What are Maca's Negative Side Effects?

By Faith Davies

Also referred to as Peruvian ginseng or Lepidium, Maca is a plant commonly used in herbal medicine to treat a number of conditions, including impotency, anemia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Despite the benefits that many people attribute to the herb, Maca has the potential to cause side effects in some patients.

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Side effects from Maca are very infrequent and not normally serious in nature, report both the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and Drugs.com.

Time Frame

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, there is no information available about the long term use of maca. Most herbal practitioners recommend discontinuing use of maca after three months.

Allergic Reactions

The most common side effect of maca is an allergic reaction, causing itching or hives. Rarely, these reactions are more serious, posing a risk for rapid heartbeat, wheezing, shortness of breath, severe swelling of your face and extremities and even anaphylactic shock.


If you have a history of diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease, it may not be safe for you to take Maca, cautions the Physician's Desktop Reference. Use of maca has the potential to cause goiters if you suffer from thyroid-related conditions.


Because there is no proof that the herb has no adverse effects upon fetal development or infants, do not take maca while pregnant or nursing. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, consult your doctor before starting a maca regimen.