Maca is a natural supplement sold in various forms and is used by people for a number of health-related reasons. Some people use maca for hair, claiming that it gives their hair healthy bounce and shine. Others maintain that maca actually retards facial and bodily hair growth, especially in women.
Native to Peru, maca is an edible root vegetable that has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Otherwise known as lepidium meyenii, the root is often organically grown and sold in various forms, including powder, capsules, and liquid. Due to the fact that maca contains a number of minerals, including calcium, iron, and zinc, as well as a host of amino acids, it’s been touted as a superfood, and its users claim varying health benefits. People primarily consume maca to treat hormonal imbalances, increase libido, and boost immunity.
Some maca enthusiasts also support the use of maca for hair. Users claim that the extract or powder from the root vegetable, when applied directly to the head, will restore body and resilience to lackluster hair. In light of this belief, some retailers sell shampoo and conditioner that contain maca extract, alleging that the beneficial phytochemicals of the plant will greatly improve hair quality.
People sometimes make a paste from maca powder and apply it directly to the scalp, hoping to stimulate hair growth. While a person’s hair might appear healthier and more lustrous than normal after the application, there is no real evidence that maca for hair encourages growth. To the contrary, some people claim that maca, when taken orally over a period of time, actually slows hair growth. This is particularly true for women, some of whom have noted a slowing of facial and bodily hair growth as a side effect of taking maca for other reasons. This phenomenon could be related to the alleged effects of the nutrients in maca root on a person’s hormones.
Some individuals have tried applying maca to their heads to treat dry scalp and similar conditions. Again, though, the results have varied, with certain individuals noticing a drastic improvement, while others noticed no change at all. For the most part, there is little quantifiable evidence regarding the benefits or effects of maca for hair. Still, people often react differently to supplements, so while some people might not consider maca to be helpful, others will consider it quite beneficial.
There are no clinical indications of adverse side effects from using maca for hair or otherwise, but as with any food-based supplement, there is always a risk of allergic reaction. Further, those who are pregnant or nursing should not use any supplements, including maca, unless advised by a doctor. It is always wise for an individual to check with a health care provider before starting any type of vitamin or herbal regime, especially if the supplement is used to treat medical conditions.
How To Use Maca Powder for Hair Growth
Maca powder has many health benefits that may encourage thicker hair. While there is no concrete evidence that maca powder grows your hair, it can help its appearance and potentially reduce hair loss. Maca can balance your hormones, which may assist with hair issues.
There are different ways you can use maca powder to help with your hair, like applying topically or adding it to foods. Maca contains dozens of minerals and amino acids, which is why it is beneficial for your health.
It can boost the body's production of antioxidants and can also stimulate the scalp when applied topically. Scalp stimulation increases the number of nutrients that reach the hair follicles, which allows them to get nourishment. There is also the belief that maca can help strengthen hair and reduce breakage and fallout. Maca is high in saponin, which assists with scalp cleansing. It ensures your hair follicles stay unclogged and clean, giving your hair an optimal environment to grow.
To use it for hair growth, try mixing it up into a hair mask or add it to a smoothie. Popular smoothie recipes include ingredients like:
You can be creative and adjust your smoothie to your liking. If you want to apply it topically, try mixing a mask with avocado and maca powder. You can add other vegetables and fruit to the mixture to customize it to your hair needs. There are also premade hair masks available if you do not feel like making one. Maca is a popular ingredient available in many hair and skin products. Many maca supplements you find in a store may have added ingredients to encourage hair health.
You can also try making a hair tonic. Use ingredients like aloe vera and vegetable glycerin along with maca powder. It may help with moisturizing and strengthening your hair. If you are short on time, you can also use maca powder pills and supplement your maca intake this way.
How To Use Maca Powder
There are many ways you can use maca powder. Maca can help balance your hormones and give you more energy, which is why it's a popular supplement. You can easily add maca to foods, drinks, smoothies, and hair masks. Depending on your needs, you can also opt for another form. Try one teaspoon and work up to one tablespoon when first using it. Popular ways to use maca are in lattes, oats, and juices.
While you can use it in hot drinks, it is best to use it in raw foods and cold beverages to get all the nutritional value. Try:
- Protein balls
- Overnight oats
- Iced coffees
- Vegetable and fruit juices
Maca has a nutty, earthy, caramel taste that pairs well with cinnamon and chocolate flavors. Sweet drinks and foods may enhance the flavor more than savory items.
There is no exact dosage to take, though many healthcare practitioners and dieticians suggest 1.5 to 3 grams a day. When choosing your maca, ensure that you use a high-quality brand or source. It is easy to incorporate it into your diet, so determine what foods and drinks you would like to try with maca.
Maca Powder Side Effects
While maca can be good for your health, you should be aware of potential side effects. In general, maca is considered safe and is not toxic. However, some people may be sensitive to the powder and experience side effects like:
- Stomach upset- While it isn't common, stomach upset can occur. You may also experience indigestion and heartburn. If you have continued issues, try skipping maca altogether and consider a different superfood supplement.
- Sleeplessness- Take it earlier in the day to avoid sleepless nights. Maca gives you energy, which is why it may be better to take it during the day or in the morning.
- Jitters- If you have just started taking maca powder and your body is unfamiliar with it, you may have jitters. It can also happen if you take too much. Try starting with a small dose and gradually increase your intake to avoid jitters.
- Thyroid issues- Maca may irritate your thyroid. If you have problems with your thyroid, you may want to consult with a dietician or consider skipping it.
However, as mentioned, maca is considered safe, and most people do not have side effects or negative experiences. However, if you have questions or issues, you should consult your healthcare provider.