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Health & Nutrition
Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

The Benefits of Taking Ashwagandha & Maca Root Together

Ashwagandha and maca, are used in traditional medicine to enhance vitality, manage stress, and boost sexual performance. Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb, offers benefits such as stress reduction, thyroid function support, and improved sleep and cognitive function. Maca, cultivated in the Andes, may enhance libido, support sperm health, and improve mood and energy levels. These plants can be taken together for potentially maximized benefits.



The use of both maca and ashwagandha has been growing in popularity over the last decade, with many people looking to enhance their vitality and overall well-being, fight stress, and boost their sexual performance. But did you know that both of these plants have been used in traditional medicine paradigms for thousands of years? 

Ashwagandha is by far one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, originating in India over 3,000 years ago, while maca was first grown in the high-altitude Andes Mountains of Peru, and has been used there as a food source and natural medicine for at least 2,000 years.

In traditional herbalism, both maca and ashwagandha are considered adaptogens, helping to provide the body with resiliency and vitality. 




Can you take maca root and ashwagandha together?


Many individuals struggling with stress, anxiety, or low libido may wonder if they can take ashwagandha and maca root together. The bottom line is yes, you can take ashwagandha and maca root together as they have no known interactions with one another. Combining them may even help to maximize the results you’re seeking.

Keep reading to learn more about both of these amazing plants and how to get the most out of each. 




What is ashwagandha?


  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an evergreen shrub native to India, Africa, and some parts of the Middle East. It's thought to have been used in Ayurvedic Medicine for around 3,000 years, recorded as offering solutions for fertility issues, low energy, anxiety, and more.

  • According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is considered a rejuvenating herb or “Rasayana” thanks to its nourishing and restorative effect, helping to invigorate the body when it is “worn down”. Ashwagandha has also been called Indian Ginseng. While it's not related to the ginseng family, it likely gets this name thanks to its energizing properties.

  • Ashwagandha contains potent bioactive constituents known as withanolides. Withanolides are the main bioactive phytochemicals within the plant, providing Ashwagandha with its amazing health benefits.




What are the benefits of ashwagandha?


1. It alleviates stress and anxiety


If you’re feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, and in desperate need of some inner peace, then ashwagandha is the herb for you!


Ashwagandha is thought to have a regulatory effect on the hypothalimic-pituitry-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the neuroendocrine system that largely controls your reaction to stress as well as many other physiological processes. 


Research shows that ashwagandha can help lower levels of the body’s main stress hormone known as cortisol and significantly reduce perceived symptoms of stress and anxiety! [2]



2. It supports low thyroid function


Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) refers to inadequate production and output of thyroid hormones. Low thyroid function has become an increasingly common problem, leading to symptoms like weight gain, dry skin, constipation, low mood, and more. 

The good news is that research shows ashwagandha may be an effective tool to help naturally boost thyroid function. 

For example, one study found that supplementing with 600mg of ashwagandha root extract daily for 8 weeks resulted in a positive influence on levels of TSH, T3 and T4 in those with subclinical hypothyroidism. [3]



3. It improves sleep duration and quality


Thanks to ashwagandha’s calming and relaxing effects; it has long been used as a sleep aid. “Somnifera” (found in ashwagandha’s Latin name) even means “sleep-inducing.”


A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that Ashwagandha supplementation significantly improved overall sleep quality. This was assessed using measurements like sleep onset latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep), total sleep time, wake time, total time in bed, and sleep efficiency. [4]



4. It may support sperm health and testosterone levels in men


Ashwagandha is the ultimate vitality-boosting herb for men, with research showing increased sperm health, enhanced sexual well-being, and significantly higher testosterone levels in men supplementing with this ancient adaptogen. [5] [6]



5. It supports cognitive function and focus 


Nothing is more frustrating than being unable to concentrate and feeling your productivity take a hit. You may notice that the more stressed you are, the harder it is to focus, which ironically may leave you feeling even more stressed!

Ashwagandha may provide a solution to this problem, with research showing that supplementation can boost cognitive performance while also alleviating stress. [7]




How long does ashwagandha take to start working?


Results will always differ from individual to individual, but most research studies show that people will start seeing significant shifts in their stress levels, anxiety or sleep within 8-12 weeks, however, many people often report seeing results earlier than this too. 


What is maca?


Maca root is a plant that grows on the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains. Maca has been cultivated as a vegetable for thousands of years and has traditionally been used for fertility, hormonal imbalance, and sexual health. It looks similar to the shape of a beet root and can come in various colors, such as yellow, black, and purple, but it is actually related to the family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. [8]

Maca has been called a “superfood” thanks to its high nutritional content, so much so that it was being used as a food source by the early Inca warriors in Peru. 

Maca contains the constituents macaene and macamide, which may promote sexual function and potentially alleviate mild erectile dysfunction, although research is still limited. [9]

Its other active phytochemicals include sterols such as campesterol, stigmasterol, and beta-sitosterol, significant amounts of minerals including iron, calcium, copper, and zinc, Vitamins B, C, and E, and amino acids. 

It’s not completely clear how maca works to enhance sexual desire since most human research has shown that treatment with maca does not significantly increase serum levels of testosterone in men. Thus, results related to libido and fertility in men seem to be independent of testosterone levels. [10]

Maca has also been called “Peruvian Gingseng” since, like ashwagandha, it has traditionally been prized for its restorative effect on low energy levels. 

What are the benefits of maca?


1. It may enhance libido


Some research suggests that taking a concentrated maca supplement may help to enhance sexual desire in women. 


For instance, one study found that taking 3,000 mg of maca root for 12 weeks significantly improved both sexual function and libido in women experiencing antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. [11]


Another randomized controlled trial found that after 12 weeks of supplementing with maca, male participants with erectile dysfunction experienced a significantly higher improvement in self-perceived sexual performance compared to placebo. [12]


2. It may support sperm health


Maca has traditionally been used to support fertility, and we now have some research to demonstrate why this may be the case. 


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that when men with low sperm motility and/or low sperm count took maca for 12 weeks, they saw a significant improvement in semen concentration compared to the placebo group. [13]



3. It may support mood and energy levels


There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that maca has energizing and mood enhancing properties but now there is some scientific research to help support this claim as well. 


For example, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 175 participants found that taking 3 grams of red or black maca per day for 12 weeks improved mood and energy scores compared to a placebo. [14]



How to use maca


Maca root is available in many forms, such as maca powder, capsules, or tablets, so it's up to you how you'd like to include it into your routine. 

It should be noted that one of the great things about maca is its sweet and malty flavor, making the powder a delicious addition to smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and other homemade snacks. 



Who should not take maca?


Maca is well tolerated and safe for most people, however, like many herbal remedies, safety has not yet been established in pregnancy and breastfeeding.



How to use maca and ashwagandha together 


If you'd like to take both maca and ashwagandha together, there are a few great options: 

  • You could either add maca powder to your daily diet and take an Ashwagandha supplement, or you could take a supplement that contains both.

  • Our bestselling Organic Ashwagandha capsules provide a potent dose of pure ashwagandha root to support a healthy stress response, balanced mood, and overall zest for life - with added organic black pepper extract for enhanced absorption.

  • Our AdaptoZen Superfood Greens contain both ashwagandha and maca powder alongside an array of green veggies, potent herbal extracts, digestive enzymes, and probiotics.

  • If you’re a man looking to support your overall well-being and sexual health, our Warrior Code Men’s Vitality supplement also contains ashwagandha and maca, alongside an array of other herbal extracts like Tongkat Ali, and nutrients like Vitamin D for peak performance. 


Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.

Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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