The Amazing Health Benefits of Moringa Oleifera

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The Amazing Health Benefits of Moringa Oleifera

Moringa oleifera, also referred to as the drumstick tree (for the appearance of its seed-pods), is one of those traditional plants that have been eaten and used as herbal remedies long before Western science took an interest in them.

Grown in the Himalayan region, South-East Asia and Africa, this plant recently became a big hit amongst European and American consumers. The evidence of multiple health benefits, as well as its nutritional value, make it a sought after product and health supplement.

Taken by mouth or applied to the skin, moringa has plenty to offer. Read about it and you’ll understand why many swear by this hardy plant and call it the ‘miracle tree’.

Every Part of Moringa can be Used

When it comes to moringa, nothing is wasted. Every part has its uses and applications. Leaves, flowers, seeds, pods, oil and even roots and bark all have a valuable place in the kitchen and/or the medicine cabinet.

Moringa leaves

The most nutritious part of the plant, leaves can be eaten as spinach or powdered and added to sauces and soups. They are rich in vitamins (B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene), minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium) and proteins.

Moringa leaves have been used in some parts of the world as an affordable way to combat malnutrition. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and are also known to treat diarrhea.

Applied to the skin, they help wounds and bites heal, and help relieve some skin conditions. Due to the high iron content, moringa leaves have been traditionally used to cure anemia.

Moringa flowers

Flower juice and tea are drunk in some places to help with urinary problems or alleviate the symptoms of cold.

Immature seed pods

The immature seed pods, called “drumsticks are used as a green vegetable in Asian curries and soups and remain high in vitamin C even after being boiled. They are also good sources of potassium, manganese, magnesium and dietary fiber. If eaten raw, pods are believed to promote liver and spleen health, relieve joint pain and act as a de-wormer. You can read more about the seeds in my article: The Unbelievable Health Benefits of Moringa Seeds.

Moringa seeds

Seeds can be removed from the pods and prepared as peas or nuts. The seeds have a potent antibiotic effect and are particularly good for fighting Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

They have also been traditionally used as an anti-epileptic remedy, and they are believed to help with arthritis, rheumatism, gout, cramps, sexually transmitted diseases and boils.

Moringa seed oil

Edible oil can be extracted from mature seeds, and used as food supplement or cosmetic product for skin and hair. It also has a potential as bio-fuel. Moringa oil can be used for the same ailments as the seeds.

Moringa roots

The taste of the roots resembles horseradish and has given yet another name to the moringa tree – horseradish tree. They are rich in polyphenols and are used as a condiment. However, there is some controversy around the safety of eating moringa root (see the section on ‘Side effects and precautions’).

The roots and bark contain all the properties in higher concentrations, so more care needs to be taken if they are used as medicines.

Moringa Gum

The gum is a diuretic and has also been known for its uses with asthma.


Why Moringa is a True Superfood

Moringa leaves are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and more. One hundred grams of dry moringa leaves contain (according to the Messiah College Department of Nutrition and Dietetics):

15 times the calcium of milk (Moringa contains 1897 mg calcium and milk contains 125 mg calcium)

4 times the potassium of banana (Moringa contains 1467 mg potassium and yogurt contains 358 mg potassium )

3 times the vitamin A of carrot (Moringa contains 3639 mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents , RAE, and carrot contains 1019 mcg RAE)

12 times the iron of spinach (Moringa contains 32.5 mg iron and spinach contains 2.7 mg iron)

With moringa’s popularity on the rise, the science on this tree is growing as well. Research brings some promising findings, but more studies are required to establish the effects and potential uses in medicine.

Moringa’s health promoting compounds include moringine, moringinine, the potent antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and various polyphenols.

Here is some of the research on this amazing tree:

1. Anti-inflammatory effect

Different parts of moringa show a powerful anti-inflammatory response and research into the plant’s potential in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, is ongoing.

Related post: The Ultimate Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

2. Antioxidant activity

Numerous studies confirmed the plant’s antioxidant potential. The antioxidant activity is attributed to quercetin and kaempferol, which are the compounds of phenols. Extracts of Indian origin moringa showed the highest antioxidant activity.

