Moringa oleifera is a plant that is often called the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree.
Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits. It also has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fast facts on moringa:
- The tree is native to India but also grows in Asia, Africa, and South America.
- Moringa contains a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
- Moringa oleifera has few known side effects.
- People taking medication should consult a doctor before taking moringa extract.
Moringa contains many healthful compounds such as:
- vitamin A
- vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin), B-6
- folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
It is also extremely low in fats and contains no harmful cholesterol.
Moringa is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health and beauty to helping prevent and cure 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. It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost the skin and hair.
It can be successful in curing skin infections and sores.
2. Treating edema
Edema is a painful condition where fluid builds up in specific tissues in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may be effective in preventing edema from developing.
3. Protecting the liver
Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.
4. Preventing and treating cancer
Moringa extracts contain properties that might help prevent cancer developing. It also contains niazimicin, which is a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells.
5. Treating stomach complaints
Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.
6. Fighting against bacterial diseases
Due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by Salmonella, Rhizopus, and E. coli.
7. 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.
8. Treating mood disorders
9. Protecting the cardiovascular system
The powerful antioxidants found in Moringa extract might help prevent cardiac damage and has also been shown to maintain a healthy heart.
10. Helping wounds to heal
Extract of moringa has been shown to help wounds close as well as reduce the appearance of scars.
11. Treating diabetes
Moringa helps to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, as well as sugar and protein in the urine. This improved the hemoglobin levels and overall protein content in those tested.
12. Treating asthma
Moringa may help reduce the severity of some asthma attacks and protect against bronchial constrictions. It has also been shown to assist with better lung function and breathing overall.
13. Protecting against kidney disorders
People may be less likely to develop stones in the kidneys, bladder or uterus if they ingest moringa extract. Moringa contains high levels of antioxidants that might aid toxicity levels in the kidneys.
14. Reducing high blood pressure
Moringa contains isothiocyanate and niaziminin, compounds that help to stop arteries from thickening, which can cause blood pressure to rise.
15. Improving eye health
Moringa contains eyesight-improving properties thanks to its high antioxidant levels. Moringa may stop the dilation of retinal vessels, prevent the thickening of capillary membranes, and inhibit retinal dysfunction.
16. Treating anemia and sickle cell disease
Moringa might help a person's body absorb more iron, therefore increasing their red blood cell count. It is thought the plant extract is very helpful in treating and preventing anemia and sickle cell disease.
Moringa products are available to purchase online.
Anyone considering using moringa is advised to discuss it with a doctor first.
Moringa may possess anti-fertility qualities and is therefore not recommended for pregnant women.
There have been very few side effects reported.
People should always read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions.
Some of the medications to be particularly aware of are:
- Levothyroxine: Used to combat thyroid problems. Compounds in the moringa leaf may aid the thyroid function, but people should not take it in combination with other thyroid medication.
- Any medications that might be broken down by the liver: Moringa extract may decrease how quickly this happens, which could lead to various side effects or complications.
- Diabetes medications: Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar, which moringa also does effectively. It is vital to ensure blood sugar levels do not get too low.
- High blood pressure medication: Moringa has shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure. Taking moringa alongside other drugs that lower blood pressure may result in it becoming too low.
Evidence has shown that moringa extract can be effective in reducing and controlling weight gain in mice. Its high vitamin B content helps with smooth and efficient digestion and can assist the body when converting food into energy, as opposed to storing it as fat.
Moringa is thought to:
- reduce weight gain
- help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- prevent inflammation
- help the body convert fats into energy
- reduce fatigue and improve energy levels
Like all supplements, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) do not monitor moringa, so there might be concerns about purity or quality. It is essential to understand the validity of the claims made by the manufacturers, whether it is safe to use, and what potential side effects there may be.
There is plenty of recent research to back up the benefits as stated above, though many of the studies are still in the preliminary stages or the tests have only taken place on animals as opposed to humans, so there is plenty more to be done.