Why I Stopped Taking Maca and Drinking Yerba Mate and Tulsi Tea

Why I stopped taking Maca and drinking Yerba Mate and Tulsi

I’ve been a fan of maca and tulsi for their hormone balancing, immune boosting properties. But just because a herb or food item is a natural, generally helpful supplement doesn’t mean that everyone’s body will respond the same way to it.

I came the conclusion that I should only take maca or tulsi if I was working with a qualified herbalist as the way my body responded to both of them was different than many other people’s experiences. This isn’t to say that I think that maca and tulsi aren’t excellent supplements to take, as I think they can be. Rather, we should just always be aware that there isn’t a one-fit rule for all, and that getting professional advice on using certain herbs may be needed for some of us. Since I’ve been getting a lot of emails about maca lately in particular, I thought it could be helpful to share my experience.

I also started drinking yerba mate tea as an alternative to coffee and found that I enjoyed its flavor. But I found that mate didn’t work well for me either.

This does NOT mean that they are bad to take, as all have been shown to have significant health benefits and were all traditionally used in different cultures.

However, I share my little story to show that 1) Not everyone responds the same way to all foods and we should listen to our bodies, and 2) There can be an adjustment period to adaptogenic foods/herbs and 3) Some of us may need to work with a skilled herbalist/Naturopath when using these foods.

My results aren’t typical, but I share them in the hopes that they help other “non-typical” responders. 

First, a quick overview of items:

Maca looks like a root, but is in the cruciferous family. It can grow in even the harshest conditions in Peru and has been used for thousands of years for energy, fertility, endurance, sexual drive, and nutrition. It has been the subject of numerous studies showing benefits for those dealing with low sex drives. It is considered an adaptogen herb, that is a herb that helps balance the body’s function (including hormonal balance).

Tulsi is a herb that is used as a kind of all-purpose traditional immune booster in India. It is also considered an adaptogen herb helping balance out the body.

Yerba mate is a type of tea drunk extensively in South America. It is made from the leaves of a plant in the Holly family, and is caffeine rich. Like tea from the tea plant, there is some evidence that it could be a health promoting drink.

My experience

My experience with maca was that eventually it led to me having heavy bleeding in the middle of my cycle (which meant, one week I’d have a period, then I’d have a week break, and then I’d have another “period” start again for another week). It also made me feel (all the time) bloated, retain a lot of water, and other symptoms that one would typically experience right before a period. Ironically, these “all the time” symptoms I was experiencing were actually worse than any pre-cycle symptoms I normally I had.

Tulsi caused the same mid-monthly bleeding, but without all of the other symptoms.

This certainly proved to me that maca has the power to change things hormonally for me. When reading up on maca and tulsi, I did find that maca is generally considered pro-fertility, but that tulsi may have an anti-fertility effect. I also read that the types of changes I was experiencing could simply be an uncomfortable part of the hormonal balancing effects. Often advice is given to keep it up for three months before decided whether a supplement was helpful or not. Because my symptoms were so severe, that was not an option for me.

I think that my symptoms were fairly unusual, though apparently not unknown. I noticed a comment on this helpful article on maca, sharing even more severe reaction to maca (and another fertility boosting herb, vitex).

“I was diagnosed as being estrogen dominant in 2008 while ttc with the help of an RE (reproductive endocrinologist). This year (2014), I ttc on my own, and decided to give vitex a try to help with my somewhat irregular periods..as it took too long between periods (approx 2 – 3months). On the last day of my period, I began taking vitex; and 2 days later, i developed a nagging headache that grew worse day by day. I also started bleeding again. I had to stop after one week as the headaches became constant and was frequently leading to migraines. 2 weeks later after stopping the vitex, and the bleeding had slowed down to occasional spotting….I started taking maca….there were no headaches, but the bleeding came back subtly (without cramps) and gradually increased to a flood with huge, multiple clots. After one month on maca with alternating days of heavy bleeding and spotting; I decided to stop the maca. 2 weeks after quitting, I still kept on bleeding and spotting. I did not ovulate on either the vitex or maca. I had to go back to my doctor to get a prescription for provera, which brought my 10wks bleed to a stop. Right now, I am on provera day # 5 and I am looking forward to resetting my cycle, as vitex and maca had totally messed up my system…..I did quite a bit of research on the internet before starting either. I just thought to share my story because we do not all respond in the same way…If your cycles are regular. do not take.”

