Moringa may have a range of health benefits, ranging from speeding up wound healing to managing blood glucose. However, further research into the benefits of moringa is necessary.

Moringa oleifera is a tree with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Also known as the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree, people have used moringa for centuries due to its health benefits.

In this article, find out what moringa is, which benefits it might offer, and possible side effects.

Around the world, many people traditionally use moringa as food and for medicinal purposes.

1. Protecting and nourishing skin and hair

Research involving animals has suggested moringa seed oil may help heal skin wounds more quickly. One way it might do this is by reducing oxidative stress.

Moringa seed oil may also have benefits for hair health, according to some experts.

However, more studies are needed, especially those involving humans.

2. Treating edema

Edema is when fluid builds up in body tissues, for instance, because of inflammation. Ear edema can cause tissue swelling around the ear, usually because of an infection.

In one study, applying moringa seed oil reduced skin inflammation in mice with ear edema. This suggests the anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may help treat ear edema, although more research is needed.

What causes swelling in the earlobes?

3. Protecting the liver

Moringa might help protect the liver against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

In one study, researchers fed guinea pigs a diet containing moringa leaves. Those that consumed a higher concentration of moringa had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and less inflammation in their liver.

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4. Preventing and treating cancer

Moringa contains properties that might help prevent cancer. For example, it contains niazimicin, a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells.

According to some scientists, extracts of moringa leaf, bark, and other parts of the plant may have properties that can kill cancer cells. If further research confirms this, they could prove useful in treating breast, liver, colorectal, and other cancers.

5. Treating stomach upset

Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders.

For instance:

6. Fighting foodborne bacterial infections

Moringa contains substances that may act against some foodborne pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli), research suggests.

S. aureus may be present in sliced meats, sandwiches, and other foods not cooked between handling and eating, while E.coli can pass through contaminated water or food. Both types of bacteria can cause diarrhea and other symptoms of food poisoning.

7. Preventing rheumatoid arthritis

Moringa extract has anti-inflammatory properties that might help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, according to the authors of a rodent study.

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8. Treating mood and nervous system disorders

The antioxidant activity of moringa may protect against disorders that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, neuropathic pain, and depression.

Scientists believe it may have neuroprotective properties, but they have not yet identified how they work.

9. Protecting the cardiovascular system

Moringa contains a range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, such as quercetin, which may help protect cardiovascular health. Quercetin may help prevent lipid formation and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.

Moringa may also have cholesterol-lowering properties.

10. Treating diabetes

Extracts of moringa leaves may benefit people with diabetes, such as assisting with managing blood sugar and insulin levels and protecting against organ damage. Its properties could help prevent complications and slow disease progression.

More studies are needed to identify how moringa could help manage diabetes.

11. Treating asthma

Moringa contains molecules that may help manage or prevent asthma, bronchial constrictions, and airway inflammation. One study found that the lung function of guinea pigs improved after researchers gave them a moringa extract.

12. Preventing kidney stones

Some traditional remedies recommend taking moringa to prevent kidney stones.

Laboratory tests have found evidence that moringa extracts may stop minerals from building up and causing stones in the kidneys.

However, more research is needed to support this use.

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13. Reducing high blood pressure

Moringa contains substances that may help manage blood pressure.

In one study, a group of healthy participants consumed 120 grams of cooked moringa leaves for a week, while another group did not.

Two hours after eating, those who consumed moringa had lower blood pressure than those who did not.

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14. Improving eye health

Moringa contains the antioxidant beta carotene, which is essential for maintaining eye health and preventing eye diseases.

15. Treating anemia and sickle cell disease

People in some parts of the world have traditionally used moringa to treat and prevent anemia.

Results from laboratory tests have suggested that taking moringa as food or medication could also help manage sickle cell disease.

This is due to its antioxidant properties, its chelating activity — which means it can help remove excess iron — and other factors.

Moringa extract may help manage various factors related to obesity, research suggests.

Possible benefits for people with obesity include:

  • preventing inflammation
  • managing lipids
  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • protecting the liver

However, there is no evidence that moringa can help with weight loss.

Moringa appears to have few or no side effects. However, anyone considering using moringa should discuss it with a doctor, as it may interact with other medications.

People should always read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions.

The following are commonly asked questions about moringa.

Does moringa affect the thyroid?

A 2021 article notes that moringa appears to aid thyroid function. However, it can also cause problems if a person is taking other thyroid medications. A person should speak with a doctor before taking moringa.

What is moringa good for?

Moringa may have several health benefits, such as protecting and nourishing the hair and skin, treating swelling, protecting the liver, treating stomach upset, fighting foodborne bacterial infections, and improving eye health.

All parts of the moringa tree and its extracts may have health benefits. These range from wound healing to reducing blood pressure.

However, more research is needed to confirm moringa is safe and effective for many of these uses.

As with all supplements, the Food & Drug Administration does not monitor moringa, so a person cannot be sure of the purity or quality of a product. It is essential to purchase supplements from a trustworthy source and to follow any instructions with care.

People should also speak with a doctor first to ensure moringa is safe for them to use. Some supplements can have adverse effects and may interact with medications.

Further resources

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