Moringa Oleifera belongs to a drought-resistant family of tree known as Moringaceae. It is also known as Moringa or drumstick tree. It is a fast-growing tree generally found in tropical or subtropical regions of South Asia. India is the largest producer of moringa. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are a few other places where moringa is found and cultivated. It is also known as saijan in India.
It is a deciduous tree which can reach up to a height of 10 to 12m and a 45 cm trunk diameter. The tree has an open crown of hanging, weak branches. The leaves build up a feathery foliage of compound leaves. The flowers are fragrant and hermaphroditic. In seasonal cool areas, flowering occurs between April and June. The fruit is a three-sided brown capsule of 20 to 45 cm size which holds dark brown, globular seeds. The fruit is usually hanging from its branch.
The immature seed pods are called drumsticks. They are commonly consumed in South Asia. They are usually boiled and then consumed with curry.
Properties And Nutritional Information
- Moringa contains vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B-6, folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, potassium, iron ,magnesium, phosphorus, zinc.
- Moringa oil is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and diuretic.
- Besides it is also antispasmodic, anti-choleric, antifungal, anti-hypertensive, anti-tumour and immune stimulant.
- It also exhibits aphrodisiac, antidiabetic, tonic, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant property.
- Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Madhura (slightly sweet)
- Vipaka – Katu
- Veerya – Ushna (hot)
- Gunas – Laghu (it is light and easy to digest), Rooksha (it exhibits dryness), Teekshna (its taste is strong, piercing)
- Other qualities: Kshara – Has alkaline properties
- Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree
- Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odour
According to Ayurveda, there are 3 types of moringa:
- Shyama – Black variety
- Shveta – White variety
- Rakta – Red variety
- For adults, 2 tablets 2 times per day with water after meals. The daily dose of each tablet contains 123µg(microgram) RE Vitamin A. One has to consume such 4 tablets in a day
- For a healthy person, moringa can be consumed in a dose of 3 to 5 gm, once or twice a day, before and after bed.
Moringa powder can also be taken in the form of decoction.
- 1 tbs of powder added to two cups of water.
- Boil till the water reduces to half a cup and consumed.
Uses Of Moringa Oleifera
- Moringa is used in India and Africa in programs to fight malnutrition.
- Oil from moringa seeds is used in perfume, hair care products and foods like ‘sambhar’.
- Oil from moringa seeds is also used in making machine oil.
- Moringa is used for the treatment of asthma, diabetes, obesity.
- Used against symptoms of menopause.
- Used against snakebites.
- Increases BMI of a person.
- Covers vitamin A deficiency.
- Fights against bacterial infections.
- Protects the liver and helps in regeneration.
- Improves eye health.
- Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. Thus is believed to help in weight loss.
- Sahjian is also used to reduce swelling
- Increases sex drive in both man and woman.
- Moringa leaves can be used to make fruit smoothies.
- It can be used as a replacement for spinach in most recipes.
Before we get down to the benefits of this plant. Let us look at the constituents of this plant.
Per 100 grams (or 1.25 cups) of the dried leaves, the plant often has up to 2500 mg of Calcium (vs 276 mg in a glass of whole milk), up to 40 mg of iron (vs 0.81 mg in a cup of spinach), up to 200 mg of Vitamin C (vs 112.9 mg in an orange), and up to 2500 picograms of Vitamin A (vs 1068 in a cup of chopped carrots).
It is referred to as shigru, which translates to “an arrow.” Hence, like an arrow moringa molecules travel fast and penetrate deep into tissues of the body, reaching all the way down to the bone marrow.
Moringa As A Rich Protein Source
Moringa trees overcome protein deficiency in various developing countries. The leaves, stem and bark of the tree contain a high amount of crude proteins and amino acids compared with soybean.
Moringa is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. Moringa leaves contain all important amino acids. It is very uncommon for a vegetable to contain all of these amino acids. Moringa contains these amino acids in a good proportion, hence they are very useful to our bodies.
Moringa contains arginine and histidine, two amino acids which are very essential for infants. They are especially significant for infants who are unable to make enough protein for their growth requirements.
Moringa Against Malnutrition
Mal-nutrition could be an important drawback in the developing world, with serious consequences for human health and socio-economic development. Malnutrition is a condition that results from insufficient supply of proper balanced diet and nutrients or by eating only a certain fixed amount of nutrient which may lead to a lack of other nutrients in the body.
Moringa is a readily available solution to the problem of malnutrition. The leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree are already a food source throughout West Africa and other regions of the tropics and sub-tropics. A study was conducted on 34 people of ages between 13-30 years.
They were intervened with the value-added supplement “Moringa Oleifera” for three months. They were given three meals per day to make it a part of their diet for the observation period. Each recipe contained approximately 15 g of dried Moringa powder. After the observation period, out of 34, 3 females achieved a normal Hb level(Hemoglobin) of 12 g/dl. Overall, 94% of cases of the study showed an improvement of 1.8 g/dl in Hb level after the intervention. This showed that moringa could help against malnutrition.
