Don’t Worry, Be Maca
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on December 5, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
I tend to think of myself as a super-happy go lucky gal. Even my self-perspective is optimistic! I find myself singing in the middle of my days, I skip down the street, I laugh all the way home. I genuinely love and enjoy my life.
And I am human.
I am not immune to occasional fits of the blues, or the grey, or even – gasp – sometimes the blacks. These cooler periods don’t last long, but they do appear now and again. Since I don’t have a forecaster for my emotional weather channel, I can’t plan a vacation for when the mood swing approaches. Instead I have a tool kit filled with management tools, which get me through. Personal philosophy aside, though, I have a few other universal tricks: love, sex, chocolate, and maca!
According to Mental Health America, clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in America. It affects up to 19 million people! Depression is not an illness to be taken lightly – it can cause sufferers to lose pleasure from daily life, cause and complicate other medical conditions, and even lead to death. All people are susceptible at any age – including tiny children!
Symptoms can include:
– sad, anxious, sense of impending doom, self-worthless feeling
– change in sleeping patterns, inability or over-ability to sleep
– change in eating habits
– change in sexual habits
– loss of interest in normal activities
– chronic pain, digestive disorders
– thoughts of suicide or death
Apparently, approximately 80% of all depressive cases can be treated and cured. Most common prescriptions include anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy. I suggest chocolate-covered maca and some love self-talk!
Maca is a plant root, with origins high in the Andes mountains. It has been used for centuries since the Inca, mostly to increase energy, sex drive and stamina (its effects have been compared to Viagra!). Unlike many stimulants, though, it has no caffeine and therefore no buzz. It’s nutritional content has been found to stimulate adrenal function, regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary gland, and balance female and male hormones. Hence, it has a unique ability to decrease depression. If you can’t find a chocolate-covered version, a capsule formula will do!
The very fact that it is called a “mental illness” encourages me to believe that our minds are such powerful instruments – we CAN change our minds and help treat ailments. Again: love yourself!
A cute little inspirational video never hurt anyone, either:
(Click here if you can’t see it)
In Happiness, Sage
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan