Gond Sohjana/ Moringa Gum Benefits And Uses In Ayurveda

Moringa Oleifera is a Miracle plant and has a long history of being used in India as a traditional herbal medicine apart from being used in food. Its roots have a taste similar to horseradish and so it is also sometimes called Horseradish tree. Widely available in Indian markets by the name of Drum stick, Moringa is also cultivated all over the world due to its tolerance for severe conditions like drought and mild frost. This plant is native of India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gum extracted form Moringa barks possess qualities that can do wonders for human health. Not just Moringa gum but all parts of Moringa are used to treat different disorders and that is the reason it is such a considered such a miraculous tree.

Nutritional profile of Moringa is also stunning. It is abundant in vitamins, essential phytochemicals and minerals. It contains:

  • 7 times the amount of Vit C that is present in Oranges
  • 15 times Potassium present in Bananas
  • 14 times iron present in Beef
  • 25 times iron present in Spinach
  • 10 times Vit A present in Carrot
  • 17 times calcium present in milk
  • 6 times antioxidants than Goji berries
  • 9 times protein present in yogurt.

Phytosterols which are helpful in the formation of oestrogen and other essential hormones are also present in Moringa. PUFA (Poly unsaturated fatty acids) present in Moringa help to reduce cholesterol. Its seed oil has 76% PUFA by composition which is very healthy.

How Is Moringa Gum / Sohjana Gond Made?

Moringa Gum is an exudate that is extracted from the stem or bark of Moringa Oleifera. When it is freshly extracted, it is white in colour. After drying, its color changes to reddish brown or even sometimes as brownish black. It is one of the naturally occurring polymers whose uses are currently being explored in food and pharmaceutical fields. On exposure to water, it swells and gives a viscous consistency. 

Other Names

It is called by different names in different places, some of which are below:

  • Orissa and Bengal- Sajina
  • Bihar- Sehjan
  • Tamilnadu- Moringai
  • Arango
  • Marango
  • Clarifier tree
  • Malunggay
  • Jacinto
  • Kelor tree
  • Chinto Borrego
  • Arbol de las Perlas
  • Ben Aile

Uses Of Moringa Oleifera Gum:

Pharmaceuticals

Moringa gum is a hydrophilic plant polymer which is dried and powdered to form pharmaceutical excipients like tablet binders, suspending agents, gels, thickeners and stabilizers. Naturally occurring gums are far better than synthetic gums and also show better drug delivery patterns in pharmacokinetics. Muco-adhesion and adhesion enhancer properties of gum are deemed helpful in better drug oral bioavailability. Furthermore, they are cheaper, easily biodegradable and non-toxic in nature and thus less harming to human and environment. Adverse effects are also less common with naturally occurring gums

Culinary Uses

It is best for use in puddings, confectioneries, baked items, jellies, ice-cream, sauces, and meats and recipes wherever water retention is desirable for favourable outcome of the recipe.

Water Purification

Water soluble proteins present in Moringa gum help coagulate impurities present in water and so it is also used to purify water. It is also able to isolate gram positive and negative bacterial cells by flocculation. Also it is a bio-absorbent for extraction of Cadmium.

Moringa seed is also a naturally occurring coagulant used to purify water since a long time. Cakes made from seed are used to purify water too especially removing salt from seawater.

As A Fertilizer

Seeds cake made from Moringa seeds after oil has been extracted from it is used as fertilizer too. No examples are seen where Moringa gum is used as fertilizer though.

As A Medicine

Moringa Gum and roots have been used to apply topically (on skin) to heal wounds, abscesses, warts, gingivitis and snakebite as it has potent anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Fabric Printing

Moringa gum or Sohjana gum is used in Calicoprinting. Calicoprinting is a nature-friendly method of dyeing colours and designs on natural cotton based fabrics. Sohjana gum promotes better adhesion of dye. 

Breast Feeding

Its oral intake is generally considered safe for the intent of increasing milk production in breastfeeding women. However studies are still under process to know its safety profile for infants. So always consider seeking advice from Ayurvedic practitioner prior to its use in such cases.

Cosmetics

Botanical peptides present in Moringa Oleifera help in purifying skin and hair, prevent aging processes in skin and protects from contaminants in the environment. Presence of Vit A and E help to keep skin supple, healthy and smooth and benefits hair growth too. Plus its nature of forming a gel-like consistency with water is exploitable in creating cosmetic products that retain moisture, extracts pollutants and adheres well to the skin (in a way similar to aloe Vera gel).

Nutritional Fortification

Fortification of food items with Moringa/ Sohjana gum will help deliver great nutritional benefits to general population and starving less fortunate poor people. High levels of Vit A, B2, B6 and C, calcium, potassium and protein can help as good a nutritional supplement. So far it has been added successfully to Chocolates and Halawa tahinia (a sweet confectionary from Middle East). Further experiments are going on about food fortification in different ways. It is an effective tool to fight malnutrition.

Machine Lubricant

Some machines are also using Moringa gum as natural lubricants.

Immunity Booster

Since Moringa plant has immunomodulatory property, it is also great to help boost immunity (especially the leaves).

