Moringa is sometimes called the Ben oil tree . Interestingly, in 2008 the National Institute of Health referred to moringa (moringaoleifera) the "plant of the year," due to the fact that moringa has the ability to avert several environmental challenges and provide for many unmet human needs."
Moringa is well researched with over 1,300 studies, articles and reports on health benefits. There are over 100 names attached to this plant globally. Moringa is native to the Himalayan mountains and parts of India and Africa, with over 90 protective compounds, including isothiocyanates, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Different varieties of the moringa tree also exist in the plant family Moringaceae. These are fast-growing, tall, leafy plants that produce flowers or pods. The species (moringaoleifera) is the most consumed globally. Moringa is normally found in Ayurveda medicine for over 4,000 years and gained a good reputation for fighting inflammation and combating various effects of malnutrition and aging, earning the nickname "the miracle plant." The Wikipedia(2021) also notes that, Moringatree is regarded as a "tree of life" or "miracle tree" by some because it is arguably the most nutritious source of plant-derived food discovered on the planet. Modern scientists and some missionary groups have considered the plant as a possible solution for the treatment of severe malnutritionand aid for those with HIV/AIDS.
The following are some generic benefits of moringa:
inflammation-related diseasescancerdiabetesanemialow energy and fatiguearthritis and other joint pain, such as rheumatismallergies and asthmaconstipation, stomach pains and and diarrheaepilepsystomach and intestinal ulcers or spasmschronic headachesheart problems, including high blood pressurekidney stonesfluid retentionthyroid disorderslow sex drivebacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections
All parts of the plant from leaves, seeds, flowers/pods, stem and roots - is nutritious and contain medicinal properties. For medicinal purposes, drying and grinding down moringa leaves, is where most of the antioxidants are found.
Moringa contains unusualphytonutrients, such as flavonoids, glucosides, glucosinolates, zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol.
Apart from the leaves, the pods of the moringa tree also contain seeds that hold a healing type of oil. Oil from moringa seeds can be used to cook with or put directly onto the surface of the body.
According to fdc.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods. One cup of fresh, chopped leaves (21 grams) contains:
Protein: 2 gramsVitamin B6: 19% of the RDAVitamin C: 12% of the RDAIron: 11% of the RDARiboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDAVitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDAMagnesium: 8% of the RDA
Also an organization by nameKuliKuli, harvests moringa plants in Africa, gram for gram, the plant contains:
Two times the amount of protein of yogurtfour times the amount of vitamin A as carrotsthree times the amount of potassium as bananasfour times the amount of calcium as cow's' milkseven times the amount of vitamin C as oranges
Scientific studies on benefits
1. Loaded with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
Levy(2020) agrees that Moringaoleifera seems to have similar abilities as certain conventional drugs, only it doesn't pose the same level of risk for experiencing side effects.
For instance, a report by Razis et al.,(2014) assert that moringa contains a mix of essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), carotenoid phytonutrients (the same kinds found in plants like carrots and tomatoes), antioxidants, such as quercetin, and natural antibacterial compounds that work in the same way as many anti-inflammatory drugs.
Other studies revealed that these compounds protect the heart, act as a natural circulatory stimulant, and possess antitumor, anti-epileptic, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, antihypertensive and antidiabetic effects.
Moringa powder is also high in many powerful anti-aging compounds that lower the effects of free radicals, oxidative stress and inflammation. These are associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases, such as stomach, lung or colon cancer; diabetes; hypertension; and age-related eye disorders.
2. Balances Hormones and Slows the Effects of Aging
One study by Kushwaha et al., (2014) examined the effects of moringa and amaranth leaves (Amaranthus tricolor) on levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in menopausal adult women. The aim is to investigate if these plants could help slow the effects of aging by balancing hormones naturally.
The method includesLevels of antioxidant status, serum retinol, serum ascorbic acid, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and malondialdehyde, analyzed before and after supplementation, along with fasting blood glucose and haemoglobin levels.
The study result demonstrated that supplementing with moringa and amaranth caused significant increases in antioxidant status along with significant decreases in markers of oxidative stress. Better fasting blood glucose control and positive increases in haemoglobin were also found.
Some studies also confirmed moringaimproves sex drives. For instance, one study by Prabsattroo et al.,(2015), hypothesized that Moringaoleifera leaves might improve male sexual dysfunction induced by stress and concluded that, M. oleifera is a potential aphrodisiac.
A previous study conducted by Shukla et al.,(1988) investigated moringaoleifera roots for its estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, progestational and antiprogestational activities. Oral administration of extract progressively increased the uterine wet weight of bilaterally ovariectomized rats. The study found that moringa work like a natural birth control compound . This means that moringa is a natural aphrodisiac and help reduce rates of conception. Additionally, a study by Bethesda (MD) in the National Library of Medicine (US); 2006 also found that, it can boost the immune system during pregnancy and also increase breast milk production/lactation.
