Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii): A Nourishing Superfood for Before, During, and After Pregnancy
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Maca root is an important fertility-boosting herbal medicine for both men and women, and has health benefits for both genders and for people of all ages. This Peruvian medicine has been used for thousands of years as a source of daily nutrition as well as a sacred medicine; the yellow variety is the most common and frequently used, especially as a food source, while the red and black varieties are primarily used in medicinal and ceremonial contexts.
Red maca is seen as the embodiment of the feminine side of the maca plant. While women can take both yellow and black maca as well, the red variety of maca is particularly well-suited to working with women’s health issues, especially those concerning fertility. For the treatment of female infertility and most other issues related to women’s sexual and reproductive health, red maca is the variety of choice. This type of maca root has been known to support not only female fertility, but also to treat the following women’s health issues (as well as general, fertility-related issues):
- Low libido
- Menopausal symptoms
- Fatigue or difficulty focusing (including that related to hormonal imbalance)
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Hormonal acne
- Hair loss due to hormonal imbalances or stress
Maca root has been shown to be supportive of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, both of which are responsible for the production of hormones that are essential to conception and a healthy, stable pregnancy. The plant also has unique effects on estrogen and progesterone, acting to balance these two hormones in cases where the body may have too much or too little of one or the other. Additionally, as a superfood, maca root contains high levels of many essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese, vitamins B1 and B2, vitamin C, and all of the essential amino acids. Since infertility is often caused (or aggravated) by suboptimal nutrient levels, this nourishing aspect of maca root makes it a good choice as a daily fertility-supportive supplement.
On the subject of nutrition, maca also contains iodine, an essential mineral that is extremely important for fertility in both men and women (though especially so in women, since women need more iodine than men). The reproductive organs require iodine in order to function properly, and when a woman doesn’t have adequate levels of iodine, she may have problems getting pregnant and staying pregnant in addition to experiencing other problems related to the reproductive organs. Though the amount of iodine in maca root is relatively small, it’s still worth noting since this nutrient is so vital for reproductive health in general (and, it’s also often sabotaged by the presence of bromine in the water or food supply in the US or even via the furniture we sit on or the clothes we wear, so any and all source of iodine are valuable for the prevention of bromine toxicity too).
Also worth noting is that maca root is a member of the cruciferous family of plants, along with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and others. All of these vegetables share in common that they have a higher amount of sulfur than other vegetables. Sulfur is another versatile and often overlooked nutrient that, when deficient, can cause significant problems, including not only problems with fertility, but also chronic pain, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, migraines, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal issues, and more. It is also vital for gallbladder and liver health; both of these organs work together in a variety of ways, including to maintain balance of hormones (including reproductive hormones and thyroid hormones) throughout the body. Most people overlook the gallbladder’s relevance when it comes to hormonal health, but in reality, this is one of the first organs to look at when a hormonal imbalance occurs. In fact, performing a liver/gallbladder cleanse in preparation for conception and pregnancy can not only increase a woman’s fertility, but can also make her pregnancy go more smoothly (and may even minimize the symptoms of morning sickness, for instance, since this condition is generally caused by gallbladder issues of some kind).
To use maca root as a treatment for female infertility, take a daily dose of 3 grams of either yellow or red maca root (or a combination of the two). Maca powder can be used in smoothies or mixed in with nut butters, soups, or breads, or you may choose to take maca in its capsulized form. Maca may be taken during pregnancy as well, and is in fact considered a valuable supplement for this time due to its nourishing properties.
Maca Experts (n.d). What are the different colours of maca? Retrieved October 5, 2022 from: https://themacaexperts.com/maca/learn-about-maca/what-are-the-different-colours-of-maca/
The Maca Team (n.d). Which Maca is Best? Retrieved October 5, 2022 from: https://www.themacateam.com/which-maca-is-best
The Maca Team (n.d). Maca for Women’s Fertility. Retrieved October 5, 2022 from: https://www.themacateam.com/maca-for-womens-fertility