The following 2 articles about Maca were printed in the Australian magazine, Nature and Health, written by Amy Nancarrow.
“Discover How This New Phytonutrient Can Ease
Rather than hormone replacement therapy (HRT) millions of women are putting their faith in a remedy which has been used for 10,000 years, which is safe and amazingly effective: a cruciferous root vegetable from Peru called Maca.
Now women have an alternative to hormone replacement therapy drugs. Maca works in an entirely different and more satisfactory way for most women than phytoestrogen herbs like black cohosh and liquorice root. And men too, find that Maca can counteract the difficulties they may experience in maintaining good sexual relationships as they age, due to a general slowing down in the output of the endocrine glands.
Alternative to HRT
It is important to remember that Maca does not itself contain any hormones, but its action on the body jogs the pituitary into producing the precursor hormones which ultimately end up raisingoestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels, as well as helping to balance the adrenal glands, the thyroid and the pancreas. But this occurs naturally, not with time-bomb drugs which throw the entire body into a dangerous state of confusion.
Dr Jorge Malaspina, a respected cardiologist, has been using Maca in his practice in Lima, Peru, for over a decade. He says, “Maca does not cause the ovaries in women to atrophy, as conventional hormone replacement therapy does.” This means that Maca may be discontinued at any time without danger.
He adds, “Different medicinal plants work on the ovaries by stimulating them. With Maca, though, we should say that it ‘regulates’ the ovarian function, as well as the organs of internal secretion, such as the pituitary, the adrenal glands, and the pancreas. He has also found Maca to be effective even on women who have undergone complete hysterectomies. He describes one patient who had a serum oestradiol level of 15, which is very low. After two months on Maca it went up to 75. He says that a level above 60 is an adequate postmenopausal level. “Maca enables the adrenals to make sufficient hormones to avoid symptoms,” he says.
Dr Malaspina adamantly prefers Maca therapy to HRT. “The presence of outside hormones circulating in the system sends a message to the pituitary and the hypothalamus that there is a sufficient quantity of hormones in the body and so they stop producing them. When menopause arrives, then, the ovaries are atrophied and do not produce the oestrogen and progesterone which the body requires minimally to function. For this reason I encourage women to start with Maca before menopause. It seems to help the endocrine system to stay in balance.”
Doctors also have good news for men who are suffering age-related sexual dysfunction. They can forget expensive, possibly dangerous Viagra. Maca works extremely well, and safely.
Dr Jorge Aguila Calderon, Dean of the Faculty of Human Medicine at the National University of Federico Villareal in Lima, prescribes Maca for a wide variety of conditions, including osteoporosis and the healing of bone fractures in the very elderly. He says, “Maca has a lot of easily-absorbable calcium in it, plus magnesium, and a fair amount of silica, which we are finding very useful in treating decalcification of bones in children and adults.”
Dr Calderon has also helped patients overcome male impotence, male sterility, and female sterility by employing Maca therapy. Additional problems he treats with Maca are rickets, various forms of anaemia, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, climacteric and erectile difficulties in men, premature ageing, and general states of weakness, such as chronic fatigue.
Another health professional using Maca is Dr Garry F. Gordon, President of the International College of Advanced Longevity Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He said: “Using Maca myself, I experienced a significant improvement in erectile tissue response. I call it ‘nature’s answer to Viagra’.
“What I see in Maca is a means of normalising our steroid hormones like testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen. Therefore, it has the facility to forestall the hormonal changes of ageing. It acts on men to restore them to healthy functional status in which they experience a more active libido. Lots of men and women, who previously believed their sexual problems were psychological, are now clearly going to look for something physiological to improve quality of life in the area of sexuality. Of course, as someone interested in longevity, I’m aware that mortality comes on much sooner for those individuals whose sexual activity is diminished or nonexistent. I believe that people, who engage in sex twice a week, or more, live longer. I've found sexual activity to be a reliable marker for overall ageing.”
Maca at a Glance- What it is?
Maca is a dehydrated, cruciferous root vegetable and not a drug, so it is imported without any problems. It is a benign, medicinal food which has been in use for 10,000 years, possibly more, and has had ample time to be judged effective. It is also easily affordable, costing less than $12 per month.
