A natural treatment based in an ancient root that guarantee no side effects
"Natural" pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy [HRT].
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Some doctors feel that maca may be able to serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy [HRT]. Can you explain how it works in that way?
Dr. Viana Muller: perhaps it is best understood put in the context of other "natural alternatives" to the pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy, such as "Premarin. Premarin and Provera", the two most widely prescribed hormone replacement therapies in America are respectively synthetic estrogen, made from pregnant horses' urine and synthetic progesterone, manufactured in the factory and called 'progestin.' "Both of these synthetic substances" will partially "hook up" like a key in a lock with the estrogen and progesterone receptors in a woman's body but they are actually a very poor fit.
The human body can only use two out of the eight horse estrogens in Premarin and the other six estrogens just circulate in her blood stream. The progestin is such a poor fit it actually greatly increases a woman's chance of getting breast cancer, and the longer she uses it, the higher her risk of breast cancer. The estrogen receptors, by the way, are found all over the body, not just in the ovary, the uterus, and the breasts, and the vagina, but also in the brain, the heart, the bladder, in fact, in every organ, and in fact, in all human tissue both in men as well as women. Progesterone receptors and testosterone receptors are found in fewer tissues, both in women and men. The ratios of all of these hormones are different in women and men.
"Natural" pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy"is also manufactured in the pharmaceutical laboratory but in a different way. The 'natural' estradiol is synthetically produced Estradiol Beta 17. It does not start out as horse urine but is manufactured from scratch with the molecules produced synthetically being a much better match for the real thing than the horse estrogen. The 'natural' progesterone is derived from a plant, the wild Mexican yam, which in its natural state does not have any progesterone in it.
Once it is processed in a laboratory and one of its chemical compounds extracted and transformed by laboratory processes, it ends up with a chemical structure very similar to human progesterone. This type of 'natural progesterone' is not harmful and in fact has been shown to have beneficial effects. But of course, taking natural HRT still involves taking hormones, and it has been shown that once you begin to regularly take a certain hormone your body will stop producing that hormone since it is already provided from the outside. The human ovaries, if HRT is not given, will produce some estrogen (in the forms of both estradiol and estriol) and progesterone throughout a woman's life, although in reduced quantities after menopause.
The adrenal glands, which in part function as a back-up system for the ovaries, also produce estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, the same hormones produced by the ovaries, as well as "DHEA" and cortisol. So, once a woman has taken HRT for several years, if she annouces to her gynecologist--as many women do--that she wants to stop taking HRT, the doctor panics and tells her that she MUST take the hormones for the rest of her life, because he knows that her ovaries will be atrophied and unable to produce its own estrogen--a situation which really puts her bones at greater risk for osteoporosis. Most women are unaware of this when they begin to take HRT or they would never have agreed to go on it.
A more 'natural' way of dealing with menopausal symptoms such as "hot flashes" is using maca roots, or soy products which contain genistein, a type of phytoestrogen. Although they may help somewhat with hot flashes and mood swings, they have absolutely no effect on vaginal dryness or rate of bone resorption (loss of calcium from the bones), bladder function, heart function, etc. And many women find these types of menopause formulas too weak to have much effect even on hot flashes or depression. (Note from Mary Shomon: A reason to be careful with soy products: overconsumption of soy products may also trigger or worsen auto immune thyroid problems for thyroid patients.)
The most natural
way of dealing with menopausal symptoms is the use of Organic
Maca root. (The "MACA extract" produced with the
help of chemical fertilizers is far inferior to the maca roots grown
on soil which has rested for five years.)
Maca supplement Effects on Menstrual Periods
Mary Shomon: One of the symptoms that women with hypothyroidism suffer from is more frequent menstrual periods, and typically, they are heavier, and more painful. Since becoming hypothyroid, I typically get my period anywhere from every 21-25 days, and it's extremely heavy and painful. I've tried maca, and was actually very surprised when after taking maca for a month, my period came after 28 days, and was normal and lighter. Can you explain a bit more about maca's role in menstrual function.
