Get Well

Wellness One-oh-Ones: Maca

by Hannah Smith

Welcome to the Wellness One-oh-Ones, a digital encyclopedia for all your wellness needs. This series is geared to tackle those everyday questions you secretly ask yourself in wonderment when you hear about a new trend. Instead of pretending to know what people are talking about, come hang with us as we uncover the latest and greatest in the wellness industry. Check back every other Wednesday to pick up your refill — no doctor’s signature required.

Incase you missed it, Chillhouse officially relaunched our Chill Blends – adaptogenic blends tailored to help with a variety of commonplace issues, from getting a boost of energy to chilling the f*ck out. To help you get acquainted with the products, we’ll be teaching you about the different key ingredients found in our blends and their primary benefits. This week, we’ll be highlighting Give Me Life, which was formulated in an attempt to replace the need for coffee. The hero ingredient in this little blend? Maca. If you’ve never heard of Maca, have no fear! Keep reading for all of your questions, answered.

What is Maca?

Maca, sometimes referred to as Peruvian Ginseng, is actually in the same vegetable family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. The real benefits lie in the root, though, so the most popular way to consume maca is through a dried up powder that is typically added to smoothies or warm drinks for an added boost. In our case, the root was powdered and blended amongst other goodies such as cordyceps, chaga, and rhodiola to create a blend that will kickstart your energy without the effects of a typical coffee crash.

What are the Benefits of Maca?

As is the case with most adaptogens, they’ve been around forever and are still hailed for their benefits for a reason – they really do work! Maca in particular can be helpful for a number of concerns, such as energy, sex drive, and overall mood to name a few. Get to know how maca interacts with the bodies in a few different ways below.

Maca and Nutrients

As much as we all want to believe we’re leading full, nutritious lives, the fact of the matter is we might not be! Thankfully, maca is pretty jam packed with various nutrients, from Vitamin C, to iron, to manganese, to potassium – just to name a few. Not only does maca contain these nutrients, but it contains them in substantial amounts, making maca an easy way to add more nutrients to your overall routine.

Maca and Energy

Popular as a supplement among body builders and other workout enthusiasts alike, maca has been proven to boost energy temporarily without the jitters that coffee tends to bring. For this reason, it’s been used as a pre-workout for many years. Since it’s been used in the health community for so long, people have also made claims that it helps to build muscle, overall stamina, and improve endurance over time.

Maca and Sex Drive

The same study that detailed maca’s effect on energy subsequently found that the libido of participants had increased. This is not a new claim for an adaptogenic, as that seems to be a trend amongst other popular ingredients, too, but the case is strongest for maca. Don’t get us wrong – it is in no way like popping a Viagra. With continued use over time, one would notice an overall increase in sexual desire and activity. For men in particular, maca has also been proven to support men’s health, such as normal sperm and prostate function throughout all stages of life.

Maca and Hormones

For women, maca has been proven to help with menopause symptoms and to regulate hormones in general. In the past, its been shown to help alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause, such as hot flashes. Maca helps to balance hormone levels by stimulating the adrenal glands, which subsequently also supports the body with liver detoxification.

Maca and Mood

Most adaptogens that help with energy also support an overall improved mood. As your sustained energy becomes higher, symptoms of anxiety and depression start to ease up. Again, this is no replacement for any medication, but it’s nice to know that sipping on this chill blend won’t only give you energy, but a steady, non-anxious energy at that.

Can I Use It Topically?

Surprisingly, yes! Maca actually does have some benefits when applied topically. In one study, applying a maca paste directly to the skin demonstrated that it can help protect from UV damage. This is not to say maca should replace your SPF, but who would have thought?! On a similar note, applying a paste can also have antioxidant like effects, as the maca will help reduce any free radical damage done to the skin by UV rays. Essentially, UVs are no match for maca.

Are There Side Effects?

As with most adaptogens, maca is safe to consume regularly in small quantities. When consumed in excess, maca might cause slight gastrointestinal discomfort (we’re talking gas, constipation, etc.) or symptoms of insomnia. Most notably, though, those dealing with a thyroid issue are warned against maca, as it contains goitrogens, which interferes with normalized functions of the thyroid gland. Those with thyroid issues already have impaired thyroid function, so it is recommended to stay away from maca.

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