While I’m still smack dab in the middle of my childbearing years, menopause is the next season of my life and something I find myself thinking about from time to time.
You see, puberty is a past memory, and while I could have another baby if I chose, the truth of the matter is that I feel very fulfilled in this area of my life and, therefore, that door is closed. So at this point, I go from cycle to cycle, enjoying my current season of life—one that’s a bit beyond my young adult days but not quite to the days that define me as middle-aged. My days are filled with nurturing my boys, pursuing creative endeavors, and sharing my gifts with the world around me.
But the truth of the matter is that one day, menopause will be much closer than it is now. My body will no longer be able to produce a child, and as my herbal bestie, Caitlin, puts it—a sort of reverse puberty will begin.
What will this time in my life be like?
If I’m honest, it feels a bit scary to me, but I know that menopause isn’t what it once was—a time when women were on their own to deal with their changing body and emotions. Nowadays, women aren’t afraid to speak out about this season of life, and I’m so extremely grateful for that. Their bravery paves the way for women like me who will be joining them in this rite of passage sooner than later.
Yes, I said it. Menopause is a rite of passage—at least that’s how I’m looking at it. It’s a season—a beautiful one, that I’m going to choose to embrace when the time comes. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but neither was puberty or childbearing (nor childrearing, to be honest!).
There are many wonderful, vibrant, and wise women who have made it to the other side of menopause and are thriving. And just like puberty, periods, and pregnancy—navigating the waters of peri-, meno-, and post-menopause seems to be all about how you approach the newest change in your journey through womanhood.
You can learn more about how to navigate the waters of menopause with grace in my and Caitlin’s ebook, Naturally Healthy Hormones: A Guide to Seasonal Herbal Support for Women.
Naturally Healthy Hormones: A Guide to Seasonal Herbal Support for Women
This ebook is jam-packed with down-to-earth, practical information on navigating the waters of hormone health for women in the various stages of a woman’s life, whether it’s pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause.
In this ebook, you will learn:
- How herbs and lifestyle changes can help keep your hormones “balanced,”
- A basic overview of the endocrine system,
- 5 foundational steps that will set you up for naturally healthy hormones right from the beginning,
- Overview of the most common hormonal changes and symptoms experienced during pregnancy,
- Common postpartum hormonal changes and complaints,
- Hormone changes experienced in menopause and how to manage them with grace,
- Hormone resources for all stages in the hormone journey, and
- 30+ herbal recipes and countless lifestyle recommendations that can help support your body during every step of the journey of womanhood!
Maca: A Supportive Herb for Menopause
One thing this ebook focuses on is how we, women, can call upon herbs for support through each of these notable stages in our life.
Today, I’d like to share one of these herbs with you—maca.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) root is like a mini-superfoods blend! It is packed with protein, fatty acids, essential amino acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (zinc, magnesium, copper, potassium, calcium, and iron), and glucosinolates!
Beyond its nutritional value, it’s a true powerhouse when it comes to menopause because it helps to balance estrogen and improve female sexual health while also supporting adrenal health. It’s also full of antioxidants that may help fight against heart disease. While maca has the ability to support natural hormonal regulation and the entire endocrine system, it’s not a hormonal plant that directly increases or decreases hormonal levels in the body but, instead, an adaptogen (Brooks et al., 2008; Winston & Maimes, 2019). In fact, clinical trials have shown that high doses of maca improve sperm motility and quality and enhance libido, as well as reduce antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction post-menopause (Brooks et al., 2008; Winston & Maimes, 2019).
Maca has been used traditionally as a food for over 2,000 years, and there are no known side effects (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013) other than the gastrointestinal sensitivity experienced by some when using raw maca. If digestive upset occurs, you can opt for gelatinized maca which is heated to remove plant starches. Just know that the heating process may also destroy beneficial enzymes and other beneficial nutrients (Meissner et al., 2005). While maca hasn’t been shown to directly affect hormone levels in the body, caution should be used in cases of hormone-sensitive cancers until further research can clarify its hormonal effects, if any.
It’s best to use maca in dried, powdered form and eaten in food-like recipes. However, it can be taken in capsule or tablet form or in low-alcohol tinctures. Herbalist Brigette Mars says 5-20 grams of maca powder can be used in a day (Mars, 2010).
One of my favorite ways to use maca is in the following recipe. While maca can be used at any season of life, it really shines through the peri-, meno-, and post-menopausal season.
Menopause Support with Maca Moon Milk
Menopause Maca Moon Milk
- 2 cups of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp maca (Lepidium meyenii) root, powdered
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 tsp ginger (Zinigiber officinale) root, powdered
- 1 tsp cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark, powdered
- In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk and oil to a simmer.
- Remove from heat, and combine all the ingredients in the blender. Blend for 2 minutes, until nice and frothy.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy your maca moon milk!
Drink 1-2 cups before bed.
Journey Through Menopause With Grace
You can learn even more about natural hormone health in our ebook, Naturally Healthy Hormones: A Guide to Seasonal Herbal Support for Women!
Get detailed hormonal information alongside diet, lifestyle, and herbal tips for each of the major seasons of a woman’s life—menopause included. Not only that but if you want even more information to help you get naturally healthy hormones, we’re including 30+ herbal recipes (maca moon milk included), 45 other hormone resources, and a plethora of references that can offer you some extra knowledge and support as well!
Love and light,
Brooks, N.A., Wilcox, G., Walker, K.Z., Ashton, J.F., Cox, M.B., & Stojanovska, L. (2008). Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause, 15(6), 1157-1162. http://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953.
Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. (2013). American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Mars, B. (2010). The sexual herbal: Prescriptions for enhancing love and passion. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Meissner, H.O., Kapczynski, W., Mscisz, A., & Lutomski, J. (2005). Use of gelatinized maca (Lepidium Peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. International Journal of Biomedical Science, 1(1): 33–45. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614576/
Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2019). Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief (2nd ed.). Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.