Dr. Viana Muller: These same effects which you describe for the impact of hypothyroidism on the menstrual cycle are also found in women who have fibroid tumors. In both cases, in most women, maca helps to normalize the menstrual cycle, both in terms of number of days in a cycle, the amount of blood flow, and the great reduction of pain and PMS. I do not understand the intricacies of how this happens, nor do I think that researchers fully understand even to this day exactly what all of the very complex hormonal interactions are involving the ovaries, the pancreas, the adrenals, and the thyroid. It appears, however, that each of these glands has a major impact on the functioning of the other. And so any kind of intervention, such as taking hormones, will always leave a lot to be desired because it will not positively impact the functioning of all of the endocrine glands which do a very delicate dance together.
What we have found is that when women start taking "maca roots" for their PMS or their hot flashes, vaginal dryness or mood swings, they begin to report very positive collateral effects on their energy levels (adrenal function and thyroid function), a cessation of sugar cravings and reduced fluctuation in blood sugar levels (they don't get light headed or irritable so easily), an improvement in their sleep pattern (perhaps pineal gland function), as well as cessation of heart palpitations (estrogen receptors in heart are filled) and improvement in bladder function (estrogen receptors in bladder are filled). These effects have not been replicated when women were taking 'natural hormone replacement therapy' with 'natural estrogen' and 'natural progesterone.' I spoke with one woman and one man who had been taking "DHEA" for years because of her very poor adrenal function, yet the effects of their taking maca were far more powerful than taking "DHEA". I have spoken with a number of women who have suffered from uterine fibroids for years who have taken progesterone cream or oral micronized progesterone for this condition which they believed had helped some but they still had the fibroids. Once they started on organic maca root powder or capsules the fibroids dissolved in two or three months.
So although we may not understand exactly how all of these effects take place, clearly there is an interaction among the different endocrine glands which produce the positive and in many cases dramatic effects.
"Maca extract" Effects on Men please click here to learn more about maca
Mary Shomon: Can "maca roots" be helpful to men, and in particular, their hormonal/endocrine function?
Dr. Viana Muller: As men age, like women, their output of precursor hormones from the hypothalamus and pituitary slows down, and they go through something which has been called 'andropause.' This process is considered more gradual than is menopause in women, taking about ten years of gradually declining hormone levels and will eventually leave a man unable to function sexually or with greatly impaired sexual functioning (i.e. premature ejaculation, infrequent and weak erections, loss of sexual desire). Some men start to experience these changes in the mid to late 40's and some men don't experience this type of change until they are 70. [However the more we know about women, the more we are learning that the hormonal changes in women are also very gradual and should not be measured primarily by the cessation of menses (menopause), which in any case is frequently an on again off again process. ] In a recent study published in the professional journal, Urology, a series of rat studies involving feeding some groups of rats maca and others a normal diet (the control groups), the groups of rats getting the maca had many more 'penile intromissions' (erections) than the control groups and in the groups of rats suffering from erectile dysfunction who were fed maca, a much quicker erection response was noticed as compared with the control groups. This experiment confirmed what most men taking maca have noticed, more frequent erections, stronger erections which lasted longer, and more sexual desire.
Men need to be taking a daily zinc supplement since the prostate needs a lot of zinc to function adequately. And maca will work better for them if they have enough zinc. If they don't the man's body will tend to convert the progesterone it makes into estrogen. Then even though a man's body is making adequate testosterone, since so much is being converted by his body into estrogen, he will put on weight, tend to develop breasts, and will have low erectile function. A word of caution, about the dosage of maca roots . In men it is easy to 'overdo it" --to take too much maca root, for too long, and then the opposite effect will set in--a loss of libido with increased fatigue.
South American Herbs to Combat Viral Syndromes
Mary Shomon: There's some new research that is focusing on the possibility that thyroid disease may be stemming from viral syndromes. At the same time, other research is also discussing how the cold-like virus -- known as an adenovirus -- may play a role in obesity and difficulty losing weight. How do South American medicinal herbs play a role in combating persistent viruses?
Dr. Viana Muller: "Maca roots", can be very helpful in reducing the fluctuations of insulin levels and therefore help reduce eating binges and overindulgence in sweets. It actually helps reduce the desire for sweets, which is the most important thing. That's because maca helps to balance all of the endocrine glands, including the pancreas. With improved pancreatic function, hypoglycemia is reduced or virtually eliminated, enabling people who have suffered from this condition to go for much longer time between meals without feeling hungry, much less than "starving" feeling. People with fluctuating insulin levels are tend to feel faint more easily and highly emotional as well as fatigued when their blood sugar level drops. All of these problems vanish for many people taking maca. I've had women call me to report that they had lost weight without particularly trying to after taking organic maca root capsules for a couple of months.