Some women experience the opposite, with delayed or skipped periods. In support of maca, I definitely found it an energy boost, as did my parents and husband who were also taking it for a time (they didn’t experience any negative side effects)

At a later date (and most recently) I switched to yerba mate from coffee when I read that the caffeine content wasn’t as likely to create ups and downs like coffee caffeine does. I was probably drinking one, sometimes two cups of it when I experienced the same thing again – a mid-monthly bleed.

My dosage

When I had this happen with tulsi, I was drinking two cups of tulsi every day. Interestingly, I had a friend who had the exact same thing happen (bleeding mid-month) when drinking tulsi tea. With the yerba mate, I was drinking 1-2 cups a day.

When taking maca, I was taking one serving a day.

Does this mean I’d never take any of them ever again?

Not necessarily. For me, I simply felt that I would need a qualified doctor working with me to make sure I was taking proper doses, and that it was the right supplement for me. Because I have iron issues, dealing with extra bleeding is not a good thing for me, and thus I have to be extra careful. It’s a possibility that all three are simply not the best for me personally.

Because the naturopathic doctors I have worked with have not had experience working with maca (or tulsi), I have simply chosen not to use it.

Years ago, I wrote this post on flax, phytoestrogens, and possible links to premature labor and hormonal issues for those consuming it. This post still gets comments from women sharing that they felt that flax seeds contributed to extra heavy periods and other issues. This doesn’t mean that flax seeds are bad, but simply that we should be aware of the hormonal changes that certain foods can have.

I take the same stand on maca, tulsi, and yerba mate. I think they can be lovely healthy additions to a good diet, but we should be aware that there can be side effects and that it may be not equally good for everyone. For those trying to work with specific issues, working with a professional herbalist may be a good idea so that you can work out dosage for your personal situation and body.

All three of these items are traditionally used, and are generally considered very safe to use, and many of my friends have had great success using them. But for those of you who may react to them like me, I hope that sharing my experience was helpful.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t think tulsi or mate have anything to do with the problems you are experiencing. A cup or two of mate a day. Two or three cups of tulsi tea a day are quite low doses. Remember, tulsi is nothing but basil tea. Tulsi, the so called holy basil is in the basil family… both the green and the purple basil are called tulsi in India… not any danger to humans at all, nor any great benefit there at all. It is sacred to hindus, mostly it.

    I write this because I have large experience with mate. I grew up drinking roasted and green mate and I still drink liters a week, my entire family and friends do it. In Brazil everybody drinks loads of mate a day. It has caffeine but not as high as tea or coffee. It has health levels of mateine/caffeine, it also has poliphenols and great minerals like potassium… not really any hormonal effects. On the contrary. It can help low colesterol. The green mate or the roasted can be very energetic in caffeine sensitive people, but I have never, ever, heard of any mention to any problem related to menstrual system… Remember, good medicine is evidence based and I grow up with people drinking liters of mate a week… I have never heard that mate can play a role in middle month bleeding.

    However, you might be are right about maca. I don’t think anyone should take supplements, specially if you have a healthy lifestyle and good diet based on good food. So if you are cooking with maca, once in a while, great, but if you are taking capsules, it is better to drop them forever. Supplements are an evil, do more bad than good.

    Good luck.

    • says

      Claudia,

      First, yes, this was caused by tulsi, maca and yerba mate. With 17 years of cycles, the only 3 months that I had this issue was when I was taking or drinking one of these. The connection between them all is that they are all considered “adaptogen” which my body responds to in the same way. This does NOT mean that they are bad to consume, as all three have health benefits. They just may not be for everyone, or may cause an adjustment period for those really sensitive to them (such as myself). Many adaptogenic herbs/foods can cause some hormonal swings and issues when your body is adjusting to its use, and this is considered normal. I would assume that if you grew up in a culture where it is drunk a lot from an early age, you are much less likely to go through an adjustment period.