What’s in it?
Proteins, as polypeptides, make up 11 per cent of the dry Maca root; calcium makes up 10 per cent and magnesium and potassium are present in significant amounts. Other minerals include iron, silica and traces of iodine, manganese, zinc, copper and sodium. Vitamins in Maca are thiamine, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. The amino acid proteins in Maca include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, histidine, glycine, threolline, cystine, alanine, arginine, tyrosins, valine, methionine, isoleucine, lysine, hoproline and sarcosine.
According to doctors in Peru and the USA, Maca may be of benefit for:
- Menopausal symptoms: Hot flashes, tender breasts, sleeplessness and emotional upsets, “brain fog”, vaginal dryness
- Osteoporosis: Significant bone rebuilding, improvement in bone density
- Energy booster: Balances the endocrine system: thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands
- Male impotence
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Period problems: Pain, PMS, flooding and/or scant flow
Prominent health professional, Grant Woolven, says about this natural remedy: “Maca could be called a ‘miracle of nature’ because it has such remarkable effects on the body and mind. Because it is a food, as opposed to a medicinal herb, it can be taken every day without any negative side effects. From an Ayurvedic viewpoint, it effectively strengthens the nervous system and brain, via its effect on the kidney energy. It regulates the liver energy, resulting in a harmonising of all endocrine functions, especially the ovaries, testes and pituitary glands. Because of these effects it is excellent for catalysing emotional stability and a deep sense of psychophysical wellbeing and integration. It is no wonder some people call it the ‘happiness herb’.
“Because it is ‘vata-reducing’ it is excellent for people who are rundown, depleted, undernourished or emaciated. It is a ‘rebuilding tonic’ with the added benefit of being warming energetically, which facilitates the digestive fire (Agni) and good circulation. Although it is excellent for those people with endocrine imbalances, it is also excellent, when combined with rosehips, for the rejuvenation of tissue and immunity in any person at any age.”
Part 2 -- Excerpted from Nature & Health Magazine
Since our report on the Peruvian powder, Maca, many readers have written to Nature & Health to share the experiences they've had with this natural remedy. Limited space prevents us from printing all of them, but we want to thank everyone for writing with their individual success stories – and hope that they will inspire others in similar situations.
Heavy Periods: Cecile’s Story
“I am 41 years of age and had experienced heavy menstrual bleeding since a teenager. I have had three children, and as I got older, my health has also been compromised by chronic anaemia. Each month I would feel a heaviness and pressure in my body as a build-up to my period. After the heavy flow, it would take several days to feel OK after feeling extremely tired and ‘washed-out’. I started taking the herb Maca five cycles (months) ago. I believe I noticed a change after three weeks, and I encourage women who take this herb to persevere through this initial phase. This is no quick pharmaceutical fix, but has been like a miracle cure for me. I can honestly say that all negative aspects and symptoms of my periods have reduced by 80 per cent, and I continue to feel more well as each month passes. The blood flow has also decreased dramatically so that I feel my energy levels and physical vitality are really very good. I would recommend this herb for any women experiencing menstrual or hormonal problems.”
Hysterectomy: Melanie’s Story
“After years of symptoms that kept getting worse, my doctor told me that if I didn’t have a hysterectomy I would get cancer. I was really depressed because friends who have endured this operation have never fully recovered, and their marital relations were adversely affected. Then a friend told me about Maca and showed me an article in your magazine. At first, I didn’t really believe anything so simple could be so good, but I started feeling much better after about three weeks of taking it. For the first time in my life I’m having normal periods, and I will never have that awful operation.”
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Peggy’s Story
“Almost six years ago, I contracted Ross River Fever and was desperately ill for months. Eventually I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and nothing brought relief (I tried everything!) until I read about Maca in your wonderful magazine. For the first few weeks I didn't notice any improvement.
“Then I increased my dose to one teaspoon twice a day, and after two weeks I felt human for the first time in years. I just kept getting better every month until now, a year and a half after starting Maca, I am normal again. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a terrible affliction, and I wanted to write to you so others will know where to find help. Oh, yes, and I was able to cut my dose down to ‘maintenance’ after two months, so it only costs me about $10 per month. What a bargain!”
