Health Benefits Of Moringa
All the edible parts of moringa, from the roots to the leaves and seeds are packed with vitamins, calcium and good quality protein. It is rich in antioxidants and is a cancer fighter. From better brain health and supple skin, to regulating blood insulin, protecting liver and being a lactating mother’s best friend, there are plenty of benefits to including moringa in your diet. Just remember to have it in moderation.
Moringa is not just about the sweet-smelling body butter at the beauty store that promises supple skin. All of its components–from the flowers and leaves to the seeds and bark–are used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.1
This is simply because the plant is highly nutritious.
- Moringa is found to hold in its various parts 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yogurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach. 2
- Its leaves contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin C, calcium, amino acids, antioxidants, and potassium.
- Because of its high score of natural antioxidant compounds like phenolics, carotenoids, ascorbid acid and flavonoids, it enhances the shelf-life of foods that have fat in it.3
Moringa or moringa oleifera, also known as drumstick tree or benzoil tree, grows extensively in the sub-Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. It also grows in several tropical countries. Moringa leaf powder, moringa extracts, moringa capsules, teas supplemented with moringa… the ingredient is everywhere and promises a whole lot of perks for a good health.
You can consume it by adding the leaf powder to a smoothie or by brewing a cup of moringa tea. But first, let’s dig a little deeper to find out the prominent health benefits of moringa.
1. Get Smart With Better Brain Health
Surprise, surprise! Who knew moringa could make your brain function better? Recent studies reveal that moringa leaf extract helps enhance memory. The high antioxidant content from vitamins C and E help combat oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s disease.4
2. Natural Mild Laxative
Having trouble in the bathroom? Fret not when moringa is here! Supplementing your diet with moringa leaf extract can ease your constipation problems. According to a study on mice, it was found that moringa reduced the defecation time, helped increases the pellets of feces and added to the weight of the feces as well. Just don’t overdo it, else you’ll spend a much longer time than necessary in loo.5
3. Anti-Cancer Properties
Moringa leaf extract is shown to have very high antioxidant activity. It is loaded with phenolics, flavonoids and ascorbic acid. So moringa is adept at fighting free radical damage. Studies have shown that it can even inhibit oxidative DNA damage. What does that mean for you? A fitter, more energetic and ‘ageless’ body with high immunity and protection from several terminal illnesses like cancer!6
4. Smooth, Supple Skin
Due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, moringa has made its way into many skin care products. It protects skin from bacterial and fungal infections. Studies reveal that moringa can revitalize the skin and erase signs of skin ageing. Its vitamin B content acts as a humectant and draws water to the skin when used topically.7
5. From Conception To Lactation
A kilogram of moringa leaves alone can meet the daily zinc requirement in your diet (about 25.5–31.03 mg). Zinc is essential for the proper growth of sperm cells and is also necessary for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. In Philippines, moringa is dubbed “mothers’ best friend” for its many benefits during pregnancy and lactation. A pregnant woman’s daily iron and calcium requirements can be met in 6 spoonfuls of moringa leaf powder. Moringa is rich in phytosterols, the compounds that increase the estrogen production that helps mammary gland ducts to produce milk.8
6. A Cool Protein Source For Vegetarians
Moringa is rich in a large number of amino acids which are vital to our well-being. It contains as many as 22 amino acids, 10 of which cannot be produced naturally by the human body. It is therefore a smart choice for vegetarians to fulfill their protein requirements.9
7. An All-Natural Water Purifier!
Moringa’s aqueous seed extract has been a time-tested water purifying agent in African and South Asian countries. It can treat muddy water and make it fit for drinking and other uses. It reduces 99.9 per cent of bacteria within one to two hours of treatment. Studies have shown low toxicity of this water extract and this is immensely helpful for developing countries in reducing the cost of water purification.10
8. Sexual Health Benefits for Men
One of the many perks of moringa is its natural aphrodisiac effect. It has been used as a traditional sexual function enhancing medicine. Moringa has been shown to increase sexual activity and erectile function of rats, when given its seed extract. It boosts the fertility and reproductive system in adult male rats and can be a great alternate remedy for sexual disorders.11
Studies conducted on rats exposed to stress showed that moringa improved male sexual function under stressful circumstances.12
9. A Friend For Diabetics
When you are a diabetic, refreshing drinks and beverages always come with an asterix. You mostly need to opt for the sugarless versions. Moringa tea is one such choice that is not only sugar-free, it is also beneficial for controlling blood sugar. According to a study that examines the effects of moringa tea on human blood sugar levels, it was found that while non-diabetics didn’t benefit much from it, diabetics showed good results. A mean drop of 28.15 mg/dl in blood sugar was observed two hours after drinking the moringa-infused tea. Moringa definitely has a lot of diabetes management potential and it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate a cuppa or two in your daily routine.13
10. Great For The Liver
The liver is a vital organ and does so much for us. From blood purifying to fat metabolism, it pretty much runs the show. You can show some love to this hard working organ by adding moringa into your diet. It protects the liver from damage and even reduces it. Moringa seed extract was used on rats with liver fibrosis in a study. The extract, owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, was able to reduce the spread of fibrosis in liver cells.14
In another study, rats with hepatitis were administered moringa seed oil for 21 days on a daily basis. It was observed that the liver enzyme levels returned to normal levels after the end of the trial.15
Mind The Side Effects
While moringa is a warehouse of nutrients, it needs to be consumed with caution. Here are some of the commonly known side effects of moringa.