Dr. Viana Muller: It is interesting to hear you say this, because it is now believed that in some cases diabetes may also be the result of a viral syndrome. And of course, it has recently been demonstrated that about 50% of all heart disease is caused by clamydia bacterial infection--or at least there is a correlation with the presence of large clusters of chlamydia bacteria in the arterial walls.
Of course, we know that antibiotics only kill bacteria; they have no effect whatsoever on viruses, and one of the great 'holes' in Western medicine has been the lack of good anti-viral medications--whether the virus be of the common cold, the 'flu,' the hepatitis virus, or the polio virus -- to name just a few. Practically, the only effective response has been the development of vaccines--which have proved to be dangerous in some cases. The only absolutely safe vaccines involve the use of dead viruses given homeopathically over a period of several weeks, but that's another topic.
So you can imagine my surprise when I came across two different South American herbs in my investigation which have highly effective anti-viral properties. One is the 'break-stone' herb (in Spanish, chanca piedra) whose botanical name is Phyllanthus niruri. This is a rainforest plant whose leaves, stems and roots, are made into a tea by native people to combat Hepatitis B. It is highly effective in getting rid of jaundice and normalizing liver enzyme levels and has been shown experimentally in published research to have anti-viral properties. Japanese researchers have also demonstrated that it has some effectiveness against the HIV virus. Chanca piedra also helps detoxify the liver, as well as eliminate gall stones and kidney stones. It is an alternative to the olive oil-lemon juice flush which is rather a drastic measure which can be incapacitating to some people. Others never work up the courage to do it. Three cups a day of chanca piedra (break-stone) tea on an empty stomach for three weeks is usually very effective as a liver flush and will take out any gall stones or kidney gravel (smaller than stones) as well. At the same time, it will clean up the intestines. It truly is one of the most restorative herbs to come out of the rainforest.
Since it is improving lipid (fat) metabolism, it is not surprising to learn that in some cases it has been shown to be helpful in losing weight. Whether this improvement in lipid digestion involves reducing the adenoviral load is not known at this time.
Another rainforest herb, actually a fruit, which has powerful anti-viral properties is camu-camu. Camu-camu's main 'claim to fame' is its high vitamin C content, 8-10% by weight once it has been spray dried. Yet although there is no published research demonstrating its anti-viral effects, it has proven time and again to be very effective in getting rid of herpes outbreaks faster than the pharmaceutical drug Acyclovir or the use of L lysine. This goes for cold sores (herpes simplex), as well as genital herpes, herpes zoster (shingles) and even the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a type of herpes virus. It can be taken either as prevention against future outbreaks (a very small daily dose) or in frequent small doses over one to three days for most other types of herpes. Blisters usually disappear in a day or two. In the case of the Epstein-Barr virus, noticeable improvement might come in a couple of weeks.
Mary Shomon: The main concern of people with hypothyroidism seems to be problems losing weight. Some of the research suggests that this difficulty is due to fluctuating blood sugar and insulin levels. In some people, it may also be due to intestinal absorption problems and inability to get proper nourishment - and thyroid medicine absorption - due to what's known as "leaky gut" syndrome. In other cases, it's a slowdown of the overall metabolism that reduces caloric requirements, and makes it more difficult to lose and easier to gain weight. Whatever the mechanism, the problems with weight very commonly persist after what's considered sufficient treatment by conventional medicine. Are there ways that South American herbs address these concerns?
There are two herbs when alternated on a weekly basis over a period of several months that can be helpful with weight loss. One is chanca piedra and the other is cat's claw tea. Chanca piedra, as we have seen, helps with lipid digestion, makes that more efficient, which means that the gall bladder and the liver are better able to process the fats taken in to the body and more of the calories in these fats will be available for energy. It is probably increasing bile flow, although I don't know of any specific studies that confirm this. A sluggish thyroid and a sluggish liver are both conditions that would tend to make the body store food more as fat rather than use it for energy. But in addition, chanca piedra is reputed to help normalize blood sugar levels. So in some way it appears to be helping the pancreas function better. Cat's Claw tea helps clean out pathogens from the intestines and therefore helps to clean the blood. It aids with digestion, including of dairy products, is useful in dealing with diverticulitis, will clear up nausea, helps to kill candida in the gut, and helps with establishing the goal of multiple bowel movements every day.
