Could Maca Root be nature’s safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) continues to be a controversial option for women experiencing physical and emotional distress related to menopause. Hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness can be so extreme that daily life becomes very stressful. While HRT is generally the only course of action offered by most GPs, introducing artificial hormones to the body has important adverse effects and health risks. Among these are prolonging the menstrual cycle beyond the natural onset of menopause, and increased risk of developing uterine cancer or coronary heart disease.
Maca is a root vegetable native to the high altitudes of Peru and Bolivia, and belonging to the brassica plant family. Its long history as a nutrient-rich endurance food and medicinal plant among the peoples of the Andes reaches back several millennia. In their oral histories the root of the maca plant is revered for improving mental clarity, longevity and reproductive ability. This gives us an indication of maca root’s wide-ranging tonic action on the human body. It was particularly prized for its aphrodisiac qualities, improving libido, sexual function and fertility in both sexes.
Extensive research in modern times has confirmed maca root’s effectiveness as an adrenal restorative, in normalising thyroid and pancreatic action, balancing blood glucose, strengthening immunity and, importantly, in optimising reproductive hormone activity. This is a safe and potent herbal medicine that works as an adaptogen in the body, helping to normalise hormone production. Its action brings stability and balance to the changing cycles of the female reproductive system at any stage of life. In fact, as a whole food rich in amino acids, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, maca’s tonic properties support and nourish every system of the body in both men and women. Its historic role as a dietary staple is an indication of maca root’s safety as a wholefood medicinal supplement.
Maca root is available in dried powder or capsule form. Although some maca root products may be marketed as raw, those that have been heat-treated in some way are recommended. Traditionally maca root was cooked and eaten. This is an important consideration, as enzymes contained in foods from the brassica family produce goitrogens that interfere with thyroid function if they are consumed raw. Cooking is the necessary step that destroys these enzymes. Mixing the powdered form into a hot drink will achieve the same effect.
- Have you experienced the hormone balancing and tonic properties of maca root?
- What other dietary changes or natural health supplements have improved your hormone health?
By Carolyn Simon, Naturopath
HealthPost stock a range of quality Maca Root powder supplements available for secure purchase at great low prices from our online store.
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