- Too much of it can upset your digestion. Moringa is a natural mild laxative used for the treatment of constipation, but endless cuppas will keep you in the loo– endlessly.16
- It is considered an abortive medicine. It is ironical that in male rats, moringa boosts fertility and in females, it shows abortive and contraceptive activity!17
- Moringa does not work well with blood thinning medications. Ask your doctor if you are prescribed any such drugs.18
A daily dose of moringa is essential to keep you healthy. As anything in excess is bad, have this green too in moderation.
References [ + ]
|1, 3.||↑||Sabale, Vidya, Vandana Patel, Archana Paranjape, Chitra Arya, S. N. Sakarkar, and P. M. Sabale. “PHCOG REV.: Plant Review Moringa Oleifera (Drumstick): An Overview.” Pharmacognosy Reviews [Phcog Rev.] 2, no. 4 (2008): 7-13.|
|2.||↑||Rockwood, J. L., B. G. Anderson, and D. A. Casamatta. “Potential uses of Moringa oleifera and an examination of antibiotic efficacy conferred by M. oleifera seed and leaf extracts using crude extraction techniques available tounderserved indigenous populations.” International Jounal of Phytotherapy Research 3, no. 2 (2013): 61-71.|
|4.||↑||Obulesu, M., and Dowlathabad Muralidhara Rao. “Effect of plant extracts on Alzheimer’s disease: An insight into therapeutic avenues.” Journal of neurosciences in rural practice 2, no. 1 (2011): 56.|
|5, 16.||↑||HE, Min, and Yin-feng HE. “Cathartic Effects of Moringa Oleifera in Mice.”Inner Mongolia Medical Journal 12 (2009): 005.|
|6.||↑||Singh, Brahma N., B. R. Singh, R. L. Singh, D. Prakash, R. Dhakarey, G. Upadhyay, and H. B. Singh. “Oxidative DNA damage protective activity, antioxidant and anti-quorum sensing potentials of Moringa oleifera.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 47, no. 6 (2009): 1109-1116.|
|7.||↑||Ali, Atif, Naveed Akhtar, and Farzana Chowdhary. “Enhancement of human skin facial revitalization by moringa leaf extract cream.” Postepy dermatologii i alergologii 31, no. 2 (2014): 71-76.|
|8.||↑||Barminas, J. T., Milam Charles, and D. Emmanuel. “Mineral composition of non-conventional leafy vegetables.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 53, no. 1 (1998): 29-36.|
|9.||↑||Okereke, Chioma J., and Joyce O. Akaninwor. “The protein quality of raw leaf, seed and root of Moringa oleifera grown in Rivers State, Nigeria.” Scholars Research Library Annals of Biological Research 4, no. 11 (2013): 34-38|
|10.||↑||Ferreira, Paulo Michel Pinheiro, Davi Felipe Farias, José Tadeu de Abreu Oliveira, and Ana de Fátima Urano Carvalho. “Moringa oleifera: bioactive compounds and nutritional potential.” Revista de Nutrição 21, no. 4 (2008): 431-437.|
|11.||↑||Goswami, Sumanta Kumar, Mohammed Naseeruddin Inamdar, Shekhar M. Dethe, Giligar M. Gururaj, Rohitash Jamwal, Anirban Bhaskar, Deepak Mundkinajeddu, and Amit Agarwal. “Erectogenic and Aphrodisiac Property of Moringa oleifera: Involvement of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Enzyme.”Phytotherapy Research (2016).|
|12.||↑||Prabsattroo, Thawatchai, Jintanaporn Wattanathorn, Sitthichai Iamsaard, Pichet Somsapt, Opass Sritragool, Wipawee Thukhummee, and Supaporn Muchimapura. “Moringa oleifera extract enhances sexual performance in stressed rats.” Journal of Zhejiang University Science B 16, no. 3 (2015): 179-190.|
|13.||↑||Ples, Michael, and Howell Ho. “Comparative Effects of Moringa Oleifera Lam. Tea on Normal and Hyperglycemic Patients.” Ehealth International Journal.|
|14.||↑||Hamza, Alaaeldin A. “Ameliorative effects of Moringa oleifera Lam seed extract on liver fibrosis in rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 48, no. 1 (2010): 345-355.|
|15.||↑||Al‐Said, Mansour S., Ramzi A. Mothana, Mohammed A. Al‐Yahya, Ali S. Al‐Blowi, Mohammed Al‐Sohaibani, Atallah F. Ahmed, and Syed Rafatullah. “Edible Oils for Liver Protection: Hepatoprotective Potentiality of Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil against Chemical‐Induced Hepatitis in Rats.” Journal of food science 77, no. 7 (2012): T124-T130.|
|17.||↑||Sethi, N., D. Nath, S. C. Shukla, and R. Dyal. “Abortifacient activity of a medicinal plant “Moringa oleifera” in rats.” Ancient science of life 7, no. 3-4 (1988): 172.|
|18.||↑||Satish, A., Sudha Sairam, Faiyaz Ahmed, and Asna Urooj. “Moringa oleifera Lam.: Protease activity against blood coagulation cascade.” Pharmacognosy research 4, no. 1 (2012): 44.|