      Also, maca is a food, just as much as mate or tulsi. It has been consumed in high amounts for a long period of time in certain areas of Peru. I am sure that Peruvians who grew up eating a lot of maca would defend it just as much as a Brazilian would defend yerba mate. 🙂

        • says

          I had the EXACT same reaction to those herbs. Identical. Especially to Maca. Me and edaptogens = not so good. (And I bleed enough – believe me.) The holy basil made me feel strung out. Very weird.
          There are few herbs that have no effect to anyone . Peppermint tea, for example — harmless to many, side effects for some. Licorice tea will keep me up all night if I drink it past 11am – others aren’t effected. I think some people are obviously more sensitive than others. But we need to be aware that we can be effected by them greatly, also.
          Thanks for writing this!

      • Stephanie says

        Thank you for this article. I have been experiencing the exact same thing as you except I am or was drinking matcha tea. Sometimes I would have up to 3 tablespoons a day. I was regular since I started up to the age of 32 which is when this began. I suspected the matcha is the cause but then I said no that is just a coincidence, surely there is a much more sinister cause. I made a Dr apt and I am looking forward to running tests. Your article does give me comfort while I wait. I am known to have extreme reactions to supplements and things of the sort. When I took emergen C my face was swollen to about twice it size and I had to go to the hospital. I hope this is just a reaction to the matcha like your issue was with the tea you were drinking.

        • Trpile S says

          I started drinking a tea called wake up now, I began to notice changes with my cycle. Everytime I drink this tea, 3 days later mY period would start. At first I thought that it was due to changes in my environment or my normal routine. I drank this tea recently because I wanted to wake up but not drink coffee. Well 2 days later my cycle started again. I’m confident the yerba mate or the holy basil is having an adverse reactions with my body or perhaps I’m just sensative to these two. Not gonna use it any more.

      • Isabel says

        I love how people love to tell you that you are not feeling or experiencing what you feel and experience because ….blah blah blah….(insert anecdote, scientific jargon or the almighty “studies”)

        PEOPLE KNOW HOW THEY FEEL. At the very least, we know how we feel.

        Mainstream doctors and nurses are some of the most ignorant people when it comes to health, and so are the people who put a great deal of faith in “scientific studies”…. studies can say whatever someone wants them to say. Usually they are funded with a particular agenda or profit motive.

        LISTEN TO YOUR BODIES. You know what your body needs and you know what you are feeling.

      • Rosh says

        For the first time yesterday my mom boiled 2 cups of tulsi leaves and gave me a quarter cup to drink. This being to help my cold and releive a slight sore throat. Shocking the next morning i was bleeding with a massive migraine that did not go away even with pain tab taken twice. I am still bleeding whole day. Think brought on a mid month cycle. My cycle been perfect before this. Will never drink it again.

    • Bonnie says

      My 2 cents .. Flax probably caused extra heavy periods because
      it’s a blood thinner.. Don’t use the oil either esp if on a blood thinner..
      & at 58, I havent met another post menopausal
      woman who didn’t love tulsi. It’s amazing.. We crave it.
      At 24 I had an ‘hysterical’ pregnancy from the pill when I went
      off it after 7 years .. There’s a devil in contraceptives that I could
      never adjust to. 9 months pseudo-pregnant and labour! and no baby.
      Too weird ..
      Good luck .. Thanks for all the good food.

    • Plutoe says

      This was very helpful I only took the pill for three days my mentally illness got worse and I have not seen my period and I have negative pregnancy test

  2. Christie says

    I haven’t taken those, but had a hormonal response to flax. I was taking flax seed oil, recommended by my naturopath, for overall female health. It caused hot flashes. I finally figured it out when I ran out of flax seed oil 6 months later, a long time to deal with hot flashes needlessly. Interestingly, I ran across your article about 2 weeks after running out of FSO and it confirmed for me that the flax did indeed have negative hormonal effects. The power of food!

    • says

      Christie,

      Wow! I still can’t believe how many women are effected hormonally by flax! Thanks for sharing. (And you are right, food is powerful!).

      • Christie says

        I just read that green tea has phytoestrogens! Considering my reaction to FSO, I’m now going to cut out green tea to see if I have further improvement with my hormones.

      • Tricia says

        I had no idea that flax could cause hormonal issues. I give it to my my kids all the time, because I thought it was a good source of fiber and Omega 3! Should I stop? (Two boys ages 17 and 9 and a 3yo girl. I normally just mix it into their smoothies, muffin or pancake batter, etc).

