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The Magical Moringa By: Vanita Agarwal

Apr 13, 16
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Full Review of Moringa Oleifera from the California College of Ayurveda Medicine

Introduction

Growing up in India this humble tree grew in our backyard and it never caught my attention, though I always loved the vegetable that grew on it. As I  entered into the world of Ayurveda I learnt about  this most  nutritious  tree  in the world called Moringa  only to realize that this tree was a childhood friend that I had loved and this world famous Moringa was my backyard fried the drumstick tree or Sajana as we used to call it.

In this paper I will attempt to cover:

  • 1. What is Moringa?
  • 2. The Nutritional value of Moringa
  • 3. Johns Hopkins University research on Moringa
  • 4. Health benefits of Moringa
  • 5. The qualities of Moringa from an Ayurvedic perspective

1. What is Moringa?

According to Wikipedia Moringa, a native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. The name is derived from the Tamil word Murungai (முருங்கை) [1].

It contains 13 species from tropical and subtropical climates that range in size from tiny herbs to massive trees. The most widely cultivated species is Moringa oleifera, a multipurpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and cultivated throughout the tropics. M. stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than M. oleifera.

As Moringa spread from India to other tropical and subtropical areas, it adapted to local conditions. Over time, these thirteen distinct species of Moringa developed.

Scientific Classification of Moringa [1]:

Kingdom:         Plantae

(un-ranked): Angiosperms

(un-ranked): Eudicots

(un-ranked): Rosids

Order: Brassicales

Family: Moringaceae

Genus: Moringa

Scientific Names of the 13 different species of Moringa found in the world today [1]

  1. M. oleifera (Northwestern India)
  2. M. arborea (Kenya)
  3. M. borziana
  4. M. concanensis
  5. M. drouhardii (Southwestern Madagascar)
  6. M. hildebrandtii
  7. M. longituba
  8. M. ovalifolia
  9. M. peregrine
  10. M. pygmaea
  11. M. rivae
  12. M. ruspoliana
  13. M. stenopetala

Common Names of Moringa:

While native to the Indian sub-continent, Moringa has spread throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. There are over 400 names of Moringa around different parts of the world. Here are some of the many common names of Moringa: [3]

English Drumstick tree, Horseradish tree, Mother’s Best Friend, Radish tree, West Indian ben
French Bèn ailé, Benzolive, Moringa, Ben oléifère, Arbre radis du cheval
German Behenbaum, Behenussbaum, Flügelsaniger Bennussbaum, Pferderettichbaum
Italian Sàndalo ceruleo
Portuguese Acácia branca, Cedra (Brazil), Marungo, Moringuiero, Muringa
Spanish  Árbol del ben, Ben, Morango, Moringa

Africa

Benin: Patima, Ewé ilé

Burkina Faso: Argentiga

Cameroon: Paizlava, Djihiré

Chad: Kag n’dongue

Ethiopia: Aleko, Haleko

Ghana: Yevu-ti, Zingerindende

Kenya: Mronge

Malawi: Cham’mwanba

Mali: Névrédé

Niger: Zôgla gandi

Nigeria: Ewe ile, Bagaruwar maka

Senegal: Neverday, Sap-Sap

Somalia: Dangap

Sudan: Ruwag

Tanzania: Mlonge

Togo: Baganlua, Yovovoti

Zimbabwe: Mupulanga

Asia

Bangladesh: Sajina

Burma: Dandalonbin

Cambodia: Ben ailé

India: Sahjan, Murunga, Moonga;

Hindi: Sahijan, Munaga, Sajana,

Sindhi: Swanjera

Tamil: Murungai, Murunkak-kai, Morunga

Telegu: Tella-Munaga, Mulaga, Sajana

Kannada: Nugge mara, Nugge kayi;

