Table of Content
1. What is Moringa?
2. Effective Remedy for Malnutrition
3. Treating Asthma
4. May Prevent and Treat Cancer
5. Lowers Blood Sugar
6. Reduces Cholesterol levels
7. Anti-inflammatory Agent
8. Antioxidants
9. Reduces Anemia
10. Anti-Depressant
11. May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity
12. Balances Hormones
13. HIV/AIDS
14. Lactation Enhancer
15. Nourishing for the Hair and Skin
16. Precautions and Potential Side Effects
17. Pregnant Women Should Avoid Moringa
18. Side Effects of High Doses

What is Moringa?

Did you know that Moringa has 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 yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach? This little leaf can do wonders to your body.

Moringa can be found in both tropical and non-tropical climates, and is drought and water stress resistant, making it is adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions.

Every part of this plant is edible and every part is wholesome and healthy in its own way.

Moringa is also known by a variety of common and regional names.

Language

Names

English

Drumstick Tree, Miracle Tree, Ben Oil Tree, Horseradish Tree

Bengali

Sajna

Gujarati

Suragavo

Hindi

Shajmah, Shajna, Segra

Malayalam

Sigru, Moringa, Muringa

Marathi

Sujna, Shevga

Oriya

Munigha, Sajina

Punjabi

Sanjina, Soanjana

Sanskrit

Sobhan jana

Tamil

Murungai

Telugu

Sajana

For centuries, the Moringa plant has been an integral part of Indian culture, treasured for its many health benefits. In fact, the plant has been used for more than 4000 years! Today, the world is finally catching on to the many advantages of Moringa, the "miracle tree." Here are 14 benefits of this nutritious plant.

Effective Remedy for Malnutrition

Moringa contains 92 essential nutrients, some of which are vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese. Moringa is highly nutritious not only for their protein content – it is also packed with Vitamin B (Thiamine, Riboflavin), Vitamin B6, Phosphorous, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc. Due to its nutrient properties, studies have proven that it is an effective remedy for malnutrition. It is ironic how India and Africa are one of the largest producers of Moringa but have the highest number of malnourished people.

Here is the nutrition table for every 100 grams of Moringa:

Nutrients

Nutritional Value

Vitamin C

8.6mg

Potassium

471mg

Magnesium

35.1mg

Manganese

0.119mg

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Calcium

99.1mg

Iron

1.3mg

Phosphorous

70.8

Thiamine (B1)

0.103 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

0.112 mg

Vitamin B6

0.129 mg

Zinc

0.85 mg

Read the full nutrition information for Moringa here.

Treating Asthma

Difficulty in breathing? Don’t worry, we got you!

Asthma is condition in which a person has difficulty in breathing because of the extra mucus formed in their airways.

This study has shown that 3gs of Moringa powder for 3 weeks can reduce Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and significantly improve symptom score and severity of asthmatic attacks. The four basic symptoms of bronchial asthma (dyspnoea, wheezing, chest tightness, and cough) was reduced considerably. According to Ayurveda, the two doshas (Vata and Kapha) combine with each other that leads to the blocking of the respiratory passage. This is known as Swasa Roga (Asthma) and taking Moringa balances Kapha and removes excess mucus from the lungs.

May Prevent and Treat Cancer

Cancer is a disease caused when cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues. There are more than a 100 types of cancers and treating it is complicated as it depends on the patients and how responsive their bodies are.

An investigation took place where Moringa extracts were tested on different cancer cell lines which revealed that the Moringa root core effectively promoted cell death of all types of cancer. Breast cancer is said to be the most common cancer with colorectal cancer coming next. This study verifies that Moringa leaf and root extracts act as anti-cancer agents against breast and colorectal cancers and can further be used to develop new drugs for treatment.

Lowers Blood Sugar

The humble Moringa can help in lowering your blood sugar.

An experiment consisting of 6 diabetic people discovered that including 50 grams of Moringa leaves in their meals reduced blood sugar levels by 21%. However the effect Moringa has on diabetes is yet to be discovered.

ALERT!
Do not combine Moringa and other diabetes medications to avoid blood sugar levels becoming too low.

Reduces Cholesterol levels

Moringa is extremely low in fats and contains no harmful cholesterol. Animal Studies have found that it can lower serum cholesterol and also have a Hypolipidemic effect.

Hypocholesterolemic agents are cholesterol lowering agents and Moringa is said to possess this feature. This element was examined in which the research again established that the Moringa extracts lowered cholesterol levels significantly.

Anti-inflammatory Agent

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm. Prolong inflammation can lead to chronic diseases-cancer, heart diseases, DNA damage etc.

A research paper found out that extracts of Moringa oleifera exhibited the significant anti-inflammatory effect compared to other substances/drugs (saline and dexamethasone) used in this experiment. Moringa is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of isothiocyanates. Along with this, a report from National Institute of Health verified that Moringa alleviates low-grade inflammation associated with chronic diseases. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that act against free radicals in your body. As mentioned before, Moringa is a rich source of β-carotene, protein, vitamin C, calcium and potassium which is a good source of natural antioxidants. Quercetin and Chlorogenic acids are two antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure and moderate blood sugar levels respectively.

