As a mother of two, I decided early on to raise my kids on healthy natural diets, remembering to make sure I maximized their outdoor time throughout their childhood. My husband was keen on pushing for their creative development, while I instinctively knew that once they developed a taste for greens and fresh produce, I wouldn’t have too many worries about their health.
Now the kids are adults and my worries for their health and safety are not my main preoccupation. Now I’m beginning to be concerned about myself… I hear many women my age complaining about difficulties with their menopausal symptoms, but I hear just as many of them worrying about the (mostly unadvertised) side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT’s)!
In hormone therapies, synthetic versions of our own natural estrogens, progesterone or other hormones are administered to compensate for our body's own inability to produce them anymore.
As an advocate of wholesome lifestyles, I diverted early on from the heavily promoted HRT trend, not feeling right about consuming hormone pills to stifle the undesired effects of a natural hormonal shift. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, joint stiffness and all that womanly jazziness, but the token difficulties still didn’t motivate me to hop on the hormone therapy train, especially knowing that HRT’s carry severe health risks, including high blood pressure, blood clots, and increased risks of breast and uterine cancers. Somehow the short-term reliefs didn’t add up to be worth the health risks for me.
Some days my husband would avoid me altogether, not knowing in which direction my mood would fluctuate and not wanting to risk a rift between us. I must admit I took a harder blow than a majority of the women around me, but I’d resolved to let my body run its course.
About half a year into the menopausal changes I came across maca, the Peruvian plant root and medicinal herb. A health-conscious friend of mine informed me of its traditional usages for treating menopausal symptoms. Maca is widely recognized by the people of Peru as an herbal remedy for all sorts of hormonal imbalances. The maca root is a potent superfood containing carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fats, essential minerals such as selenium, calcium, magnesium and iron, amino acids, and fatty acids (including the linolenic, palmitic, and oleic types).
I quickly learned that in the world of herbal treatments, maca helps reduce menopausal symptoms by balancing the body’s fluctuating chemistry, and it does this through prompting the adrenal glands to stabilize the diminishing hormones of the thyroid and pancreas. The adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands are all connected and being rich in organ-supporting minerals, maca seems to greatly benefit menopausal women.
With this knowledge I was excited beyond belief about the prospect of effective herbal remedy, and looking deeper into the uses of maca, I realized that more and more women are skipping chemical hormone treatments and opting for maca powder as an alternative to artificial measures. In the growing trend of climacteric women who look for natural and non-animal remedies (preferably as a food source) to various bodily ailments, this holistic Andean natural supplement seems to soothe our concerns.
Now that I’ve incorporated maca into my daily diet I use less of my energy in self-rejecting dismay, and focus more on embracing the fluctuations. Thankfully, nature provides its own ingenious solutions to the entirety of the living system, and my patience has paid off in many ways.
Because maca affects the body on a cellular level and gives it a chance to readjust, it’s important to take enough, take regularly and to be patient in allowing the body to revitalize at its own rate. Some women notice maca’s beneficial nutritional effects within two weeks, for others it might take a little longer, perhaps even up to 3 months. A measurement to start with is 1/2 teaspoon daily, increasing to 2 tablespoons daily, depending on personal preference. Mix the powder with juice or use in smoothies, oatmeal, organic yogurt or herbal teas.