Oriya: Munigha, Sajina

Punjabi: Sanjina, Soanjana

Rajasthani: Lal Sahinjano

Sanskrit: Sigru Shobhanjan, Sobhan jana, Shobanjana

Konkani/Goa: Moosing, Mosing

Malayalam: Sigru, Moringa, Muringa, Murinna, Morunna

Marathi: Sujna, Shevga, Shivga

Indonesia: Kalor

Pakistan: Suhanjna

Philippines: Mulangai

Sri Lanka: Murunga

Taiwan: La Mu

Thailand: Marum

Vietnam: Chùm Ngây

South and Central America, Caribbean

Brazil: Cedro

Colombia: Angela

Costa Rica: Marango

Cuba: Palo Jeringa

Dominican Republic: Palo de aceiti

El Salvador: Teberinto

French Guiana: Saijhan

Guadeloupe: Moloko

Guatemala: Perlas

Haiti: Benzolive

Honduras: Maranga calalu

Nicaragua: Marango

Panama: Jacinto

Puerto Rico: Resada

Suriname: Kelor

Trinidad: Saijan

Oceania

Fiji: Sajina

Guam: Katdes

Palau: Malungkai

2. The Nutritional value of Moringa

The tree is often referred to as “The Miracle Tree” and “Mother’s Best Friend”, which is understandable when you learn that Moringa contains a unique combination of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that make it one of the most nutritious plants ever discovered. Much of the plant is edible by humans or by farm animals.

Moringa leaves

Moringa leaves are exceptionally nutritious. When fresh, they are rich in vitamin C. When carefully dried, gram for gram Moringa leaves contain 24 times the iron of spinach, 16 times the calcium of milk, 9 times the vitamin A of carrots, many times the potassium of bananas, and every essential amino acid your body needs.

The leaves are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and minerals [4]. 100g of fresh Moringa leaves have 8.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C [5].

 

Antioxidants

Moringa contains 46 powerful antioxidants – compounds that protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals by neutralizing them before they can cause cellular damage and disease [6].

 

Vitamins

Vitamin A (Alpha & Beta-Carotene), B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, Folate (Folic Acid), Biotin [6]

 

Minerals

Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Fluorine, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Sulphur, Zinc [6] .

 

Essential Amino acids

Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine [6].

 

Non-essential Amino Acids

Alanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Cystine, Glutamine, Gl ycine, Histidine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine [6]

Vitamin & Mineral Content of Moringa: [9]

All values are per 100 grams of edible portion.

Fresh Leaves Dried Leaves
Carotene (Vit. A)* 6.78 mg 18.9 mg
Thiamin (B1) 0.06 mg 2.64 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.05 mg 20.5 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.8 mg 8.2 mg
Vitamin C 220 mg 17.3 mg
Calcium 440 mg 2,003 mg
Calories 92 cal 205 cal
Carbohydrates 12.5 g 38.2 g
Copper 0.07 mg 0.57 mg
Fat 1.70 g 2.3 g
Fiber 0.90 g 19.2 g
Iron 0.85 mg 28.2 mg
Magnesium 42 mg 368 mg
Phosphorus 70 mg 204 mg
Potassium 259 mg 1,324 mg
Protein 6.70 g 27.1g
Zinc 0.16 mg 3.29 mg

Amino Acid Content of Moringa [9]:

All values are per 100 grams of edible portion.

Fresh Leaves Dried Leaves
Arginine 406.6 mg 1,325 mg
Histidine 149.8 mg 613 mg
Isoleucine 299.6 mg 825 mg
Leucine 492.2 mg 1,950 mg
Lysine 342.4 mg 1,325 mg
Methionine 117.7 mg 350 mg
Phenylalinine 310.3 mg 1,388 mg
Threonine 117.7 mg 1,188 mg
Tryptophan 107 mg 425 mg
Valine 374.5 mg 1,063 mg

3. Johns Hopkins University research on Moringa [10] :

Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D. , Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences produced a very important research paper titled: “Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1.” In this seminal work, they began the process of sifting through the scientific work on Moringa, as well as the traditional, as well as anecdotal evidence for Moringa’s nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic. In doing this, they found that much of the scientific evidence is beginning to support much of the traditional and anecdotal information.

4. Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa preparations have been cited in the scientific literature as having antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic activities, as well as having considerable efficacy in water purification by flocculation, sedimentation, antibiosis and even reduction of Schistosome cercariae titer.

Antibiotic Activity: This is clearly the area in which the preponderance evidence—both classical scientific and extensive anecdotal evidence—is overwhelming. The scientific evidence has now been available for over 50 years, although much of it is completely unknown to western scientists [10].

Phytochemicals and 6 Carbon Sugar Rhamnose: An examination of the phytochemicals of Moringa species affords the opportunity to examine a range of fairly unique compounds. In particular, this plant family is rich in compounds containing the simple sugar, rhamnose, and it is rich in a fairly unique group of compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. For example, specific components of Moringa preparations that have been reported to have hypotensive, anticancer, and antibacterial activity [10].

Antibacterial and Antifungal:

Subsequent elegant and very thorough work, published in 1964 as a PhD thesis by Bennie Badgett (a student of the well-known chemist Martin Ettlinger), identified a number of glycosylated derivatives of benzyl isothiocyanate [5] (e.g. compounds containing the 6-carbon simple sugar, rhamnose) (8). The identity of these compounds was not available in the refereed scientific literature until “re-discovered” 15 years later by Kjaer and co-workers (73). Seminal reports on the antibiotic activity of the primary rhamnosylated compound then followed, from U Eilert and colleagues in Braunschweig, Germany (33, 34). They re-isolated and confirmed the identity of 4-(α-L-rhamnopy-ranosyloxy)benzyl glucosinolate [6] and its cognate isothiocyanate [2] and verified the activity of the latter compound against a wide range of bacteria and fungi. (Jed W. Fahey, 2005) This is clearly the area in which the preponderance of evidence—both classical scientific and extensive anecdotal evidence—is overwhelming. The scientific evidence has now been available for over 50 years, although much of it is completely unknown to western scientists [10].

ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF MORINGA STENOPETALA [12]

The main objective of this study was to isolate compounds from root wood of Moringa stenopetala and evaluate antibacterial activities of the isolated compounds. Three of the compounds namely cholest-5-en-3-ol, palmitic acid and oleic acid showed highest activity against E. coli. The observed antibacterial activities of the crude extract and the isolated compounds could justify the traditional use of the plant for the treatment of different bacterial infections [12].

  1. pylori is an omnipresent pathogen of human beings in medically underserved areas of the world, and amongst the poorest of poor populations worldwide. It is a major cause of gastritis, and of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and it is a major risk factor for gastric cancer (having been classified as a carcinogen by the W.H.O. in 1993). Cultures of H. pylori, it turned out, were extraordinarily susceptible to [2], and to a number of other isothiocyanates (37, 60). These compounds had antibiotic activity against H. pylori at concentrations up to 1000-fold lower than those which had been used in earlier studies against a wide range of bacteria and fungi. The extension of this finding to human H. pylori infection is now being pursued in the clinic, and the prototypical isothiocyanate has already demonstrated some efficacy in pilot studies [10].

Cancer Prevention:

Since Moringa species have long been recognized by folk medicine practitioners as having value in tumor therapy, we examined compounds for their cancer preventive potential. Recently, these compounds were shown to be potent inhibitors of phorbol ester (TPA)-induced Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation in lymphoblastoid (Burkitt’s lymphoma) cells [10].

In one of these studies, they also inhibited tumor promotion in a mouse two-stage DMBA-TPA tumor model. In an even more recent study, Bharali and colleagues have examined skin tumor prevention following ingestion of drumstick (Moringa seedpod) extracts. In this mouse model, which included appropriate positive and negative controls, a dramatic reduction in skin papillomas was demonstrated. Thus, traditional practice has long suggested that cancer prevention and therapy may be achievable with native plants.