  3. says

    This article caught my eye because I have only just recently been drinking yerba mate tea. I just wanted to say thank you for making it perfectly clear that these are not bad in general, but for some these may not be the right thing to be taking/drinking. With all the information out there, one could feel torn in so many directions. I have been trying to listen to my body and it sure will let you know what it does well on and what it doesn’t! Good info you are sharing. Thanks again.

  4. Ann says

    I tried Maca a few years ago and it gave me stomach problems as well as making my already painful and heavy periods worse.At the time I did not know that I had endometriosis .If you have painful,heavy and clotted periods and spotting it is not normal there could be some underlying condition that is causing it.I’m glad that you are sharing your experience as before I started taking it when I researched it all I saw was positive reviews.

      • Sarah says

        Hi, just wana say thank you anne and kim for your insight its important to get the word out there. I am interested in using natural ways to help and heal ourselves instead of man made things because it affects so many. I guess with everything inform your doctor and good luck 🙂

    • mearced says

      Thank you for sharing this! This is exactly my experience with maca as well as red raspberry tea. I never considered endometriosis. I hate going to doctors so I guess I will read up on that one.

  5. says

    Very interesting! I’m filing this.

    I took Vitex (homemade tincture – who knows the dose!) in my early twenties for irregular periods – highly irregular (I’d go for months on end without one). And after a few months I was on a regular cycle. I always felt that Vitex is best for people in this situation – absent periods or long cycles. Not that you focused on Vitex or that I’m an herbalist or anything – just adding my 2 cents 🙂

  6. Karen says

    Kimi, your articles always spark looking up other things too. Thank you for this. Although, this article did not directly affect me, I drink Tulsi tea on an occasion, but the comment by Christie about flax seed reminded me I wanted to look at why someone said my husband should not have this. He is on significant blood thinners right now so I did some research about food and blood thinners. Found lots of helpful ideas. He is so careful about any supplements; his cardiologist doc knows everything he uses (which is very few), being very knowledgeable about nutrition and meds. So, thanks again on leading me on an adventure.

  7. Debbie De Block says

    Maca made me strike out on energy and feel very queasy. I tried taking it serveal times but was unbearable and I tossed it out for good. Its ok. God made plenty more nutritious foods!

  8. Nichole says

    I for one couldn’t be happier you wrote this. Many women do not know the potential negative effects of Maca. As a Her 2 positive (extreme hormone sensitive) breast cancer survivor, the hormonal effects could be detrimental to my remission. Every time I step into one of these juicery type stores and see Maca being used as a cure all I want to educate them on the dangers of its use and potential to exacerbate any under lying or unknown conditions. So glad you are in tune with your body and were able to link your menstrual changes to the use of the herbs.

    • Sarah says

      Hi, does Maca increase estrogen? Just wondering if this is what you mean by negative hormonal effects. I’ve been taking Maca and experiencing mid-cycle bleeding, I’m wondering if it’s because it has elevated my estrogen, thanks!

      • Amanda says

        I have been having midcycle bleeding/spotting since I had started taking it for a couple months haven’t taken it for about 2 months now and still experiencing it. I’m convinced it’s from the maca and this article concretes that assumption. I’d like to know how long after stopping did it take anyone who did experience this to quit having the spotting/bleeding.

        • Maggie says

          I have been taking Maca for a couple weeks myself and having the same experience of my period returning after my cycle ended. I have the same question of how long after stopping the Maca do you stop spotting/bleeding?

  9. Mita says

    Thank you for sharing your experience!! I had a similar experience. I had been taking maca for a few weeks, and it worked wonders for my energy levels, but I ended up having the worst period of my life. There was so much bleeding and I was so weak I could barely get out of bed. I was also taking Tulsi and L-theanine, and I think the combination of the 3 really thinned my blood. I had also forgotten to take my iron supplements… they really make a difference for my periods. I’m not anemic but my ferritin is always low and the supplements help a lot. It took me awhile to find iron supplements that actually work and don’t hurt my stomach… I use Blood Builder by Mega Foods, I take it twice a day and it works wonders!

