also promotes increased natural antioxidant levels in the body and fights free radicals, which can damage cells. Sufficient amounts of antioxidants help prevent health conditions such as heart disease, which is just one more reason to look toward maca root.
Research into maca root is ongoing but promising. If you are struggling with hormone imbalance, menopausal symptoms, or reacting to environmental stressors, give this incredible adaptogen a try. When choosing a maca root extract, ensure that you purchase it from a trusted, natural-source company.