Role of Moringa on Gastric Ulcer and its use as Antacid

  • • A study on Moringa leaf extract to determine its effect on experimental gastric ulceration concluded that the leaf extract can be beneficially used in the management of gastric ulcer in contrast to the classical antacid, antihistamine or surgical treatment [13].
  • • Two weeks of treatment with Moringa Oleifera healed gastric ulcer damage [14].

Role of Moringa on Muscle cramps and Sleep

  • • Moringa is found to significantly reduces muscle cramps, decreases body temperature, and enhances sleep [15].

Benefits to Heart, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Atherosclerotic Plaques:

  • • Moringa has been found to have significant benefits to heart [16]. Water extract of Moringa Oleifera leaves possesses strong antioxidant activities. The prevention of artherosclerotic plaque formation in artery as well as the lipid lowering activity of the extract has been shown in rabbit fed with high cholesterol diet. M. Oleifera has high therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
  • • It works as well as Simvastatin in decreasing cholesterol, triglycerides, and inhibiting the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. [17]
  • • Moringa strengthens heart function : Prevented structural damage and prevented increases in lipid peroxidation in the myocardium [8]

Anti-fungal

  • • Moringa seeds have shown anti-fungal ability and effectiveness against athlete’s foot [18].

Prevention of Kidney stone

  • • Moringa water extract has shown to prevent kidney stone formation and dissolve already performed stones [19].

Liver fibrosis

Oral administration of Moringa seed extract in rats reduced liver damage as well as symptoms of liver fibrosis. Moringa seed extract can act against CCl(4)-induced liver injury and fibrosis in rats by a mechanism related to its antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory effect and its ability to attenuate the hepatic stellate cells activation. [20]

Cancer/Chemo preventative property of Moringa

  • • A study was conducted to find out the Chemomodulatory effect of hydro-alcoholic extract of Moringa oleifera, Lam, on hepatic carcinogen metabolizing enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice. The findings are suggestive of a possible chemo preventive potential of Moringa oliefera drumstick extract against chemical carcinogenesis [21]

Blood glucose level and Diabetes

  • • Variable doses of M. oleifera leaves aqueous extract administered orally to test the glycemic control, haemoglobin, total protein, urine sugar, urine protein and body weight. The dose of 200 mg kg(-1) decreases blood glucose level (BGL) of normal animals by 26.7 and 29.9% during FBG and OGTT studies respectively. In sub and mild diabetic animals the same dose produced a maximum fall of 31.1 and 32.8% respectively, during OGTT. In case of severely diabetic animals FBG and PPG levels were reduced by 69.2 and 51.2% whereas, total protein, body weight and haemoglobin were increased by 11.3, 10.5 and 10.9% respectively after 21 days of treatment. Significant reduction was found in urine sugar and urine protein levels from +4 and +2 to nil and trace, respectively. The test result concluded that the study validates scientifically the widely claimed use of M. oleifera as an ethnomedicine to treat diabetes mellitus. [22]

5.  Ayurvedic Perspective on Moringa

According to Vaidya Mishra [23] , an Ayurvedic expert from the Shankha Vamsa lineage, Moringa is  both a  detoxifier as well as a tonic. Whenever we detox we also use a tonic, Moringa does both. It purifies and nourishes the blood and muscle tissues, the bone marrow and the fat tissues of any toxins at the same time nourishing it.

Ayurvedic Properties/Guna of Moringa

Taste (rasa) Pungent/katu, tikta/bitter
Virya Heating/ushna
Post Digestive metabolic state (vipak): pungent/katu
Guna Light/laghu, dry/ruksha, sharp/tikshana, fluid/sara
Prabhava • Liver cleanser (yakrit sodhana)
• Purifies Blood (rakta sodhaka)
• enhances spleen/pliha
• Removes worms (krmi), acidic toxins from the blood (amavishagni)
• Relieves from tumor (gulma)
• Strengthens heart/ hridya, fat metabolism and weight loss/Medovishahara and regulates cholesterol.

