If I had to choose just one superfood, then maca would get my top vote. It just can’t be denied, maca is incredible stuff. For me I dare say, perhaps even life-changing. Amidst its myriad of different benefits, maca is known for its ability to somewhat mysteriously and magically balance the hormone (endocrine) system. There’s a little bit of science behind that, but the main evidence is in the fact that lots of people who take it notice a significant improvement in hormonal related issues.
When looking at medicinal benefits of foods, I have a paradoxical scepticism, balanced with a healthy open mind. I don’t blindly assume that something will work, yet I stay open to the possibilities. I am someone who has experienced significant improvement in endocrine function with daily use of maca.
A personal note – pre-menstrual stuff and ovarian issues
Like many of us, my hormone system has always been a little touch and go, with sensitivity. Aside from the usual pre-menstrual stuff, the biggie for me was the appearance of ovarian cysts a few years back. Ovarian cysts are just one of the multitude of different hormone related issues that women might get when the hormones are a little (or a lot) out of balance (which seems to be most of us in some way or another).
It’s a bit of a mystery to me as to why we are so out of wack – even if we eat a super healthy diet, there are the pollutants in the air, genetic weakness, lifestyle issues where we ignore the natural rhythms of life (which despite our best intententions is probably 99.9% of us). So anyway, ovarian cysts was my body’s way of saying ‘hey let’s look at balancing this endocrine system’ (thank you universe for your generous prompt!).
Anyway, I’ve taken gelatinised maca on a daily basis for two or three years. It cleared up my ovarian cysts and helped ease any pre-menstrual issues that were bothering me.
Here is the amazing thing though… I stopped taking maca three times over that period, for a couple of weeks – and ***deep inhale*** on ALL three occasions my ovarian cyst symptoms returned EVERY TIME! So needless to say, maca works for me beyond any doubt.
I have heard countless stories of maca offering significant relief and support around the menopause too.
Practicing medical doctors with amazing results on maca for hormone balance
Hugo Malaspina, MD is a respected cardiologist in Peru who now practices complementary medicine with an emphasis on the use of medicinal herbs. He is one of the earliest modern pioneers in the therapeutic use of maca. After using the plant with his patients for a number of years he observed the following…
‘There are different medicinal plants that work on the ovaries by stimulating them.
With maca, though, we should say that it ‘regulates’ the ovarian function.’
Dr. Malaspina suggests that the benefit is that rather than introducing hormones from outside the body (which can create imbalance and knock on effects), maca encourages the ovaries and other glands (thyroid, pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus, testes, adrenal glands etc.) to produce necessary hormones for optimal function through the whole body. He says…
“I have had perhaps 200 female patients whose perimenopausal and
postmenopausal symptoms are alleviated by taking maca.”
I’ve read lots of things like this. I could go on and on and on – but you get the picture, right!
How does maca actually work for hormones?
It’s a bit of a mystery. The important thing here seems to be that maca doesn’t actually infuse your body with hormones. So it’s not like ‘I am short on oestrogen, let’s get some oestrogen etc.’ Adding hormones to the body in that way might be like ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ – causing more imbalance in the long term.
Maca, however, is said to do have the rather incredible knack of creating balance – finding out exactly what your body needs and then helping it to achieve that – in a balanced, natural way. So if the hormones are out of balance it will kick start the system so that it can produce them itself. A sort of magical little friend looking at the whole picture in a balanced way and giving the system a nice bit of homeostasis.
OK, I am not being particularly scientific here (not my forte). I am more of a folk medicine, traditional, ‘trust in the energy of the land’ sort of woman. I also trust in the native people of Peru who have embraced this plant root for millennia (yes!!! it has well and truly stood the test of time).
Important note on ‘raw versus cooked (gelatinised)’ Maca
It is common to hear that the native people of the Andes only eat maca once it has been boiled or roasted. They have apparently done so ever since we can trace back in history. On the other hand, the modern trend of eating raw maca does occasionally have its pitfalls. Some people who eat maca in its raw form find that it irritates the stomach. When in doubt, I say, do what the indigenous folk do – and eat the cooked version (i.e. gelatanised) – they have, after all, been doing it for aeons!
My personal experience of raw Maca…
I went through a period of consuming raw maca root powder many years ago. Whilst I truly appreciate the benefits of eating raw foods, I learned there are times when it isn’t always optimal for our digestion. The truth is, I couldn’t stomach raw maca for long, so I only enjoyed it as an occasional treat, rather than on a daily basis as I do now. It didn’t feel ‘bad’ for me as such… I just felt as if it wasn’t digesting properly and I started developing an aversion to it.
I have since learned that it’s not uncommon that people to struggle to digest this plant in its raw form.
