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I discovered maca when desperately searching the Internet for a hormone imbalance remedy that I hadn’t already tried. The testimonials sold me… I bought a bottle of maca tablets on Amazon and have been taking them for a few weeks. It’s still too early to call maca life-changing, but I’ve already noticed a huge difference in my skin, mood and energy level. If you haven’t heard of maca, I’d say it’s definitely worth investigating!

What is maca? A cousin of the radish, the maca plant grows in the Andes Mountains in Peru and Bolivia. South Americans have used maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, for centuries. According to the Maca Experts, the Andean Indians considered maca root a precious commodity for its medicinal and nutritional value.

raw maca

What are maca’s health benefits? Move over, kale! Maca might just take over as the world’s favorite superfood. The nutritious root can help with a huge variety of ailments from fatigue and depression to leukemia, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis. (via WebMD)

Here are some of the best things that maca can do for you:

  • Regulate hormones: As WebMD explains, women can treat hormone imbalances, menstrual problems, and menopause symptoms with maca. Some claim that maca helps against hormonal acne as well. I’ve struggled with hormonal acne for years, and I haven’t had any new outbreaks since I began taking maca supplements, though it may be too early to draw conclusions.
  • Improve libido: Perhaps the most famous benefit of maca root, the claim that maca improves sexual function in both men and women has yet to be scientifically proven. However, The Wall Street Journal cites scientists who recommend maca as the best natural libido enhancer.
  • Boost energy: Maca contains loads of important minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur and iron. Together, they help fight fatigue and foster physical and mental wellness. See this post at VegKitchen for more details.

>> Read more: Chew Your Way to Power: Top 7 Energy-Boosting Foods

What are the disadvantages? Since maca is a plant, not a chemical, it doesn’t come with many side effects. However, in order to feel a difference you need a minimum of five grams per day, which can be a lot to fit in. My bottle recommends taking 5-20 tablets daily! Also, not everyone will find maca delicious. It’s an acquired taste that reminds me of earthy butterscotch. I didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on me since the beginning.

Of course, it’s important to check with your doctor if you have any concerns, particularly if you have a history of headaches or insomnia. Livestrong explains that occasionally maca has been suspected of aggravating these conditions.

How do I take maca? You can buy maca powder to add to smoothies, coffee, yogurt, etc., which I might try next time now that I’m used to the flavor. Alternatively, you can buy tablets or capsules with highly concentrated maca root to take with a glass of water, just like any vitamin.