In Bhava Prakash (16 Century canonical textbook of Ayurveda), part one, authored by Bhav Mishra and Rajnigantu, Moringa is called sigru, or “it moves like an arrow” in the body because it rapidly penetrates the tissues and has deep absorption and detoxification ability, making its effect on the deep bone marrow tissue swift and effective.

The Nature and Qualities of Moringa:

  • • Hot and sharp, but also bitter and pungent
  • • Pacifies vata and kapha (vatakaphapaha)
  • • Pacifies kledaka kapha and increases appetite
  • • Reduces stiffness in the jaw, relaxes the jaw and thus helps in opening the mouth (mukhajadyahar)
  • • It is appetizing (rucyo)
  • • Increases digestive flame (dipano)
  • • It cleans and clears the ulcers (vranadosanut). Vrana means ulcer.
  • • Bitter (Sigrustiktah)
  • • Pungent and heating (Katuscosnah)
  • • Reduces kapha-predominant swelling and water retention, which can also lead to vata imbalance. Swollen ankles are a common complication of excess weight. Three-four drumstick pods per meal begin to reintroduce the intelligence so the body does not accumulate toxins in the lower extremities. Over time, little by little, the swelling will go down and not return. (Kaphasophasamirajit)
  • • Creates an unfriendly environment for the growth of tumors
  • • Destroys krimi and amavisha (Krgyamvisa)
  • • By binding the toxins in the blood, and cleaning the blood (due to its hot potency and pungent taste and post digestive taste), it relieves long term burning in the skin and stomach.
  • • Prevents and rids the tumors. When the clean blood circulates, growth of tumors are prevented and also if tumors are present, gets rid of the tumors (gulmanut).
  • • The Ayurvedic verse on Moringa by Bhav prakash of Bhav Mishra cites Moringa as removing acidic toxins from the blood, cleansing the blood. This in turn lowers bad cholesterol and improves cholesterol metabolism. This correlates the power of Moringa in lowering bad cholesterol and improving cholesterol metabolism.
  • • Kidney Stones: Ushna/hot and thikshana/pungent quality of Moringa stimulates the kidneys, dysuria, increases quantity of urine, removes excess acidity in urine and calculi.

Dr. JV Hebbar, summarizes several interesting facts about Moringa in his blog [24].

Sanskrit Synonyms:

  • • Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree
  • • Shigru – has strong, piercing qualities
  • • Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odor
  • • Aksheeva – relieves intoxication
  • • Mochaka – helps to cure diseases

Classical categorization:

  • According to Charaka Samhita
  • Krimighna – group of herbs that are used to treat worm infestation.
  • Svedopaga – group of herbs that are used in Svedana (preparatory procedure for Panchakarma)
  • Shirovirechanopaga – group of herbs that are used in Nasya Panchakarma treatment
  • Katuka Skandha – group of herbs that have pungent taste.
  • According to Sushruta and Vagbhata – Varunadi Group of herbs. (Hence it is an ingredient of a famous Ayurvedic medicine – Varanadi kashayam)

Medicinal Qualities of drumstick tree:

  • Rasa(taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (bitter)
  • Guna(qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (strong, piercing)
  • Vipaka – katu (Moringa undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.)
  • Veerya – Ushna – hot potency.
  • Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata

Varieties of Moringa:

There are three varieties of Moringa explained in Ayurvedic text books.

