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Maca vs Ginseng – Which One Should You Take?

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So you’re ready to boost your health with supplements.

There’s just one problem…

You have no idea which one to choose.

Off the top of my head, there are dozens of supplements which may help you, including vitamins, herbs, protein powders and more.

Don’t worry. I’m here to help you pick. In my Supplement Comparison Series, I put 2 fairly similar supplements against each other and break down the pros, cons, price and more of each.

In this piece, we’ll dive deep into Maca vs Ginseng.

Let’s go!

What is Maca?

maca root powder

Maca (Lepidium Meveni) is an ancient vegetable that’s been grown as a root crop for a few thousand years.

It looks similar to the well-known vegetable, the turnip, and its roots can grow in a variety of colors, including black, yellow and purple.

Maca’s been used both nutritionally and for medicinal purposes since the days of the Inca warriors in Peru, but only recently has its popularity sharply risen.

Although Maca is mainly cultivated in the Peruvian Andes, it grows in many South American countries, including Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

What is Ginseng?

ginseng root

Ginseng is an ancient herb that’s been used to treat diseases and improve health in Asian countries for over 2,000 years.

It’s one of the most popular herbal supplements in America and its name roughly translates to “essence of man” in Chinese.

A lot of the health benefits of Ginseng are credited to Ginsenosides.

These are a type of phytochemical which are found within Ginseng and more than 30 of them have been discovered so far.


Benefits of Maca

Maca may improve Menopause symptoms

Menopause is diagnosed after you’ve gone a full year without a menstrual period.

Although menopause is a natural process, it may result in a few unwanted symptoms, including:

  • Irritablility
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep difficulties

If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from these symptoms, then Maca may help you as a review of 4 studies found that it can relieve these symptoms.

(Related reading: Best Fish Oil Supplements For Menopause)

Maca may increase libido

Reduced sexual desire is a problem for many adults as they get older.

In fact, research shows that up to 52% of menopausal women in the US experience low sexual desire!

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a lot of people turn to natural supplements for boosting their sex drive.

But whilst a lot of natural herbs don’t deliver on their promises, Maca’s effectiveness has been backed by research.

For example, a study over 12 weeks measured the sexual desire of men after taking either Maca or a placebo.

After only 8 weeks, the Maca users reported a significant improvement in sexual desire.

Maca may protect skin from UV radiation

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays which can damage exposed skin. Over time, this can cause wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.

When applied to your skin, Maca extract may be able to protect you from this damage, according to research.

This protective effect has been shown in studies on animals, including this one on rats, too.

But, please remember that this effect has only been shown when Maca is applied to the skin – not when consumed.

Maca is loaded with nutrients

Maca is a great source of many essential minerals and vitamins.

In fact, 1 Oz of Maca root powder contains:

  • Iron: 23% of the RDI
  • Copper: 85% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 133% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 15% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 10% of the RDI

Maca also contains many health boosting plant compounds, including polyphenols and glucosinolates.

Benefits of Ginseng

Ginseng may reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation is linked to many different health conditions, including:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Leaky gut
  • Heart disease

So a great way to lower your risk of these diseases is to reduce your inflammation.

Research has shown that Ginseng may lower inflammation by regulating a cytokine known as TNF-alpha.

Its effectiveness at reducing inflammation has been shown in studies on people too.

For example, a study of 18 male athletes compared the inflammatory response to exercise in those who took Ginseng and those who took a placebo.

The results showed that the Ginseng takers had a significantly lower inflammatory response than the placebo takers.

(Related reading: Best Fish Oil Supplements To Reduce Inflammation)

Ginseng may improve erectile dysfunction

According to research, compounds found in Ginseng may protect against oxidative stress in the blood vessels in the penis.

This is key for improving erectile dysfunction (ED) as this oxidative stress can contribute to ED.

Another way in which Ginseng may help ED is by increasing nitric oxide production, as this helps the penis muscles relax.

Now, if you’re still doubting Ginseng’s ability to improve ED, then please read on…

A study found that men who used red Ginseng had a 60% improvement in ED symptoms.