Benefits of Moringa Gum

  • It is beneficial in reducing conditions of swelling and inflammation. Thus it is used in swollen mouth and gum diseases, 
  • Boosts immune system
  • Increases milk production
  • Acts as an aphrodisiac to increase libido.
  • Antioxidant nature is beneficial in making cosmetics and skincare products.
  • Malnutrition is combatable with the great nutritional profile of Moringa and its products.
  • As Moringa plant enhances Oestrogen levels, it relieves annoying Menopausal symptoms like hot flushes and sleeping issues related to menopausal hormonal status.
  • Skin infection and dandruff is treated with Moringa due to its antibacterial and antifungal powers.
  • It was used to treat snakebite in olden times by local application but no evidence is present for its use lately.
  • Treats anaemia.
  • Controls high blood pressure and high sugar levels.
  • Protection from Cancer is also a property but further researches are going on.

Properties of Moringa Gum

Moringa plant has been found to carry 92 beneficial elements including 9 essential amino acids, 18 other amino acids, 46 antioxidants and 36 anti-inflammatory compounds. Broad spectrum of its properties and actions is listed below:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Extracts from leaves and roots of Moringa Oleifera have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity at molecular level by the method of inhibition of inflammatory signalling pathways. 
  • Antifungal
  • Antibacterial: Different parts of the plant of Moringa possess potent antibacterial activity against most notorious bacteria like Shigella, S. pyogens, V. cholera, E.coli, B.cereus, P. vulgaris, S. aureus, K. Pneumonia, Streptococcus B Hemolytica, S. lutea. Moringa gum is also directly applied on open wound as it works against wound bacteria. Some activity is also seen against enteropathogens (intestinal-pathogens) and viruses like HIV, Epstein Barr Virus and HSV-1.
  • Immunomodulatory: Moringa also reduces cyclophosphamide which is responsible for suppression of immunity in the body. Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent by nature which inhibits DNA synthesis in target cells and thus supresses immune responses. This makes Moringa immunomodulatory in nature. 
  • Cardio-protective: N- α-L Rhamnopyranosyl Vincosamide found in Sohjana Gond/ Moringa gum protects heart function as is found in the Bark of the tree. Alkaloids and flavonoids present in bark and gum help to control both blood pressure and levels of ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme).
  • Neuro-protective: The leaves of Sohjana are shown in studies to promote neuronal survival and outgrowth which makes this plant a neuro-protector (or healthy for nervous system). Also it is deemed helpful for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. High Magnesium levels in Moringa give a boost to brain and psychological functions.
  • Anti-oxidant: Presence of compounds like Beta-carotene, Vit C, phenolic acids, kaempferol and quercetin is seen in various parts of Moringa Oleifera’s root and shoot system. All of these compounds are helpful in maintaining anti-oxidative processes in the body. Thus this tree as a whole exhibits anti-oxidant activity.
  • Anti-tumour and Anti-cancer property
  • Acts as a natural abortifacient: though not very reliable, it has been used in past for abortion as it accentuates uterine contractions in women.
  • Blood booster: Moringa plant has been used to treat iron deficiency anaemic states in children and pregnant women, thanks to its nutritional profile.

Side Effects Or Caution

  • Root, Bark (and so Moringa gum too) and flowers of Moringa are known to contract uterus in women and have been used in olden times to induce abortion. So pregnant women should avoid intake of any Moringa product.
  • Breastfeeding women:  It is used to increase breast milk production in mothers as a popular home remedy. Not much information is available to support its use on breastfeeding infant so use should be judicious and only after consultation with the expert practitioner.
  • As for children, it may be possibly safe to take it orally for short periods till age of 2 months but expert opinion must be sought.
  • Roots of Moringa have a toxic compound named Spirochin and so it is not safe to be taken orally. However no evidence is there for the presence of toxic compound in Moringa bark or gum. 
  • Moringa products may lower blood pressure and so Ayurvedic doctor must be consulted before starting its use with antihypertensive medications.
  • Similarly Moringa products may lower blood sugar levels and hence should be taken very cautiously with other diabetic medications. Sometimes blood sugar may fall too low due to added effect of Moringa on diabetic medications as they also cause fall in blood sugar. 
  • Medicines like Itraconazole, Triazolam, Lovastatin, Fexofenadine and Ketoconazole are majorly metabolized in liver. Their therapeutic concentrations and side effects may be effected by the use of Moringa products. So it is advisable to consult an expert. 
  • Men: Moringa has estrogen enhancing properties and so its excess use in men may result in estrogen- testosterone imbalance and feminine feature development. Hence appropriate doses for Men must be consulted from an expert if at all Moringa products are to be taken.

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Swati

Writer & Blogger, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and CTO Turiya Infotainment Private Limited I am an Ayurveda enthusiast and have a deep love for everything natural. I am also a software engineer by degree and now I work as a full time blogger on Honey Fur! I have been learning about Ayurvedic principles for past 7 years now and have completed certificate courses from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy. The courses I have completed are: Ayurveda For Women Care: A course which deeply dives into women health problems like menorrhea, leucorrhea, amenorrhea. It also gives a detail study of child birth and pregnancy care, pre and postpartum. Ayurvedic Cosmetology: This is a lecture and video course which deeply dives into Skin Care, Hair Care, Eye & Oral Care & Common Issues and solutions pertaining to the same.

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