  1. Shyama – black variety
  2. Shveta – white variety and
  3. Rakta – red variety. It is also called as Madhu shigru.

Black variety of drumstick tree is the most common. Its qualities are:

Katu – pungent,

Teekshna – piercing, sharp, strong

Ushna – hot in potency

Madhura – slightly sweetish

Laghu – light to digest

Deepana – improves digestion

Rochana – Improves taste,

Rooksha – dry

Kshara – Has alkaline properties

Tikta – Bitter

Vidaahakrit – causes burning sensation

Sangrahi – Useful to check diarrhoea

Shukrala – Improves semen quantity and sperm count

Hrudya – Good for heart. Cardiac tonic

Pittarakta prakopana: Increases Pitta and vitiates blood. Hence, drumstick should not be consumed during bleeding disorders, duriner menstruation and for people with pimples and Pitta related skin diseases.

Chakshushya – Improves vision, good for eyes.

Kaphavataghna – Decreases imbalanced Kapha and Vata

Vidradhi – Useful in abscess. It helps in quick wound healing of abscess, upon oral intake and external application as paste.

Shvayathu – It is a good anti inflammatory herb.

Krimi – useful in worm infestation in stomach and in wounds.

Meda – helpful to decrease fat and obesity.

Apachi – Useful in relieving carbuncles.

Visha – Anti toxic. Has detoxifying action.

Pleeha – Useful in spleen related diseases

Gulma – Useful in abdominal bloating and tumors

Ganda Vrana – Useful in lymphadenitis

White variety Moringa Properties: It is quite similar to the black variety.

Dahakrut – causes burning sensation

pleehaanaam vidradhim hanti – useful in splenic abscess

VraNaghna – helps in quick wound healing

Pittaraktakrut – Increases Pitta and vitiates blood.

 

The Red Variety, called as Madhushigru

Deepana – Increases digestion power.

Sara – promotes proper bowel movements.

Moringa Leaves and Bark

The juice extract of drumstick leaves and bark are very useful in relieving pain. They act as natural analgesic. They are used both for oral intake and also for external application as paste.

In Indian household, the leaves are used to prepare Chutney and Sambar (a south-indian soup).

Moringa seeds uses: Moringa seeds are called as Shweta Maricha

Chakshushya – good for eyes

Vishanashana – anti toxic

Avrushya – do not have aphrodisiac qualities

Nasyena Shiro Artinut – When used for Nasya (in the form of powder or oil), it helps to relieve headache.

 

Moringa for Headaches:

Moringa leaves paste applied externally, or used as vegetable helps to relieve headache.

Its seed powder, in the form of nasya treatment cures headache.

 

Moringa for Diabetes: Many studies have been conducted to prove the anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant effect of Moringa.

Oil prepared with Moringa is useful to relieve headache, pungent, useful in skin diseases and diabetes.

Moringa flowers are useful in intestinal worms. It balances Pitta and kapha.

Moringa Side Effects:

As explained above, it causes increase in burning sensation and is pungent. Hence, people with gastritis or sensitive stomach should use this vegetable carefully.

It is not ideal to be taken during periods, since it increases Pitta and vitiates blood.

It is also not ideal to be taken during bleeding disorders.

 

Moringa during pregnancy and lactation:

Moringa fruit is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Hence it can be used during pregnancy. But Moringa leaves, root bark and flowers are not indicated during pregnancy.

 

Conclusion:

Thus we can see that this humble tree is loaded with wonderful qualities that can be used for healing by an Ayurvedic practitioner. Several scientific studies have documented its great properties of healing like anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal etc. and has been used successfully for hundreds of years.

 

Bibliography/References:

  1. Moringa, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa.
  2. Moringa Tree, http://goodnewsaday.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/a-moringa-tree1.jpg.
  3. Trees for Life International, Moringa Tree. http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/Moringa.
  4. Janick, Jules, Robert E. Paull, The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. (CABI, 2008): 509-510.
  5. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Barbara Stadlmayr, U Ruth Charrondiere, et. al, West African Food Composition Table,   http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2698b/i2698b00.pdf
  6. Moringa Tree Foundation, Seeds of Hope, www.Moringatreefoundation.org 
  7. Trees for Life International, Moringa Tree. http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/Moringa
  8. Fuglie LJ, The Miracle Tree: Moringa oleifera: Natural Nutrition for the Tropics (Church World Service, Dakar 1999),   68.; revised in 2001 and published as The Miracle Tree: The Multiple Attributes of Moringa,  172
  9. All Things Moringa, H. Hiawatha Bey, www.allthingsmoringa.com
  10. Jed W. Fahey, S., “Moringa Oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1.” (Vols. Copyright: ©2005 Jed W. Fahey. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center, 725 N. Wolfe Street, 406 WBSB, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21205-2185.]
  11. Moringa Leaves, Angela Mays, http://angelamays.com/files/2012/10/Moringa-overz-Benefits-Leaves.jpg
  12. Mulugeta Tesemma, Legesse Adane, Yinebeb Tariku, Diriba Muleta and Shiferaw Demise. “Isolation of Compounds from Acetone Extract of Root Wood of Moringa stenopetala and Evaluation of their Antibacterial Activities” Research Journal of Medicinal Plant, 7(1) (2013):  32-47
  13. Debnath S, Biswas D, Ray K, Guha D., “Moringa oleifera induced potentiation of serotonin release by 5-HT(3) receptors in experimental ulcer model”,  Phytomedicine, 18(2-3) (2011-Jan-15):  91-95
  14. Debnath, S., & Guha, D., “Role of Moringa oleifera on enterochromaffin cell count and serotonin content of experimental ulcer model,” Indian Journal of Exp Biol, 45(8), (2007):   726-731.
  15. Pal, S., Mukherjee, P., Saha, K., M., P., & Saha, B. “Studies on some psychopharmacological actions of Moringa oleifera Lam.”, Phototherapy Research, 10(5), (1996):  402-405.
  16. Chumark, Khunawat et. al, “The in vitro and ex vivo antioxidant properties, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities of water extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves,” Journal of Ethno-Pharmocology 116(3) (2008 Mar 28):  439-446.
  17. Jain, Pankaj G. et al., “Hypolipidemic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam., Moringaceae, on high fat diet induced hyperlipidemia in albino rats,” Rev. bras. farmacogn., 20(6) (Dec 2010):  969-973.
  18. Chuang, P. H., Lee, C.W., Chou, J. Y., Murugan, M., Shieh, B.J., & Chen, H. M. “Anti-fungal activity of crude extracts and essential oil of Moringa oleifera Lam.”, Bioresour Technol, 98(1), (2007):  232-236.
  19. Karadi, R. V., Gadge, N. B., Alagawadi, K. R., & Savadi, R. V., “Effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. root-wood on ethylene glycol induced urolithiasis in rats.” J Enthnopharmacol, 105(1-2), (2006): 306-311.
  20. Hamza AA, “Ameliorative effects of Moringa oleifera Lam seed extract on liver fibrosis in rats.”

Food Chem Toxicol. 48(1), (2010 Jan):  345-355.

  1. Bharali R, Tabassum J, Azad MR, “Chemomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera, Lam, on hepatic carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice.”  Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 4(2) (2003 Apr-Jun): 131-139.
  2. Jaiswal D, Kumar Rai P, Kumar A, Mehta S, Watal G, “Effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves aqueous extract therapy on hyperglycemic rats,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 123(3) (2009 Jun 25): 392-396.
  3. Adhishakti LLC, Vaidya Mishra,  “Moringa Super Veggie”, http://issuu.com/vaidyamishra/docs/moringa_super_veggie
  4. Dr JV Hebbar, Moringa Benefits, Medicinal Usage and Complete Ayurveda Details, http://easyayurveda.com/2012/12/06/moringa-benefits-medicinal-usage-complete-ayurveda-details/ 
  5. Dr JV Hebbar, Easy Ayurveda, http://i0.wp.com/easyayurveda.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/shigru.jpg 

– See more at: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/MagicalMoringa#sthash.MlDPIpMU.dpuf

Moringa and nutrition

Apr 11, 16
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Habit of the moringa plantThe Moringa plant is being hailed as a way to combat famine and malnutrition – with good reason.  The leaves are an excellent source of plant protein, and at 27% is considered to have the highest protein ratio of any plant so far studied on planet earth.

