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Generic Name: Lepidium Meyenii

Brand Names: Maca Lepidamax, Maca, Maca Root

Drug Class: Herbals

Available Dosage Forms: Oral tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid

Maca: Uses, Side effects. Maca Lepidamax, Maca, Maca Root

What is Maca?

Peruvian Maca is a member of the plant genus Lepidium. It is consumed as food and:

-Medicinal agent for sexual dysfunction and prostatic hyperplasia

-Bone growth nootropic in osteoporosis

-Protectant for the skin against UV radiation

-Memory enhancer

Maca has a broad safety profile compared to pharmaceutical anti-depressants and anxiolytics. For this reason, depression studies have evaluated the anti-depressant role of Maca. Lipophilic compounds in the herb are linked to higher anti-depressant efficacy compared to water-soluble compounds.

In a study conducted by Gonzales and Cordova et al., Maca was administered in doses of 1500 mg or 3000 mg for 4, 8, and 12 weeks to adult men. It was observed that Maca consumption lowered depression scores on the Hamilton Rating scale in men just after four weeks of consuming the herb.1 The anti-depressive effects of Maca was also tested in postmenopausal women by Stojanovska and Law et al. Results indicated that Maca reduced blood pressure, alleviated anxiety, and improved depression in postmenopausal women.2


How to use Maca?

Maca can be consumed in a variety of forms. Its powder form can be mixed into smoothies or fruit juices. It can also be taken orally in capsules or tablets.

Before consuming Maca for remedial purposes, it is advised to consult your doctor. Your doctor will prescribe the recommended dosage for your needs. Typical dosages usually consist of 450 mg capsules taken thrice daily. Three grams of Maca can safely be consumed daily for four months.


What are the side effects of Maca?

Side effects are rare and usually consists of mild side effects, including:

-Stomach cramps

-Disturbed sleep

Some side effects that can be experienced in women include:

-Irregular menstrual cycles

-Mood disturbances

-Heavy menstrual bleeding

-Raised testosterone levels


Who should not use Maca?

-Pregnant and breastfeeding women

-Women with estrogen-related conditions and malignancies

-Those with thyroid issues



  1. Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002;34(6):367-372. doi:10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x
  2. Stojanovska L, Law C, Lai B, et al. Maca reduces blood pressure and depression, in a pilot study in postmenopausal women.Climacteric. 2015;18(1):69-78. doi:10.3109/13697137.2014.929649

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Danielle Aubin (she/her), Online Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, Roseville, CA

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