Click here for detailed observations recorded.
Why use Moringa before sleep?
- Before going to bed, soak Moringa leaves in hot water for 15 minutes. Later drink it before you sleep.
Moringa has plenty of nutrients that make it really healthy for getting better sleep during the night. It helps in digestion, by moving food easily in the digestive system. Hence it is recommended to be taken before sleeping.
Moringa For Skincare
The seeds of the moringa tree are ground and separated to produce pale-yellow non-drying oil. The oil obtained is known as “ben oil” or “behen oil”. It has a high concentration of behenic acid which is a fatty acid. The antioxidants act as a natural preservative. It is a stable oil which is resistant to rancidity. This gives it a reported shelf life of five years.
It is nutrient-dense, high in palmitoleic, oleic, and linoleic acids moisturizing fatty acids and vitamins A and C. Moringa oil is a good absorbent. This oil when applied on the skin improves the appearance and radiance of the skin. The collagen in the skin is built by Vitamin A. Vitamin C reduces fine lines and wrinkles. The healing and anti-inflammatory benefits come from vitamin E.
If you want to have a beautiful and glowing skin in the morning follow the steps below:
- Take 1-ounce moringa oil
- Mix the above with 1-ounce rosehip oil
- Add one and a half tablespoons evening primrose oil to the above mixture
- Finally, add 4-5 drops (or 2 teaspoons) castor oil.
- Blend the mixture well and then apply on the skin.
The mixture has to be applied to the skin before sleep. This solution moisturizes the skin and is also a treatment for wrinkles. It also reduces dark under-eye circles.
Eczema is a condition where the skin becomes itchy, red, cracked, and rough. This leads to the formation of patches on the skin. This condition arises because the skin is not able to get all the required nutrients to keep itself moisturised. Hence, we use moringa for the treatment.
Moringa leaves possess anti-inflammatory, anodyne, ophthalmic, anthelmintic properties and they are rich in Vitamin A, C and D. The dried leaves of this plant provide sufficient nutrients to the cure eczema.
Moringa Is Anti Ageing
- It rejuvenates dull, tired, and ageing skin.
- Antioxidants and nutrients help fight against skin tissue damage and lead to the formation of wrinkles.
- Moringa oil prevents sagging of facial muscles and helps improve the appearance of wrinkles.
- Cytokinins are plant hormones that help promote cell growth and delay damage and destruction of skin tissues.
- Collagen is stabilized by Vitamin C. This helps reduce fine lines and repair damaged skin cells.
Moringa For Liver Health
The liver is a detoxifier, which means that it filters everything that enters our body and can cause damage to the body. Moringa Oleifera supports the functioning of the liver. It helps in the following:
- Research has shown that moringa helps to heal and prevents liver damage. It also protects from hepatitis.
- Moringa restores and regenerates the liver enzymes in a damaged liver.
- Moringa is well established as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The liver produces glucose and bile, both of which help digestion run properly. When your diet is filled with items, such as lots of sugar and unhealthy fats, the liver is not able to break all of that too quickly. It releases glucose back into the blood to make space for junk food and gets taxed during the process. Moringa helps reduce inflammation in the liver and the body so that the liver can work more effectively to handle its many tasks.
Moringa Against HIV
This is a virus spread through the body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system. To be specific it destroys the T-cells of the body. This leads to weakness in the body that drains the immunity of the body to various diseases. To fight against this virus, HIV positive patients have to undergo a standard antiretroviral therapy.
This therapy consists of the combination of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease. ARV also prevents onward transmission of HIV.
Moringa comprises of several nutrients and components which when consumed with ARV drugs proved to increase the immunity of the immune system. The leaf powder was used on those who were undertaking the antiretroviral therapy already. 80% of the patients benefited from the consumption of moringa. Click on this link to have further knowledge of how moringa and ARV work together
Moringa Against Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a major global public health problem that can lead to serious complications if controlled poorly. The condition raises blood glucose (sugar) levels, also known as hyperglycaemia, which may cause damage to the eye, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels.
Keeping blood sugar along with bodyweight under control through a combination of a healthy lifestyle and standard treatment is an important part of diabetes management. Moringa Oleifera contains beneficial antioxidants and bioactive compounds that can help treat type 2 diabetes.
One study involving 30 women reported that consuming 7 grams of moringa leaf powder every day for three months helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels 13.5 per cent, on an average.
Side Effects And Precautions:
- Uterine contractions usually occur during periods or while pregnancy. Moringa should not be used during that time. Moringa shows laxative properties which leads to rapid contractions of the stomach and uterine walls. This may lead to stomach upsets and heartburn as seen in many cases.
- Lower blood pressure and slow heart rate because of the alkaloids in the plant. This may cause a person to faint.
- Chemical isolated from roasted moringa seeds causes cell mutation.
- Moringa has anti-fertility qualities and is not suggested for pregnant women.
- Moringa might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use moringa.
- Moringa leaf is safe when taken by mouth. It has been used for children up to 2 months of age.