3. Supports Digestive Health
One study conducted by Minaiyan et al.,(2014) found that, moringa prevent or treat stomach ulcers, liver disease, kidney damage, fungal or yeast infections (such as candida), digestive complaints, and infections.
Moringa oil helps boost liver function, detoxify the body of harmful substances, such as heavy metal toxins. It might also be capable of helping fight kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, fluid retention/edema and diarrhea.
4. Blood Sugar Levels support
Levy (2020) explained that Moringa contains a type of acid called chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and allow cells to take up or release glucose (sugar) as needed. This gives it natural antidiabetic and hormone-balancing properties.
Aside from chloregnic acid, compounds called isothiocyanates that are present in moringa leaf have also been tied to natural protection against diabetes.
One study by William et al.,(2009) demonstrates that moringa had positive effects on blood sugar control and insulin levels in patients with diabetes when eaten as part of a high-carbohydrate meal.
Also, Al-Malkiet al.,(2015) study found that antidiabetic activities of low doses of moringa seed powder (50–100 milligrams per kilogram body weight) help increase antioxidant status and enzyme production within the liver, pancreas and kidneys of rats and prevent damage compared to control groups.
High levels of immunoglobulin (IgA, IgG), fasting blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) - three markers seen in diabetics - were also found to decrease as a result of moringa given to rats with diabetes.
Moringa also support weight management because it can improve insulin sensitivity and hormone balance, it may offer some advantages to those following a weight loss plan.
5. Keeps and Nourishes the Skin
Moringa oil helps retain skin's moisture, speed up wound healing, and soothe dry or burnt skin.For instance, Ali et al.,(2014)also found that moringa natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral compounds protect the skin from many forms of infections. common ways it is used on the skin include reducing athlete's foot, eliminating odors, reducing inflammation associated with acne breakouts, treating pockets of infection or abscesses, getting rid of dandruff, fighting gum disease (gingivitis), and helping heal bites, burns, viral warts and wounds.
Levy(2020) is also of the view that, the oil is applied directly to the skin as a drying, astringent agent used to kill bacteria, but at the same time, when used regularly it's known to act like a lubricant and hydrate the skin by restoring its natural moisture barrier. It's a common ingredient used in food manufacturing and perfumes because it prevents spoilage by killing bacteria - plus it has a pleasant smell and reduces odors.
6. Stabilize Mood and Protects Brain Health
As a high-protein food and a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, moringa supports neurotransmitter functions, including those that produce the "feel good" hormone serotonin.
One study by Debnath et al., (2011) also found that moringa is rich in antioxidants and compounds that may improve thyroid health, which makes it beneficial for maintaining high energy levels plus fighting fatigue, depression, low libido, moods swings and insomnia.
7. Support the Environment (Water and Topsoil)
Levy(2020) explained that, a noteworthy characteristic of the moringa plant is that it's capable of growing in depleted or dry soils where many other types of beneficial plants or trees cannot survive. This is precisely why certain undernourished populations living in third-world countries, such as Somalia or India, have benefited from it during times of famine.
Aside from providing important nutrients, it is used to help restore fertile soil, aid in forest restoration efforts and filter water.
One interesting use of the seeds is for water purification. Combining moringa with water helps impurities cling to the seeds so they can be removed, leaving behind better quality water that's lower in toxins.
Salt also seems to bind to moringa, which is beneficial for producing fresh-tasting water.
Dube, &Chingoma (2016) study also found that 0.2 grams of ground moringa seed can turn one liter of contaminated water into safe drinking water. This is due to the coagulating actions of certain ingredients in the plant that absorb bacteria.
Moringa side effects are still possible and may include:
lower blood pressure (Hence, those with low blood pressure should avoid moringa)slowed heart rateuterine contractions(pregnant women should avoid moringa)cell mutations when high amounts of seeds are consumedinterference with fertility(Those looking for babies should avoid it)
There's some evidence that the optimum dose for humans has been calculated to be 29 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Levy(2020) is of the view that, it's recommended that you start by taking half a teaspoon of dried moringa orally per day for three to five days, increasing your intake slowly over two weeks as you get acclimated to its effects.
Most people choose to take moringa every several days but not every single day for long duration of time, since it can cause laxative effects and an upset stomach when overused.
Most common ways to use moringa to get the best moringa benefits possible (Levy 2020):
Dried moringa leaves or moringa powder: It takes roughly seven pounds(3.2kg) of moringa leaves to make one pound of dried moringa powder(0.45kg). The leaves are considered the most potent parts of the plant, containing the most antioxidants and available macronutrients. Follow dosage directions carefully, taking up to six grams daily for up to three weeks at a time (which has been shown to be safe, according to studies).
Moringa tea: This type of moringa is made from dried leaves steeped in hot water, just like many other beneficial herbal teas. The most nutrient-dense types are organic and dried slowly under low temperatures, which helps preserve delicate compounds. Avoid boiling the leaves to help retain the nutrients best, and don't cook with moringa if possible.