  10. Anita says

    Interesting article something to consider :herbs etc… that are indigenous to other countries may not be compatible or as compatible when taken by someone not indigenous to the same country or region

  11. Kimberly says

    i truly appreciated both the content and tone of your article. I have been working with a massive healing process with multiple Naturipathic physicians, acupuncturists and herbalists for about 5 yrs and have found that my need to be careful with foods and supports for my personal treatment and nourishment has been so unique and unexpected at times. I’m beginning school to become an ND and Chinese herbalist as well and strongly believe in the importance of listening to your unique body and consulting with professionals particularly when undergoing challenging health issues. Can definitely do more damage at times when taken lightly. Thank you for putting this perspective forward. So important! And I enjoy your blog so very much

  12. Renee S. says

    Wow…I take 500 mg Maca supplement (now brand) every day and I’m wondering if that’s why I’m always feeling bloated. I found it boosted my energy but I’m going to stop it and see what happens.

  13. Nancy says

    Kimi, thanks for sharing your experience, which partly parallels mine. I am a big tea drinker and recently started drinking more tulsi tea, in place of my usual black or green true tea, so that I could cut down on my caffeine intake. For years I had enjoyed a cup of tulsi occasionally and never had any side effects from it, but since I’ve been drinking it in larger quantities — a 17-ounce pot every day — I have had mid-cycle bleeding. (I am not using maca, by the way.) I am going to ease off it and go back to drinking tulsi in more moderate amounts.

    • says

      Wow, thanks for sharing Nancy! It’s been really interesting listening to other people who have had the same experience. As a side note, I actually wasn’t taking maca or yerba mate when I had this happen with the tulsi tea. All three incidents happened probably at least a year apart from each other!

  14. says

    I’ve researched the medicinal effects of tulsi in the course of writing an article on it for RateTea, which is a site I’m the editor of. There’s definitely evidence that it can function as an anticoagulant or blood thinner, so this may explain the effect you noticed. I see others have also commented on this as well.

    I think your advice here is really solid–different people respond differently to different herbs. If you notice an uncomfortable or harmful effect, then it makes sense to stop taking it. Each person is unique, and just because a certain herb or substance is beneficial to most people doesn’t mean it’ll be that way to all people. I think that’s one of the problems with modern science — it can only really establish what is best for most people, by the way the studies are designed. And since all people are unique, for each of us, there are going to be certain herbs or substances where we have an unusual reaction.

    I think listening to your body is a really good general principle!

  15. Zee says

    I agree, I recently started taking Tulsi and Maca to help with my workouts. Yes, I felt energetic however after a week I had experienced mid-bleeding. So, I stopped all together. I usually have a regular cycle hopefully it goes back to normal. However, I did notice that my belly has shrunk! For now on, I will just stick to healthy eating and a one a day vitamin!

    • Laura says

      Oh my goodness. This is exactly what happened to me. I started taking Maca to help my workouts and just got a surprise mid cycle bleeding. I have been taking Maca for about 2 months. Would you please post a comment on how is it going now? Is your cycle normal??

  16. Lucy says

    Hi, I have been drinking alot of redbush tea and I have just thrown it in the bin as I have been experiencing bleeding midcycle and never was I like this before. it contains estrogen. How long will it take to leave my body?

  17. Gwen says

    Hi! I’ve been having extremely heavy painful periods for the past 2 or so years and have tried many things to help. I’m sure I have/had fibroids or some underlying issue to cause such discomfort. I’ve been taking Maca for the past 2 months and my periods went from 10 -12 (HEAVY painful) days down to about 4 or 5 days and normal or minimum cramps. Everyone is different and I do think that there’s an adjustment period in which your body will experience unusual symptoms at first. Maca has worked wonders for me!

  18. Megan says

    Great article. I personally see benefits of taking maca as opposed to when I’m not, but I also think it’s about moderation–as in not taking too much and to take a break ever so often in order to allow your body to work itself. Even though I don’t take it daily, my periods are lighter and I’m virtually PMS free, among things. I love tulsi, but I also switch it up.

    Too much of anything will mess you up. For example spinach and regular tea are great for you, but taking too much or everyday may result issues such as kidney stones, etc. I take maca a few days a week, but also take a few days off. I also skip the week of my period, but that’s me. Plants/greens–be it kale or cabbage or what have you–are actually designed to self-preserve; if you eat too much of the same thing every day, all the time and every day, you’ll eventually have issues of toxicity.