Related post: Discover These 9 Amazing Antioxidants for Great Health and The Best Antioxidant No One Told You About & How It Affects Your Health


3. Anti-cancer potential

The plant contains several anti-cancer compounds. Moringa leaves extract has been used in studies on cancer cells and has showed cytotoxicity (the ability to kill cancer cells). Moringa seed extract has also had an effect on liver cancer (here are its 10 symptoms), as suggested by 2003 study.  A research work published in PLoS One. 2014 suggesting that the treatment of cancer cells with Moringa significantly reduced cancer cell proliferation and invasion. 

4. A role in diabetic prevention

Studies on rats showed that moringa leaves can reduce blood sugar levels. A study published in 2007 found that glucose levels are reduced within 3 hours of consuming the leaves. Anti-diabetic effects (hypoglycemic activity) are the result of polyphenol action and it is expected that the plant will be commercialized for the use in pharmaceutical industry. Make sure to read my post about the 13 best foods to control type 2 diabetes.

5. Analgesic activity

Moringa also works as a natural pain killer. Analgesic activity has been shown on animals, and traditionally, the leaves have been used to treat headaches.

6. Liver protector

Several studies showed moringa’s positive effect on the liver. Leaves, roots and flower are particularly praised for the hepatoprotective activity (the ability to prevent damage to the liver). Moringa seed extract also has a healing effect on liver fibrosis and one study showed that liver fibrosis reduced after regular consumption of the seed extract. Make sure you are aware of the early signs of liver damage.


7. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Moringa tree is also known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevents water retention (it acts as a diuretic).

Other Uses of Moringa

This tree truly is versatile and nothing is left to rot. The seed cake left after oil extraction can be used to fertilize crops and also as a water purifier. Leaf powder can be used for hand washing and in Jamaica, a blue dye is sourced out of moringa sap.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

According to webMD, moringa has been used safely in doses of up to 6 grams a day for up to 3 weeks. Even if virtually all parts of the plant are consumed in regions where moringa grows, webMD warns against eating the root as it may contain a toxic substance.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised to avoid moringa due to insufficient information on its safety. The popular belief about moringa’s ability to increase milk flow in lactating mothers has not been proven yet.

Where to Get Moringa Products

You can get the moringa oil (like this one) as well as other parts of the moringa tree at your local natural health store and online. Always make sure that the products you buy are organically certified (like this one and like this one) to ensure they are pesticide free.

Read my other related articles:

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13 Responses to The Amazing Health Benefits of Moringa Oleifera

  1. Frank J Huezo says:

    I have recommended many friends to take the Moringa seeds for diabetes..In all cases it has shown positive results…

  2. Carole Wisda Nier says:

    Moringa is an extraordinary plant with over 92 verifiable nutrients! Studied by Johns Hopkins, the NIH, Sloan Kettering and around the world, this plant fills the nutritional gap of our highly processed diets. I drink it daily thru Zija’s Smart Mix as does my family. In 4 years I have taken 1 of my 4 kids to one sick visit at the doctor’s! It has been life changing and I won’t go a day without it! If you’d like to learn more and experience the health benefits yourself, feel free to reach out!

  3. Sheryl Kendall says:

    Dose Moringa contain vitamin k, wanting to know if this can be eaten when people are on warfarin

  4. petunia makola says:

    can moringa help with blood circulation

    • Jenny says:

      According to this study, moringa helps to treat high blood pressure and chronic dyslipidemia (abnormally elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood) which are major causes of atherosclerosis, a vascular disease affecting blood circulation in the coronary, central, and peripheral arteries.

  5. vadivel says:

    i am resided in south india(tamil nadu). moringa leaves are grown in our state(tamil nadu) also. will this have the same effect as grown in the himalayan region.shall we take this leaves.i badly need your advice on this.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      The moringa tree is grown mainly in tropical and subtropical areas including India, but you need to make sure you’ve identified the correct tree. The benefits of moringa are the same, no matter where it is grown.

  6. shumaila says:

    we admit its effectiveness but why its hard to get it/from where it will be easily available//

    • Jenny Hills says:

      There are supplements of moringa (capsules or leaf powder) that you can buy at health food stores or online.

  7. Clara Kangowa says:

    I am in Western Province of Zambia and I have been eating the Oleifera Moringa Seed of upto five to six every morning before anything else. I have noticed that my belly / tammy is flatterning each day.

    What are other benefits that I don’t know?

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