Moringa seeds: The pods and flowers appear to have a high phenolic content along with proteins and fatty acids. These are the parts of the plant used to purify water and add protein to low-nutrient diets. Look for them added to creams, capsules and powders. The immature green pods of the plant are often called "drumsticks" and are prepared similarly to green beans. The seeds inside the pods are removed and roasted or dried just like nuts to preserve their freshness.
Moringa oil: The oil from seeds is sometimes called Ben oil. Look for it in natural creams or lotions. Keep the oil in a cool, dark place away from high temperatures or the sun.
Moringa vs. Matcha
Both of these superfoods have several things in common (Levy 2020):
They provide antioxidants, fight inflammation, slow down aging, protect brain and heart health, and increase immune function.
The two are similar in terms of their appearance and uses, since both are made into potent powders or teas.
They do have some notable differences when it comes to their nutrient profiles. While comparable in terms of calories, gram for gram moringa has more fiber, protein, calcium, sodium, vitamin C and vitamin A than matcha does.
One of the biggest differences between moringa and matcha green tea is in regard to amino acid concentration. Moringa leaves are a surprisingly great source of protein since they provide nine essential amino acids required for human protein synthesis: histidine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. This is one reason why organizations like the World Health Organization rely on moringa to supplement low-calorie diets and prevent deficiencies.
In matcha's defense, on the other hand, matcha tea (which contains roughly 15 times more active ingredients than any other conventional green tea) provides numerous antioxidants and high doses of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a type of powerful catechin that's known to protect brain health. Moringa is not known to provide EGCG, which means both plants used together can have even more benefits.
Moringaoleifera is an Indian tree that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
To date, studies show that Moringaoleifera may lead to modest reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol. It may also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and protect against arsenic toxicity.
Moringa leaves are also highly nutritious and should be beneficial for people who are lacking in essential nutrients. I used quality blendmoringa in all my products: Nyarkotey Hibiscus Tea for cardiovascular & general well-being, Mens formula for Prostate health & sex life and Women's Formula for hormonal balancing and general wellness.
The writer is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips, scientific herbs and healthy recipes in the world.
DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
The writer is an honorary Professor of Holistic & Naturopathic Medicine, chartered Management Consultant(ChMC), Researcher and President, Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine. Currently, LLB level 300 law student. Contact: 0241083423/0541234556
i. The Tree of Life(2021) to be accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life
ii. Abdull Razis AF, Ibrahim MD, Kntayya SB. Health benefits of Moringaoleifera. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(20):8571-6. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2014.15.20.8571. PMID: 25374169.
iii. Kushwaha, S., Chawla, P. &Kochhar, A. Effect of supplementation of drumstick (Moringaoleifera) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves powder on antioxidant profile and oxidative status among postmenopausal women. J Food SciTechnol 51, 3464–3469 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-012-0859-9
iv. Prabsattroo, T., Wattanathorn, J., Iamsaard, S., Somsapt, P., Sritragool, O., Thukhummee, W., &Muchimapura, S. (2015). Moringaoleifera extract enhances sexual performance in stressed rats. Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B, 16(3), 179–190. https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B1400197
v. Shukla S, Mathur R, Prakash AO. Antifertility profile of the aqueous extract of Moringaoleifera roots. J Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Jan;22(1):51-62. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(88)90230-9. PMID: 3352285.
vi. Bethesda(2006) Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet].National Library of Medicine (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501899/
vii. Minaiyan, M., Asghari, G., Taheri, D., Saeidi, M., & Nasr-Esfahani, S. (2014). Anti-inflammatory effect of Moringaoleifera Lam. seeds on acetic acid-induced acute colitis in rats. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(2), 127–136.
viii. Felicia William, S. Lakshminarayanan, Hariprasad Chegu(2009) Effect of some Indian vegetables on the glucose and insulin response in diabetic subjects.International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition https://doi.org/10.3109/09637489309017439
ix. Al-Malki AL, El Rabey HA. The antidiabetic effect of low doses of Moringaoleifera Lam. seeds on streptozotocin induced diabetes and diabetic nephropathy in male rats. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:381040. doi: 10.1155/2015/381040. Epub 2015 Jan 5. PMID: 25629046; PMCID: PMC4299558.
x. Ali, A., Akhtar, N., & Chowdhary, F. (2014). Enhancement of human skin facial revitalization by moringa leaf extract cream. Postepydermatologiiialergologii, 31(2), 71–76. https://doi.org/10.5114/pdia.2014.40945
xi. Debnath S, Biswas D, Ray K, Guha D. Moringaoleifera induced potentiation of serotonin release by 5-HT(3) receptors in experimental ulcer model. Phytomedicine. 2011 Jan 15;18(2-3):91-5. doi:
10.1016/j.phymed.2010.06.003. Epub 2010 Jul 16. PMID: 20637582
xii. Dube, D., &Chingoma, C. (2016). Removal of Heavy Metal Ions from Household Drinking Water Using Acacia Galpinii Seeds and Seed Pods. Journal of health & pollution, 6(12), 7–14. https://doi.org/10.5696/2156-9614-6.12.7