My personal experience of gelatinised Maca…
I am so glad that I gave maca a second chance. It has become one of my all time favourite foods! It helps to balance my hormones (and boy – do I need help with that!). Maca also supports me to cope with stressful situations, where my fight or flight mode has a tendency to go into total overdrive. By consuming the non-raw, gelatinised version I experienced a world of difference. Finally, I got to experience maca to it’s full potential. My body soaked up those health benefits like there was no tomorrow. Now, I enjoy it on a daily basis.
What is gelatanised Maca?
Gelatinisation happens when the maca is heated on a low heat, allowing the roots to separate from its fibrous parts. Most of the nutrients are maintained during this process. Gelatinisation essentially removes the starchy carbohydrates, creating a high concentration of beneficial nutrients. It contains a higher ratio of nutrients than raw maca.
Where to get your Maca Root Powder from?
Your health is important, so be sure to buy
- Certified organic
- GMO free
- Peruvian Maca
It might be tempting to cut corners and go for inferior products for convenience, but it’s not worth it. Maca not particularly cheap to buy, however, you would probably only use between a teaspoon and tablespoon every day. Therefore a 500g (1lb) packet could last you up to three months. A small price to pay for such healthful properties.
I only recommend products that I have used, tried and tested myself. The following two companies both have excellent ethical standards and I’ve been in touch with them personally. Here are my suggestions…
North America (scroll down for UK & Europe)
My favourite brand the USA is now Terrasoul. I was looking for an alternative to the Sevenhills one that I use, for my mother who lives out there. They grow it with small family-owned, organic farms high in the Peruvian Andes and selectively harvest their roots. I’ve used this when I visit the USA and love it
Check it out here:
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinised Maca Powder
UK and Europe
My favourite company in the UK is Sevenhills Wholefoods. They sell the maca that I use the vast majority of the time. Sevenhills are very much in contact with their farmers, and are proud of the direct-supply line they have established, with ethics, fairtrade, organic and sustainability as priorities. Whilst it isn’t cheap, considering the quality of their product, their price is very good value.
Check it out here:
Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Gelatinised Maca Powder 500g
Super Healthy Maca For Hormone Balance Recipes
My favourite way to use maca is in a smoothie blend. Not only does it bring incredible health benefits, but it adds a delicious malty taste. I’ve also published my favourite superfood Maca Chocolate recipe, some very nutritious Maca Granola and Malty Maca Date Bars…
Mango Maca Smoothie for Natural Hormone Balance
Malty Maca Granola Bars – naturally sweetened with dates
Healing Superfood Smoothie Bowl with Maca, Hemp & Ginger
Pin this maca for hormone balance article for later…
I have started using Maca after reading your homepage. Think I’ll try out some more of the recipes and make it an every day thing…
I have been thinking a lot about this whole feminine cycle and how extremely sad it is that we have a society that messes up our bodies so much. It’s a form of abuse towards the feminine.
I have worked extremely hard to shift into living a life where I cherish and try to love my cycles, and to be proud that I have a female body. It has helped a bit, but I must say it is extremely hard. (Can’t say I’m happy those days every month when I can’t get out of bed 🙁 ) I will try out some more maca recipes… and also I have just ordered a Livia mylivia.com to see if that works for the cramps. It will be interesting to see the results…
Absolutely, it’s such a crazy society to scramble and discount what is natural for us 🙁 Saddens me deeply.
Do let me know how you get on with the maca. I swear by the stuff now. x
Do you know if it is ok to take while nursing?
It’s a really great question. I don’t really know for sure, although if you search on google there seem to be a lot of people explaining why it might be fine for nursing.
Do you know if there is a best time in your cycle to take Maca? I’ve heard that you shouldn’t take it non-stop.
I’ve not heard that and have taken it continuously for big spells of time when needed, with very positive effect. When suffering my symptoms actually returned when I stopped taking it.
Hi there, I’m so glad that I found Kind Earth, I had never heard about Maca before then. I have been adding Maca powder to smoothies but I wondered if you could recommend a trusted company in both the USA and UK that sold Maca in capsules. I realized that there will be times when I can’t make a Maca smoothie and it would be helpful to have capsules for those times. Also you mentioned chaste berry, can you recommend a tincture that you have used. I have been researching a lot but I find that it is a mind field to know which to trust. I moved to the USA from the UK last year which is why I would like to know brands in both countries, also so that I can try it on myself and then share my experience with my family and help them too. Thank you 😊
Ahw lovely to hear that Lillian. Delightful to have you here. Thanks for asking, I know that it can be a little tricky to know which one to get. I’ve tried and tested a lot of things and brands over the years (and am quite picky haha) so I am glad to point you in the right direction.
I used this maca in the UK and swear by it:
I have used this maca when in the USA and like it (good price too):
I haven’t used chaste berry in a while now, but when I did I used this one (UK):
Best of wishes
Thank you Anastasia, I don’t suppose you can recommend which Maca to use in capsule form? Thank you
Ohhhhh yes I missed that word out when I read your post. I do apologise…
I have never actually had any capsules for maca. So I am not sure which ones to recommend.