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.