Hot flashes are no doubt one of the most irritating and uncomfortable consequences of passing through menopause. While medical science does not yet understand the exact causes of hot flashes, significant links between imbalanced hormone levels, especially estrogen, are theorized. Evidence of this link is also seen in natural health practices which report that efforts to balance hormones in menopausal women are often met with a reduction in symptoms such as hot flashes.
One of the most promising natural remedies – as well as one of the most prescribed – is the use of raw maca powder to alleviate the discomfort of hot flashes. Maca is an herb that grows only in the high Andes mountains, at elevations of above 14,000 feet. It has been used traditionally by people indigenous to the area to boost their energy and vitality while living in such an oxygen starved environment. It was also used consistently by Spanish troops as they conquered Latin America.
Over the past 25 years Maca has been rediscovered by modern natural medicine. Maca is truly a unique herb. It belongs to a small group of plants that can be called “adaptogenic.” An adaptogenic herb is able to “adapt” to the conditions of a given body and support the body to balance its system on its own.
Although Maca is a powerful aid in fertility treatments as well as in natural muscle building, its most promising use is as a natural hormone balancer. The herb stimulates the body to produce whatever type of hormone is necessary for it to achieve ideal balance. For example if a man is experiencing a low sex drive due to low levels of testosterone, Maca can stimulate the body to bring the levels of the hormone up and thereby reestablish his sex drive.
Similarly, if a woman who is entering menopause is experiencing hot flashes due to low levels of estrogen, Maca encourages the body to produce higher levels of the hormone, which in turn creates a more balanced system and can lead to a reduction of all the symptoms of menopause.
One of the great advantages of taking maca for hot flashes is that there are absolutely no know side effects. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which come with a large list of warnings, Maca is a simple whole food that the body can easily process.
The best way to take Maca for hormonal balance is to use a powder mixed either in water or juice. The fine grains of the powder create a large surface area with which can more easily be absorbed by the intestines. This absorption allows for the nutrients in the herb to make it into the blood stream and to the endocrine system. High quality maca has a pleasant taste sort of like malt flavor.
When choosing Maca for therapeutic use, it is important that you purchase a maca powder that is organic, raw and fresh. This will give you the greatest chance of success. The dosage should be about 1 teaspoon per day in the beginning, working up to 1-2 tablespoons until you begin to feel the symptoms disappear. (See our complete maca dosage guide)
One final note is that Maca isn’t only for hormone relief. Many people who start taking it for that reason end up continuing to use it because of how much energy it gives them