Tag Archives: menstrual cramps

Maca Smoothies for More Vibrant Days

On hot summer days, I tend to have more smoothies for breakfast. Though there are many ingredients I love, the maca I am adding seems to contribute to my sense of wellbeing. This is probably because maca is an adaptogen and a hormone balancer.

By adaptogen, I am referring to maca’s ability to reduce the negative impact stress has on our bodies. We might still experience the stress, but it is not as harmful on our overall health. A recent study showed that women who experienced more stress burned fewer calories after eating a high fat meal compared to the women with fewer stressors. The study showed that the higher stress levels correlated with higher insulin levels, which can contribute to belly fat. The study didn’t address adaptogens like maca, but in theory, these types of herbs might improve insulin levels and therefore help our metabolism. I also find that adaptogens give me more stamina to get through long days.

Maca powder

Maca powder

The other popular benefit of maca is as a hormone balancer for both women and men. It is maybe most widely known as a libido enhancer. It isn’t going to necessarily help everyone since not all libido issues are related hormones, but for those cases, it can be a great choice. Consuming maca might also help conditions like prostate issues, PMS, hot flashes, acne, and even some types of depression.

Because maca is traditionally used in fairly large quantities, it is a perfect item to add to a smoothie or other food. I usually put 1-2 teaspoon in each smoothie. When I added 3 teaspoons I noticed a bit of a spicy radish-like taste that I didn’t like.

Here is my current smoothie recipe:

1 scoop Sunwarrior Chocolate Warrior Blend or other protein powder

1-2 tsp Barley grass or other greens powder

1-2 Maca powder

2 Tbs Almond butter or other nut butter or nuts

1 tsp Cacoa powder

1-2 Tbs ground Flaxseeds and or chia seeds

1 Tbs Coconut oil

1 to 1 ½ cups water

Blend in a blender until smooth with any of these other ingredients I might want that day:

Fresh or frozen fruits or veggies like avocado, baby greens, or sprouts

Coconut water to replace some of the water

¼ tsp Turmeric with a pinch of black pepper

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

½ -1 tsp of the turmeric paste I made for my Bulletproof Turmeric #2 recipe

You can also empty the contents of supplement capsules into the smoothie such as probiotics, amino acids, and herbal supplements. Basically any that doesn’t make the smoothie taste strange.

Make it something delicious that you love to drink and enjoy some vibrant days this summer.

Motherwort for Menopause and More

As I have said before about menopause, no every herbs works equally well for every woman. We have to look at the unique attributes of each herb and compare them to the experience of each menopausal woman. The herb I wanted to highlight today is motherwort. As the name implies this is a useful plant for mothers. Particularly, it is used for overworked mother who could use some mothering themselves. Among its other attributes, motherwort is calming and soothing to the nerves. It can help with insomnia due to anxiety, which I frequently see in mothers and other patients. Motherwort can also be useful as part of a protocol for hot flashes, but it is more likely to help those where anxiety and insomnia are also part of the picture.


As we begin to go through menopausal changes, our menstrual cycle among other things can go haywire. Premenstrual symptoms that we haven’t had since our teenage years can return or completely new symptoms can arise. Motherwort can be useful here too. Motherwort can help relieve premenstrual tension and discomfort. Most menstrual cramps are partially due to inadequate circulation in the pelvis. Motherwort may help calm menstrual pain by both reducing spasms in the uterus and improving blood flow to the pelvis. Motherwort might work best for cramps that are accompanied by a scant menstrual flow and again where anxiety or stress is part of the picture. Motherwort needs to be used for several months for the best benefit. But please don’t let the name motherwort mislead you into thinking this is an herb for pregnant women. It is not recommended during pregnancy since it can cause uterine contractions.

A Novel Approach to Reproductive Complaints

One of the only drawbacks of practicing medicine and blogging is that these are mostly sedentary activities. We all know about the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle, which can contribute to weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis, and insomnia, just to name a few. It is less commonly known that being sedentary can contribute to reproductive complaints. Lack of exercise can contribute to menstrual cramps, especially those that include stabbing pains. Exercise can also help prevent prostate issues. The common factor between these two issues is circulation. When we walk a lot, we have good blood flow through the pelvis. When we spend our days sitting still, there can be inadequate blood flow to the pelvis. Then the reproductive organs don’t get the nutrients that they need, and waste products are removed efficiently. With these impediments, our organs cannot function properly and can cause us short-term or long-term distress.

In addition to keeping out bodies moving, we can help prevent and ease these reproductive complaints by using herbs that improve circulation. There are two main categories of herbs for circulation: those that dilate blood vessels and those that cause movement of lymphatic fluids. This second category of herbs stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for helping carry waste away from our cells. If the lymphatic system isn’t working well, fluid can build up in an area and contribute to discomfort. Examples of lymphatic herbs are burdock, calendula, red root, and ocotillo. Any of these herbs can be a valuable addition to a treatment plan for either prostate issues or menstrual discomfort. Black cohosh is an herb that is traditionally used for menstrual cramps as well as a wide array of menopausal complaints. It is also as useful for prostate issues especially if there is dull achy pain in the pelvis. Black cohosh can ease these pelvic complaints because it improves circulation by dilating blood vessels. Black cohosh also helps reduce muscle spasms further enhancing its usefulness in this area.

Black Cohosh