This regimen--alternating chanca piedra tea with cat's claw tea on a weekly basis, was successful in helping a 300 pound wheelchair bound man lose 30 pounds in three months, where all else had failed.
Maca extract For Women:
A few of problems
related to health which women suffer...
In South America there is an herb that women have used for thousands of years to maintain their stamina, prevent fatigue, and reduce the effects of stress on their body. The herb is called Maca, (Lepidium Meyenil or peruvianum Chacon).
In Peru, women begin using Maca roots at age 3 to maintain fertility and hormonal health. They recognized long ago that their productive, but stressful lifestyle could be debilitating unless they used plants as medicine. These South American women remain fertile and productive well into late life. They are strong and have immense stamina. They do not experience menopause with all it's uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and memory problems
An herb such as Maca roots allows a woman to handle more of life without the same degree of stress taxing her endocrine system. The best source of progesterone and estrogen is your own body. For the most part, nothing could be more natural, carry no risk of side effects, and be more user-friendly than your own hormones. This is one more of the million reasons why you should replenish yourself, and use safe, truly natural products (like Maca) that will enhance your own ability to produce natural hormones.
Other benefits include increased energy, enhanced mental clarity, help with female hormonal imbalances associated with PMS and menopause and treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Proper sexual performance for men and women is one of the hallmarks of a full and enriching lifestyle. Unfortunately, various factors, including the complexities of modern life, stress, hormonal changes, medical conditions, medication usage and aging, all lead to reduced sex drive and poor sexual performance. These problems affect both men and women. While some medications have been touted as the answer to male impotency, there are many negatives associated with its use, the most important of which are the potential for serious side effects. Moreover, for the most part, these medications have been ineffective in treating sexual dysfunction in women.
Maca extract has
exploded on the world scene due to its legendary effects on sexual potency
and its aphrodisiac qualities. Maca, well known in ancient times for
enhancing sexual desire, increasing libido, vitality, stamina and sexual
performance. Today, the modern world enjoys the legendary benefits of
Maca. Other benefits include increased energy, enhanced mental clarity,
help with female hormonal imbalances associated with PMS and menopause
and treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Just like fine wine and rich Columbian coffee, the most potent herbal sexual stimulants are made from the highest-quality herbs with patient, expert processing methods.
It is important to remember that maca extract does not itself contain any hormones, but its action on the body jogs the pituitary into producing the precursor hormones which ultimately end up raising oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels, as well as helping to balance the adrenal glands, the thyroid and the pancreas. But this occurs naturally, not with time-bomb drugs which throw the entire body into a dangerous state of confusion.
Effects of Peruvian Maca root on Hormonal Function. By Alex Bart M.D.
today are about oestrogen replacement therapy, increasing male potency,
or improving other hormonal functions, the solutions mentioned are generally
drugs currently on the market. Letely, however, we’ve been hearing marvellous
reports about a hearty plant root cultivated in the Andes of Peru. Known
as ‘maca’, this ancient nutritional source and efficacious endocrine
system remedy is being dispensed by health professionals as a safe and
natural substitute for drugs.
and Vaginal Dryness Avoided One young West Coast woman susan F, has
an interesting experience to tell. After giving birth to two children,
the 31-year old mother decided to use contraceptive pills for the first
time. Since a possible side effect of the method she chose was not having
a period, Susan didn’t think anything of its non-occurence until six
months later when she also began experiencing mood swings, hot flashes
and dry skin. Her visit to an endocrinologist revealed that the woman’s
hormones were at "menopause levels". Then Susan’s mother told
her that early menopause runs in the family. Her grandmother, her mother,
and her older sister all had early menopause. It had been a year since
her last period and by chance her husband brought home some Maca for
himself. He told his wife to try it too, and she did. Last June Susan
F experienced resumption of menstruation once again. Her periods have
been regular ever since taking the maca. Susan F also comments that
her skin is now nice and moist, the way it used to be.
Results for a Nurse-Practitioner
and Her Patients From her White Plains, New York clinic, nurse-practitioner
Stephanie Sulger-Smith, RN, MS, says that she read an article about
postmenopausal health which discussed Maca. At her clinic she offers
nutritional counselling for a variety of conditions. "I had been
prescribing black cohosh, dong quai, oil of evening primrose, vitamin
E and other natural remedies to women with perimenopausal symptoms.
But when I began taking these remedies to help with my own hot flashes
amd other symptoms of approaching menopause, I didn’t get the relief
I needed. So I acquired a supply of Maca powder and took it as advised.
Almost immediately, my hot flashes disappeared and my energy level went
up. My response to maca was surprising to my gynecologist, who insisted
that I undergo a series of laboratory studies, including estrogen levels,
uterine monograms and others. They all turned out normal", says
had a hot flash since the beginning of November 1997, and I feel fabulous!
When I told my patients about "Maca roots", they tried it
and found freedom from their perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.
One patient who has been taking maca for over a year had a series of
bone density studies done that showed increased density in the spine,"
says nurse Sulger-Smith. "Other case histories exhibit similar
positive results from taking maca. In fact, most of the women taking
the root powder report that they feel less fatigue, greater energy,
are less susceptible to stress, and do not experience hot flashes or
Although the great
majority of menopausal and post- menopause, women could benefit from
"maca extract". First of all, there are the women
whose bodies are so well balanced through a combination of good nutrition,
fitness, good genes and lifestyle that they are doing just great without
adding any maca. Menopause should not be treated as an illness whereby
all women need maca therapy. Each woman is a different biochemical entity
and will react in a different way to this natural life event. Then there
is a whole group of women who have been on hormone replacement therapy
for five, ten or 20 years. To a gerater or lesser extent their ovaries
have atrophied from receiving estrogen and other hormones supplied to
them from outside for a long period of time. Women with a history of
breast cancer or other type of hormone-related cancer also fall in this
* Maca for women
- an appropriate alternative
Women arrive at
the experience of menopause in a state of confusion, bewilderment, and
fear. Is menopause a disease? Are hot flashes, dizziness, forgetfulness
and palpitations normal during the menopausal change? And when does
perimenopause stop and menopause begin? And what about
Probably the question most frequently asked about menopause is, "Is menopause a disease or a normal event?" While some magazines and talk shows would have you believe that menopause with all its uncomfortable symptoms is a natural process of aging, other have built entire businesses on finding a cure for the dreaded state of "life change".
For centuries, women dealt with menopause in a variety of ways. Some used folk or home remedies to deal with annoying symptoms - such as hot flashes, sleeplessness and mood swings - that menopause sometimes brings. Others visited shamans, witch doctors or spiritualists to help conquer their discomfort. Today women often visit physicians who frequently prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has spawned so much controversy. Many of these women, about 50%, never fill these prescriptions and either seek an alternative to HRT or go it alone and accept the risks and discomforts of menopausal changes without help.
The question remains, Is menopause a disease? A normal part of life? Something to be dreaded? Do women around the world suffer from the harsh symptoms and worries associated with menopause?
Technically speaking menopause is a medical term that means the normal and complete cessation of the menstrual cycle, including both ovulation (the release of an unfertilized egg from the ovaries) and menstrual periods. So, with this in mind one can see that menopause refers to a woman's very last menstrual period. A woman is said to be "in menopause" when she has not had a period for one year or more.
Menopause usually takes place between the ages of 45 and 55, although some women experience their last periods in their 60's and in some cases in their 30's.
cycles and irregular periods are common flags of the time preceding
menopause This time is now commonly referred to as perimenopause and
can last for years.
It is unfortunate
that this picture of menopause has become one that many women think
they must accept. More than 40 million women are menopausal now
in America. Within the next 25 years this number is expected to increase
to 60 million. At the turn of the 19th century most women did not live
past menopause. Public health interventions and applied medical research
have extended women's lives, on average, by 30 years in the last century
but for many menopausa women this longer life has only meant more years
of poor health and disability. T
Note: The real andean Maca is obtained only from the virgin andean higlands of Peru the real andean Maca is a 100% natural product and our company is working hard to get the Peruvian Organic Product International Certify
!! Warning !: Do not use the MACA extractif you are pregnat or suffer from Hypertension!!
Premarin. Premarin and Provera are registered trade marks
Copyright © 2002 Peruherbals Inc
The information presented is for information purposes only. It is based
on scientific studies or traditional usage. Consult a health care professional
before using supplements or making any changes in prescribed medications.
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been
evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.