    People often mistake the phrase “adaptogen” as a free-for-all, but typically fail to research how certain things adapt. Some things may boost estrogen while others promote androgens, and others (i.e. maca) may balance both. Tulsi, for instance, had actually been used to decrease fertility, while maca allegedly increases it. Mixing and matching constantly in this sense, daily, may very well create more issues than help.

    Other things to consider are mineral content. If someone gets a lot of iodine in their diet, taking a supplement with iodine (maca) may screw with your thyroid and other issues; whereas, others who may be low on it could benefit. Same goes for other vitamins/minerals.

    It’s really a catch-22, and it varies for each person, but I think it’s safe to say moderation is key, no matter how good something is for you, and to give yourself a break at least a few times a month. This way, you also keep your body from becoming dependent on it.

  19. Eva says

    Wow!!! I can’t believe that for the last year or so, the mid-cycle bleeding, among other symptoms you have described, could be due to my increased consumption of Maca! I should have payed more attention to how I felt, when having taken Maca. I have noticed I am very sensitive, to other things considered adaptogens (including mushroom supplements). I will be paying more attention to how my body reacts (I was already aware that my body is sensitive to a lot of things, and everyone is different; what works for you, may not work for me). Thanks for the “kick”; I will be doing an elimination diet soon, to really pin-point what is good & bad for me. Keep up the good work! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Ashley says

    I’ve been taking maca for one month and I’m one week late for my period with no signs of pms. I took a pregnancy test and it was negative and I have regular periods. Only thing I changed was taking this supplement (maca) and am still waiting for it to come.

  21. Rachel says

    Wow finally I found someone else talking about the migraines and hormonal issues caused my maca that has estrogen dominance! I found out I had estrogen dominance a few years back when I first went on the pill, which caused me to have a TIA (mini stroke) due to the estrogen overload. I have always suffered migraines which I now understand is largely due to a hormonal imbalance. A little while ago I started putting maca in my smoothies once a day, and realised I would get a headache afterwards. I guess I thought I was imagining it and that it couldn’t possibly be connected to the maca, because of all the info online about it helping to balance hormones etc. But tonight I put some maca in my hot chocolate and BAM – instant nausea followed by a headache. I just have this strong feeling that it is connected to my weird hormonal imbalance, and that while it might help most with balancing their hormones I think I am more sensitive. Thank you for sharing! At least you’re not alone!

  22. GS says

    I didn’t have any mid-cycle bleeding, but when I drank tulsi tea heavily, for the one and only time in my 48 years, I had cysts in my breasts. I realized that they started growing when I started increasing my tulsi intake from a few cups a week (4-5) to two cups a day. When I stopped drinking that much, the cysts went completely away, pretty quickly, actually! I realized that for me, a couple of cups a week is plenty and works well to calm and help with anxiety. As far as other adaptogens go, I take ashwagandha daily and have zero negative side effects. I’ve never taken maca or yerba mate simply because energy levels, etc., have never been an issue with me. 🙂 Thanks for this helpful and informative article!

  23. Elena says

    I have similar experience with maca. I first started taking it last September. I am diagnosed with Hashimoto and I have low libido and energy levels. I read about the great effect maca have onto those and decided to give it a try. Unfortunately none of the publications I read at that time suggested about its side effects. I really felt increased energy and sexual drive once I started taking maca. Also my PMS symptoms were gone…no breast pain, water retention or sugar cravings. But strange things started to happen in November. First I went nearly deaf a week before my period. Noone was able to determine what’s wrong but I noticed my blood pressure was elevated. I usually have very low blood pressure and slightly above normal readings made me feel very sick. That strange symptom went away once my period started in few days. To my greatest surprise I started bleeding again in 15 days (December). It was pretty strange as I had a very regular (29-30 day) menstrual cycle for years. Also, the menstruation was very different from my usual. I also had severe cramps on the very first day. January 2016 – strange spotting, and severe cramps 2.5 weeks after my last menstruation. The doctor said there is nothing wrong during examination yet my menstruation cycle is totally messed up after being regular for years. It went to my mind that maca affects hormones and this is one of the publications I came across after a simple search about “maca” and “menstruation side effects”. I wish I could have done my homework before. So, watch out! While it is definitely working and might have a positive effect onto certain people, it’s powerful and now for all. It did cause hormonal mess in my body and it did effect my blood pressure. I read the dosage might be the problem, too, but I have no desire to experiment now.