In fact, the men who took actual ED medication reported only a 30% improvement…

So in this study, Ginseng was twice as effective as ED medication!

Promising stuff, right?

Ginseng may strengthen the immune system

As you’re probably aware, Cancer treatment has many side effects, including a weakened immune system.

Thankfully, Ginseng has been promising at strengthening the immune system in many studies.

Take this one for example, which investigated the effects of Ginseng supplementation on immune system markers in subjects with stomach cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

After 3 months, the Ginseng users had better immune system markers than the other subjects.

Ginseng may help boost cognitive function

According to human research, Ginseng may improve brain function and mental performance.

For example, a study showed that calmness and math skill was improved in subjects taking 400mg of Ginseng per day for 8 days.

Another study investigated the effects of 200mg of daily Ginseng on mental performance in 30 people.

After 4 weeks, the subjects showed improvement in mood, mental wellbeing and social skills.


Maca Cost

Maca is typically sold as a powder or in capsules.

Here are some standard prices for these:

  • Powder: $27 for 1 lb
  • Capsules: $13 for 100

Ginseng Cost

Ginseng is usually sold as slices or in capsules.

Typical prices for these are:

  • Slices: $30 for 4 Oz
  • Capsules: $35 for 200

Side Effects

Maca Side Effects

Maca is generally considered safe, but Peruvian natives recommend boiling fresh Maca root as it may have adverse effects.

Also, those with thyroid issues should be cautious with using Maca as it contains goitrogens, which may interfere with thyroid gland function.

Ginseng Side Effects

Ginseng is usually well-tolerated, but some people have reported the following side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blood pressure fluctuations

And if you’re a woman, you experience additional side effects like breast tenderness and vaginal bleeding.

Other drugs may interact poorly with Ginseng so it’s advised to consult a doctor before using.


My Maca Recommendation: The Maca Team Organic Black Maca

The Maca Team Black Maca Root

Click to see on Amazon


A high-quality Maca supplement created by fellow Maca fanatics.

You’ll do well to come across a better Maca supplement than this.

What I like about it

I love that this supplement is created by Maca lovers, known as The Maca Team.


Well, unlike other brands, it’s made by people who are passionate about Maca and focus on providing the very best Maca on the market.

Another great feature of this supplement is that the Maca root has been pre-cooked, which helps your body digest it better.

Potential Drawbacks

At 8 capsules per serving, the recommended serving size may frustrate people who don’t like swallowing capsules.

Check price and read more reviews of The Maca Team Organic Black Maca on Amazon.

My Ginseng Recommendation: Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng

Wellbeing Formula Korean Red Panax Ginseng

Click to see on Amazon


Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng ticks all of the boxes of a fantastic supplement.

Fair priced? Yep.

Long lasting? Yep.

High strength? You bet.

What I like about it

The Ginseng roots which are used in this supplement contain a minimum of 5% ginsenosides, making this more potent and effective than other brands out there.

(A lot of the Ginseng benefits come from the ginsenosides, remember?)

And with 100s of fantastic reviews, many other people are seeing great results from using this supplement.

Another good feature is that each bottle contains 180 capsules, so each purchase will provide you with 3 months of high-quality Ginseng.

Potential Drawbacks

I’m quite picky when it comes to the other ingredients in supplements.

So it would be good if Wellbeing Formula expanded on the specific ingredients they use for their “Vegetable Capsule”.

Check price and read more reviews of Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng on Amazon.

Maca vs Ginseng: The Verdict

You’ve made it to the end of this Maca vs Ginseng breakdown – congratulations!

Perhaps you’ve already made your mind up on which one you’re going to use and have great results with.

(Some of you may even want to use both!)

Or perhaps you haven’t yet decided…

If not? Then don’t worry.

Here’s a high-level guide to help you make up your mind:

You might prefer Maca if:

  • You want to boost your libido
  • You want to reduce your menopause symptoms
  • You want an easy way to increase your nutrient intake

You might prefer Ginseng if:

  • You have trouble getting it up
  • You want to reduce inflammation
  • You want to improve cognitive function
  • You want to boost your immune system

Hope this helped!

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