Hair and Nails: Mindy’s Story
“I first learned about Maca from a woman who had ‘drowned mouse hair’, as she called it. She had been struggling with straight, lifeless hair all her life, having to set it daily in the vain effort to give it body. One day when I was doing her hair (I have been a hairdresser for 15 years), I was amazed to discover that it is now full of pep – it’s stronger, lustrous, and even has a bit of a curl. The upshot is that I’ve lost a client, because all she needs since Maca is an occasional haircut, as she now has ‘wash-and-wear hair’. She doesn't even need to dry it – a towel-rub and a fluff and she’s all set! Needless to say, I started taking this ‘magic powder’ myself and my hair has improved out of sight, as have my fingernails. They used to be pale, and now they’re a healthy pink and growing long for the first time in my life! I've recommended Maca to lots of people, and they are all having great results.”
Osteoporosis: Marilyn’s Story
“About a year and a half ago, when I had a bone scan, they told me I had the bones of an 8o year-old – and I’m only 52! 1 was really worried, but I certainly didn't want to take oetsrogen, because of the side effects. Then I read about Maca in your magazine, and I'm so grateful to you for printing that information.
“The first change I noticed was that my fingernails looked different. They were a very pale colour and they had strange white horizontal marks across them. Somebody told me that meant I had low calcium, but I don't know if that’s right. It wasn’t long before my nails got pink and healthy looking, and to my amazement they grew long and didn’t break off the way they have all my life. I figured that meant I was assimilating my calcium (which I was getting from eating more sardines and vegetables, which I read had calcium in them). This was encouraging and I got the courage to have another bone scan, and my doctor couldn’t believe it was possible to have so much improvement. He seemed pretty annoyed when I admitted that I wasn’t taking calcium (he was already pretty cross that I wouldn’t take oestrogen!), and when I tried to explain that the improvement was caused by a natural herb powder, he didn’t want to know! I think I’m going to change doctors!
“Another thing – I don’t know what Maca has in it that helps the emotions, but it sure made a change in me. For years I was depressed most of the time (I also refused the Prozac the doctor suggested!), but Maca has lifted my spirits. I’m happy in life, and always laughing. Thank you, Nature & Health, for making this big improvement in my life possible. My husband thanks you, too, because I used to be pretty hard to live with!”
Peri menopause: Susan’s Story
“The peri menopausal phase began for me five and a half years ago when I was almost 41, and was vcharacterised by irregularly spaced periods, with some continuing daily for months at a time, mood swings including depression; itchy skin; lowered libido; and the occasional hot flush. Then, nine months ago, after not having a period for six months, things became dramatically intensified. Ten searing hot flushes with accompanying sweats a day seemed difficult to endure, but they soon increased in frequency to every half hour, day and night, with the result that any significant sleep became impossible. With almost no sleep and the debilitating effects of the flushes themselves, my quality of life was dwindling and I began to wonder how long I could continue. I had previously not realised that menopause could have such a devastating effect on your body and mind. I almost felt that if life was going to be like this from now on, then it wasn’t worth living.
“When I heard about maca, it seemed like an answer to a prayer, as it has in fact proven to be. Within a week the flushes had reduced significantly, and within eight weeks, they had disappeared entirely. I had to begin with quite a high dosage, and adjust it frequently during the first few months, but I am now comfortable on a quarter of a teaspoon twice daily. Also, within a week, my libido made a strong and welcome return and now the genital atrophy that had occurred has completely reversed. Sleep has become deep and uninterrupted, my energy levels have risen dramatically, my mental acuity has returned, and there have been unexpected side effects, such as better-looking skin and the disappearance of an anal fistula, which had not responded to a barrage of treatments prior to this.”
What an Expert says:
Naturopath Anita Barry, from Ashmore, Queensland, wrote the following about Maca:
“ • A patient with severe osteoporosis was overjoyed when she told me there had been an increase in her bone density, after one year on Maca.
.• A patient who suffered depression, irritability and severe mood swings reported incredible relief after taking Maca for just a short time.
• A 20 year-old patient, whose periods had ceased two years previously, took Maca and after only two months, her periods returned.
As a natural health practitioner, I am delighted to discover a safe product that can bring health benefits to so many.”