For some, the problem is stomach upset. In others: headaches or nervousness. And many find that the energy boost from coffee or other caffeine beverages diminishes over time; what once took a single cup of coffee for that early morning perkiness might now take three or four cups to get the same effect.
What is the alternative if you're in the habit of that morning boost? Many people have found that maca root provides a better, healthier solution than maintaining your coffee addiction.
Due to its rising popularity, the maca plant is also farmed in the region for its root, used both as a vegetable and a medicinal herb. Peruvian natives have been using the root in food preparation and for its medicinal properties for centuries.
What are the benefits of maca root?
- Increased energy and stamina
- Mental clarity
- Immune system enhancement
- Relief for symptoms of chronic fatigue
- Stress defense
- Endocrine system support and stimulation
- Skin health and rejuvenation
- Menopausal support
- Cholesterol reduction
- Balancing out premenstrual mood swings
- Enhanced fertility and sex drive
The claims that appear to be more universally accepted and supportable under scrutiny of scientific study include its ability to boost energy and mental clarity, and its positive influence on the endocrine system, showing the potential to stabilize hormone levels. Because of this, many natural health practitioners have recommended maca root powder for treatment of PMS and menopausal symptoms, or as a form of hormone replacement therapy. This herb appears to hone in on hormonal imbalances in women –the source of many menopausal and PMS problems, such as cramping, fatigue, cravings, bloating, irritability, hot flashes, and headaches.
As for its effects on energy level or mental clarity, many people use maca root as a substitute for coffee, or even as an additive to their coffee, because of its similar effects. Maca root is loaded with B-vitamins, which adds to its energy affect, and offers a vegetarian source of B-12.
Where can I get Maca root?
What do I do with it – how do I take Maca root?
As for the flavor, most people describe it as an "acquired taste," not necessarily bad tasting, but not pleasant either. Some do like it, describing it as a light, nutty flavor, while others describe it as a flavor that is "hard to mask, and takes some getting used to."
Maca root side effects
Possible side effects include rapid heart beat, sweating, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, heartburn, mood changes, confusion, and elevated heart rate. In many cases, due to the medicinal strength of maca root, system detoxification can bring on some of these negative side effects temporarily, particularly among those with compromised health already. Other Maca root risks or health considerations:
- Do not to take when pregnant or lactating.
- Maca contains glucosinolates, which have been known to generate goiters when consumed in high quantity in combination with a low-iodine diet.
- Any information in this article is intended to supplement but not substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider before you start any new treatment or significant diet change.
Maca root Recipes
- Maca Root Green Smoothie
- "Morning Mud" coffee substitute (see at bottom of page, along with smoothie recipes)
- Cinnamon Maca Bars
- Maca salad
- Maca Tea
If you have any tasty maca recipes of your own, please share using the comments below.