Maca Benefits: Low Libido in Women and Stress Relief

Maca Benefits: Low Libido in Women and Stress ReliefAre you one of the 11% of middle-aged women in America who reports having felt no desire at all for sex during the last 6 months?[1] Low libido in women, or “hypoactive sexual desire disorder,” as it is officially called, is not uncommon, but this condition can be effectively treated using natural medicine. One very safe remedy that can be used as part of an initial, first-line treatment is maca. But, before we delve into all the amazing maca benefits, let’s first review the causes of low libido in women. 

Causes of low libido in women:

Researchers have identified many different components that make up a woman’s libido and sexual function.[2] Each of these factors needs to be considered when attempting to understand what may be contributing to a woman’s decrease in sexual desire. They include:

  • Hormone(estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA)
  • Medications (some antidepressants, especially SSRI’s like Celexa (citalopram) are notorious libido killers)
  • Illness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appropriate stimulation
  • Relationship discord
  • Lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship
  • Past history of disappointing sex leading to negative expectations
  • Lack of privacy
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Personal history of trauma (sexual, physical, medical)
  • Negative emotions (anxiety, fear, shame, guilt)

Maca benefits for boosting women’s libido

Maca is a safe, natural remedy that can be utilized no matter which of these components is underlying a woman’s low libido, but it is especially suited to treating libido issues rooted in hormonal imbalances, fatigue, and/or stress. That’s because in addition to boosting libido, Maca is known to be an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to a variety of stressors.

Maca (Lepidiummeyenii) is a plant belonging to the mustard (Brassica) family that naturally grows around the Andes Mountains. Maca roots have been used for centuries to enhance sexual function, improve energy and more. A review of studies published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine assessed randomized clinical trials comparing Maca to a placebo in men or menopausal women with sexual dysfunction.[3] The results showed that Maca was effective for increasing sexual desire when taken for at least 6 weeks at dosages ranging from 1.5 to 3 grams per day.

You don’t have to be menopausal to experience the Maca benefits. In another study, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that Maca is effective for sexual dysfunction caused by SSRI antidepressants.[4] The double-blind, randomized study compared a low-dose (1.5 g/day) to a high-dose (3.0 g/day) maca regimen in 20 depressed patients, 17 of whom were women whose average age was 36. The subjects on 3.0 g/day maca had significant improvement in sexual function and libido. Sexual function in subjects on the lower dose did not significantly improve. The Maca was well tolerated. From this study, it appears that a total daily dose of 3 grams is most effective.

Summary of Maca Benefits for low libido in women

A woman’s sexual health is an important aspect of her overall health. When her sexual health is optimal, a woman experiences a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to her sexuality. Sexual desire, or libido, is a big part of sexual health and is treatable with the use of natural therapies. A first step in treating low libido in women can involve the use of herbal medicines like Maca. Maca is safe for anyone to try at a daily dose of 3 grams. If you don’t find Maca effective after 6 weeks of use, you may need to add additional therapies, including other herbal supplements, diet and lifestyle therapy, counseling, and/or hormonal therapies using bioidentical hormones like vaginal DHEA suppositories or testosterone cream. Read more about additional natural treatment options for low libido in our next article here.

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Kathleen Jade, ND

Dr. Kathleen Jade is a naturopathic physician and served for many years as the Medical Director and Editor-In-Chief of Natural Health Advisory Institute. She has been licensed as a primary … Read More

View all posts by Kathleen Jade, ND

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