  24. Renata says

    Maca somewhat regulated my cycles, seemed to be good for my PCOS, but it made my endometriosis a lot worse (didn’t even know I had it until then) and caused mid-cycle bleeding. Also made me feel nauseous, tired and constipated. At the time I didn’t realise it was from maca, because I didn’t find any informations about such negative effects, only later when I tried it again in a couple of years and had the same reaction (this time I stopped soon enough) started to research a bit more and found that other women had similar experiences.

  25. isabelle jasponet says

    Every time I have used Maca I wound up with a migraine. I have thought that perhaps Maca has a high sugar content which exacerbates Candida and that maybe was the cause of the migraines.

  26. says

    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    I’m experiencing similar symptoms regarding my menstrual cycle and bloating, and I was suspecting Maca since it does have a powerful effect on the endocrine system. Your post and the comments that follow confirm my suspicions. I will remove maca from my eating habits and see if the symptoms go away, if not, I’ll look for other culprit 🙂
    Thank you!

  27. says

    THANK YOU for writing this. I follow your blog in my blog reader and read this right after you posted it. I immediately stopped drinking Yerba Mate tea. Mid-month bleeding that I had experienced for several years while drinking Yerba (3-5 times/week) immediately stopped. I had spent so much money trying to get my hormones regulated, I didn’t realize it was caused by Yerba Mate and that it would return to normal so quickly when I stopped drinking the tea. Thank you.

    Just this month I’m having mid-month bleeding again, and I came back to this post. I’ve started drinking a lot of different herbal teas, and after looking at your post and some of the links off to different adaptogenic herbs I think I need to stop with the teas and introduce them back slowly to see what might be causing it. Also I’ve been eating more flax seeds recently as well, so I’m going to have to eliminate and add back slowly to see what is causing it.

    You have so much helpful info in this post. I cannot thank you enough.

  28. michelle says

    Yes Maca messed me up too, i have perfectly clear skin and with maca i experienced breakouts on my face and butt, reduced libido, gas and serious pms. Luckily i only took half a teaspoon and for only five days, but it still affected me. My cycles are perfect so hopefully i didnt mess that up. I think it caused me to be esteogwn dominant and if you dont have problems with your cycle i think Maca should not be used. It helped my friend get her period though after not having it for six months so i think it is good for those that Need estrogen. During my pms spell, i took black cohosh to calm me down and it also cleared my skin back to normal. I think ill stick to my Ashwaghanda for stress adaptogen i never have side effects from that.

  29. jayne says

    I had the same issues with evening primrose oil as well as holy basil (taken at different periods of my life for different reasons -not at the same time) I would get a period every 2 weeks! So I stay away from anything that can mess with my hormones now. Especially as I generally don’t have any PMS symptoms and my periods are nice and regular with normal bleeding.

  30. Maya says

    I am from India and was taking tulsi tea and Flax seeds for the two months I was visiting US. And no periods for that whole time!! I thought maybe my cycles were messed up coz of traveling. But when I spoke to my Indian friends, they told me how tulsi is considered bad for married people, especially women during reproductive age. It’s generally given only for kids and unmarried people who are supposed to be celibate. I guess there definitely is a connection between tulsi, hormones and fertility but couldn’t come across any study for women. Have been wondering whether age does matter. I am 28. Maybe the effects are different if you are a teenager or menopausal. Anyways, finally it took me a week of dong quai to get the bleeding started.

  31. Laura says

    THANK YOU for posting this. I also have been experiencing mid-cycle bleeding and unusual large amounts of clear discharge. I have been taking Maca for about 4-5 mo and about a month ago starting randomly drinking Yerba Mate as I found out about the reduction in jittery symptoms (versus regular tea or coffee.) I am now unclear which one is causing the negative side effects but am going to cut both out. I think it’s also possible the Mate has caused increased depression (I usually never experience depression but haven’t felt right for a while….). Thanks again I didn’t find anything else online that discussed this issue so I never would have figured it out. I am 41 and started wondering if I was having way early peri-menopause stuff happening as my mom did not experience menopause until 53.

    xo

    • KK says

      This is amazing! I was taking Rhodiola initially did to recover from adrenal fatigue and at the request of my ND. For a while I actually took both Rhodiola and MACA, eventually switching to MACA.
      In the midst of the switch, my dad passed and I thought the crazy long bleeding was stress induced. I have an appt with my gynecologist but after reading this am now considering cancelling it, kicking the MACA and seeing what happens. I was getting concerned about how the cycle was going. I am 40 yrs old, married with 5 kids and never had any issues before MACA. So, I assumed stress and possible early onset of menopause. I feel so much better knowing I was not the only one and that my symptoms weren’t rare. Now it’s just flushing this out of my system and getting back to normal!