Research shows that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of Moringa leaf powder every day for three months increased blood antioxidant levels in postmenopausal women. Another study conducted by National Centre for Biotechnology Information pointed out that moringa extracts displayed a strong antioxidant activity which should be considered for chemoprevention.

Reduces Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks the needed hemoglobin, which leads to reduced oxygen flow to the organs. The body needs iron to make hemoglobin and Moringa is the best plant-based, iron-rich food for the job.

A 100-gram serving of Moringa provides more iron than the same serving of kalespinach, or swiss chardThis research paper used Moringa powder for children below 2 years of age to reduce anemia. As a result, consistent intake of moringa powder significantly reduced the prevalence of anemia cases by half and worked better in moderate anemia cases.

Anti-Depressant

Moringa can keep you happy! It can be used as a natural anti-depressant and because it contains little doses of fluoxetine, it promises potential development of alternative therapies for treating depression.
Moringa is also likely to lead to secretion of serotonin, the happy hormone. Moringa is healthy for the brain and proved to improve memory impairments, cell death and hippocampal neuron loss (a common neuropathological feature in old age).

May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity

Arsenic is a chemical element and long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking water and food can cause cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Quite a few studies have been proven to reduce the effects of arsenic-induced toxicity.

Balances Hormones

Hormones are released from glands in your endocrine system and play an extremely important role as they help in metabolism, reproduction, growth, mood, and sexual health. If the body produces too little or too much of a hormone, you can fall awfully ill which can lead to serious health problems.

Menopause results in the loss of bone and muscle density, low levels of estrogen which leads to bladder leakage, increase in the risk of heart diseases and negatively affects the body’s cholesterol levels. Mood swings are also very common among menopausal women. An experiment was conducted in which postmenopausal women took a combination of Moringa leaf powder and amaranth leaf powder for three months. The antioxidants present in Moringa prevented complications during post menopause. Additionally, consuming Moringa powder also resulted in a decrease of oxidative stress and fasting blood glucose level for the women. There was also an increase in hemoglobin levels. All in all, Moringa was shown to improve menopausal symptoms.

Thyroid is a gland placed in the neck and one of its most important function is to release hormones to control metabolism. Too little or too much secretion can develop to a disorder hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, respectively. 

A study was conducted to check where the Moringa leaf extracts could regulate thyroid hormones in mice. It was more effective in female mice than men and concluded that the leaf extracts may be used for the regulation of hyperthyroidism. As mentioned before, 100 gm of Moringa has 600 mcg of zinc and this element plays an important role in thyroid production.

HIV/AIDS

HIV causes AIDS and interferes with the body's ability to fight infections.

A study directed by International Journal of Infectious Diseases confirmed that Moringa has the potential of improving the CD4 count of HIV positive patients. Moringa also increases BMI and albumin levels which significantly lowers the risk of developing a severe case of HIV.

Lactation Enhancer

In the Philippines, Moringa is known as ‘mother’s best friend’ because of its utilization to increase woman’s milk production. The amount of breast milk produced by lactating mothers who were given 350mg of Moringa every day showed a significant increase in breast milk in comparison to lactating mothers who were given a placebo.

Nourishing for the Hair and Skin

Flawless skin, here we come!

Moringa does not only have medicinal properties but also possess nutrients that benefit skin and hair. Moringa is high in Vitamin A, which is an important nutrient in achieving healthy skin. It encourages the skin to renew itself and blur blemishes and pigmentation. Its anti-inflammatory properties help limit breakouts which culminates to smooth and soft skin. It is suitable for sensitive skin and is especially beneficial for dry skin. It is rich in oleic acid which keeps the skin hydrated and prevents it from trans-epidermal water loss. Moringa also possesses anti-aging properties due to the abundance of antioxidants and helps removes wrinkles and sagging of facial skin.

Have a Good Hair Day, Everyday!

The iron content present in Moringa helps carry oxygen from the blood all the way to the scalp, supplying fresh oxygen to the roots. Poor hair growth and hair fall are the common problems and Moringa has just the right nutrient, Zinc. It revitalizes damaged hair follicles and the presence of all 9 amino acids in Moringa build healthy hair strands. The free radicals in our body damage the hair, making it weak and grey. Moringa contains both Vitamins C & E that are antioxidants and help fight and repair the damage that has been caused.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects

Consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using the tablets or supplements. Read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions. There is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Moringa. However, it depends on several factors such as the consumer’s age, health, and several other conditions.

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Moringa

As with many herbs and supplements, the use of moringa during pregnancy remains an area of uncertainty. While animal studies have hinted at the possibility of abortifacient effects at high doses, the lack of human-based research makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Until we have a clearer understanding of how this plant may impact fetal development, it is best for pregnant individuals to err on the side of caution and consult with a trusted healthcare provider before introducing moringa into their routine.

Side Effects of High Doses

Consuming Moringa in higher doses is known to cause genotoxic damage (chemical agents that damages the genetic information within a cell causing mutations) and may promote cancer formation whereas higher doses cause overt organ damage (mostly liver and kidneys). This is mostly seen with the toxicity of seeds and leaves do not seem to show the same effect.

Editor's Note: Unable to find fresh Moringa plants near you? Try the Moringa tablet from Isha Life!