Moringa oleifera is a plant that is often called the drumstick tree or the miracle tree or the ben oil tree or the horseradish tree. Moringa, a plant native to India, is rich in antioxidants and nutrients and its powerful health benefits include its ability to protect the liver, fight inflammation and reduce cholesterol. Moringa extract and powder can provide relief from stomach disorders, allergies and edema.
What is in MORINGA?
Moringa leaves and pods are a nutritional powerhouse that provides a great range of essential proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is a rich source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Moringa contains many healthful compounds such as:
Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 folate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc.
Benefits of Moringa:
Moringa is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health to beauty to help prevention and cure of diseases. The benefits of moringa include:
1. Protecting and nourishing skin and hair
Moringa seed oil is beneficial for protecting hair against free radicals and keeps it clean and healthy. Moringa also contains protein, which means it is helpful in protecting skin cells from damage. The high protein content of drumstick aids in protecting the dermal cells from damage caused by heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. For the same reason, it is used in the production of cosmetics and skin care products as well.
It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost the skin and hair. It is successful in curing skin infections and sores too.
2. Powerful Antioxidants
The moringa plant offers a rich blend of powerful antioxidants such as kaempferol, caffeoylquinic acid, zeatin, quercetin, rutin, chlorogenic acid and beta-sitosterol. These powerful antioxidants found in moringa possess free radical scavenging capacity and have shown its therapeutic value in curing the damage caused by oxidative stress.
3. Reduces Cholesterol
Moringa is effective in maintaining optimal levels of blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. Bioactive components such as isothiocyanate and niaziminin present in it prevent the thickening of arteries and reduce the development of pulmonary hypertension.
4. Protecting the liver
Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.
5. Making bones healthier
Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat conditions such as arthritis and may also heal damaged bones.
6. Helps with Edema
Moringa extracts are beneficial in the treatment of edema. Research studies have confirmed that treatment with drumstick root extract, which possesses anti-inflammatory qualities, has been significantly effective in inhibiting the development of edema.
Moreover, these studies suggest that the efficacy of this herb stands equal with the potent anti-inflammatory medicine indomethacin in the treatment of such painful conditions.
7. Anti-bacterial Agent
It possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties and is effective against the growth of disease-causing microbes. Scientific research has proven that moringa extracts exert a wide spectrum of protective activity against food-borne microorganisms such as Salmonella, Rhizopus species, E. Coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
This defensive activity makes its extracts perfect for sanitation and preservation purposes. Leaves of this plant possess anti-fungal qualities. The inhibitory effects of moringa help in preventing the growth of diseases causing contaminant fungi such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp.
8. Anti-cancer Properties
Moringa is an anti-cancer agent and is highly valued in tumor therapy. A review on the nutritive importance and medicinal application of Moringa oleifera emphasizes on the various medicinal properties of moringa, including its anti-cancer property. Its extracts possess chemopreventive properties attributed to the presence of the phenolic components quercetin and kaempferol.
Drumstick extracts impart chemo-modulatory effects towards preventing the growth of various types of cancers such as ovarian cancer, hepatic carcinogenesis, and skin papillomagenesis by inhibiting the proliferation of malignant cancer cells and inducing apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death.
9. Boosts Immunity
The ethanolic extracts of moringa leaf help in stimulating the immune system of the body. It also helps in enhancing the cellular immune response and exerts positive effects on various other immune system values such as total leucocyte count, antibodies, and hypersensitivity reaction.
10. Protects the Cardiovascular System
Moringa extracts are helpful in the prevention of myocardial or cardiac damage, due to the presence of powerful antioxidants and also exert anti-diabetic effects. Moringa helps in inhibiting the increase in lipid peroxidation in the myocardial tissues and aids in maintaining a healthy heart.
11. Relieves Asthma
The benefits of moringa plant extracts include relief from bronchial asthma and inflammation caused in the airways. The extracts of moringa seeds possess anti-allergenic qualities. Scientific research has validated the inhibitory action of moringa on the hypersensitive reactions involved in various allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis. According to research, treatment with the vegetable helps reduce the severity of asthmatic attacks and various symptoms such as wheezing, cough, dyspnea, and contraction of the chest. It extends its protective effects against bronchial constrictions and encourages better lung function and respiration.
12. Protects against Kidney Problems
Moringa extracts exert a protective effect against nephrotoxicity, which refers to the kidney problems caused as a consequence of exposure to certain drugs or toxins. Nephro-protective effect of moringa helps in attenuating renal injuries due to its high antioxidant content. It serves as an effective bio-absorbent and helps in the removal of heavy metals and harmful toxins.
13. Heals Wounds
Aqueous extract of moringa possesses significant wound healing properties. The healing effects of moringa are seen in the treatment of wounds with respect to skin-breaking strength, wound closure rate and reduction in the scar area.
Where to Buy Moringa?
- Moringa powder, its extract, and moringa capsules are available in online stores, pharmacy outlets as well as in the health section of supermarkets.
- Drumstick, the fruit of the tree and its leaves can be obtained from super markets, local Indian markets or sometimes, if you are really lucky, you may have a tree growing in your backyard!
The powder can be used to make a light, refreshing moringa tea. It is always advisable to check with your nutritionist/dietitian before adding herbal supplements to your diet.
Hope that was helpful 🙂
N.B. Harini, M.Sc (Clinical Nutrition)., R.D ., Certified Diabetes Educator!