      Thank you~

  32. says

    Thank you so much for sharing. I recently had an endometrial biopsy because I also was bleeding mid cycle. Now I think it also was the maca. I still am searching for a morning drink that makes me happy. Please post if anyone has a morning drink that is delicious and free of caffeine. Gratefully, Heidi

  33. Nicole says

    THANK YOU! I could not figure out what was wrong with me. I’ve missed a period for the first time ever outside of pregnancy, I wake up every morning at 3:00am unable to sleep, I’m jittery, I’m anxious and stressed, I’m weepy. Things have been miserable in the last month and I had no idea it was connected to the Maca I started taking one month ago in the morning. It was such a tiny dose in a protein powder that I would never have guessed it. How long until it all goes away?! Groan!

    In contrast, my husband takes it for hormone balancing and loves the stuff! I only wish all of the sites touting the wonders of Maca were as well-balanced as yours. After reading a dozen sites of popular and well-renouned doctors claim it had no side-effects, I assumed it was safe. Thank you again for your unbiased information!

  34. crosswind says

    There is SMOKED vs NON-SMOKED Yerba Mate. Studies show the drying process of smoking (using burning wood) is carcinogenic. Read this. The well known Yerba Mate company now sells Un-Smoked yerba mate on their website, but I think i’ll stick with other teas now & just threw my Yerba Mate in trash after reading all this & your posts too. Thank you… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/update-on-yerba-mate/

  35. Elisa says

    So I take a holy basil supplement for anxiety, and Vitex capsules. My periods are short cycle but only light. I started having more anxiety, and hot flashes a couple of days ago. I did add in Rhodiola and Schiandra (?) this last couple of days for a calming effect as Holy Basil doesn’t seem to cut it and I waffle between exhausted mostly and not sleeping at night. My breasts have become painfully tendering the last couple of weeks so I added iodine today to cut down on that. I have tried the conventional hormonal route and it was a disaster. I need something to keep my anxiety at bay to function and my libido is garbage so any advice would be welcome. I took like 6 pills this morning. (Candida cleanse, probiotic inulin, holy basil, vitex, turmeric and digestive enzymes) . I added in the rhodiola and schiandra this morning as it supposed to help with energy.

  36. Em says

    Hello, just wondering if you were just drinking Tulsi and that’s it when you were having that? Were u taking any other supplements at the same time? Thanks 🙂

  37. Jamie says

    I am so glad I found this post!! I have been drinking Tulsi tea for over year and had some slight mid cycle bleeding, more than your average ovulation spotting. When I heard about maca and how wonderful it was supposed to be I started adding it to my morning smoothies and the mid cycle bleeding got worse as did my periods. I had a bunch of clots enough to scare to get things checked out. Ultrasound was fine, just a cyst on my ovary. I went back to my naturopath and am working on getting my hormones straightened out and will be stopping Tulsi tea and maca! Thank you!!

  38. Reena says

    Thanks for writing this post! I’ve taken tulsi tea in the past and currently take maca. I do get a little mid-cycle bleeding but that is associated with ovulation.

    One thing about maca that I want to point out. You should never take it every day.I read somewhere to only take it from ovulation to the first day of your period, which is what I do. Also I don’t follow the recommended dosage (2 pills a day). One is sufficient.

    And don’t take tulsi and maca together. They work in opposite ways (one increases and the other decreases hormones) and they will cancel each other out.

  39. Heather says

    Hello – This is SUCH an important concept. We have to start trusting our bodies and how we feel end of story. it DOES NOT matter if something has reported health benefits if it does not work for you. We are all genetically unique. Tests from 23andme.com (and the concept of SNP’s) can now help us understand the unique metabolisms we all have. Thanks so much for writing this. Great message!!

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