It contains 18 amino acids, [including the 8 essential ones], 25 minerals and vitamins.  With regard to beta-carotene it has as much fibre as carrots but 4 times the beta-carotene content. Moringa also contains EFAs: omega 3,6 & 9, chlorophyll, various phenolics, over 46 naturally occurring antioxidants, and 36 anti-inflammatory compounds.  Impressive, don’t you agree?    Tiny leaves – tre[e]mendous power!

Moringa seed pods

  • 17 × more calcium than milk
  • 25 × more iron than spinach
  • 15 × more potassium than bananas
  • 10 × more vitamin A than carrots
  • 7 ×  more viamin C than oranges
  • 3 × more vitamin E than spinach
  • 9 × more protein than yoghurt [2 × than milk]

More than enough evidence to include it in one’s diet.

Moringa oil can be used for cooking [marinades, sauté, stir fry – flashpoint 200C], or as-is on salads and veg.  It can also be used in baking as a butter substitute, since it has a buttery flavour.  Try making popcorn with it and taste the buttery, nutty difference!

Nutritionally, moringa contains a rich and rare combination of zeatin [anti-ageing], quercetin [anti-cancer agent], beta-sitosterol [anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer], caffeoylquinic acid [anti-inflammatory, anti-flu], kaempferol [antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective].  For readers with a special interest in nutritional compounds the following may be of relevance:

  • Zeatin is a member of the cytokinin family, a class of phytohormones involved in various processes of growth and development in plants.
  • Quercetin is a type of plant-based chemical, or phytochemical, known as a flavonoid antioxidant, that has antiviral and anti-allergy effects.
  • Beta-sitosterol is a phytosterol that reduces blood cholesterol levels, and helps prevent male hair loss [in combination with Saw palmetto], and treats benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH].
  • Caffeoylquinic acids are cinnamate conjugates derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway, which protect vascular endothelial cells against oxidative stress.
  • Kaempferol is a polyphenol that is a type of flavonoid, known as a flavonol.  It is found in a number of foods consumed by humans, including Brussel sprouts, tea, grapefruit, broccoli, apples, onions, red wine, and many berries.  This compound has been found to have a protective effect on human health and studies suggest that it protects against heart disease and cancer.  Kaempferol was specifically identified as a food ingredient that lowered the risk of fatal heart disease in women.  Several different flavonols appear to have protective effects on human health.  Kaemferol is also a strong antioxidant, which helps to help prevent oxidative damage to cells and DNA.  It is thought to prevent arteriosclerosis by this mechanism.  Protecting DNA from oxidative damage can also help protect against cancer, by preventing mutations from occurring.

With Moringa nothing is wasted.  The seedcake remaining after extraction is used as fertiliser, so the cycle continues.

Moringa seed and water purification

Water purification by MoringaMoringa seeds have an invaluable impact on health and the environmental with regard to its unique ability to purify water.  The seeds treat water on two levels, acting both as a coagulant or flocculant, and an antimicrobial agent.  It is generally accepted that Moringa works as a coagulant due to positively charged, water-soluble proteins, which bind with negatively charged particles [silt, clay, bacteria, toxins, etc.] allowing the resulting ‘flocs’ to settle to the bottom or be removed by filtration.

The antimicrobial aspects of Moringa continue to be researched and findings support recombinant proteins both removing microorganisms by coagulation, as well as acting directly as growth inhibitors of the microorganisms.

While there is on-going research being conducted on the nature and characteristics of these components, it is accepted that treatments with Moringa solutions will remove 90-99.9% of impurities from water.  Wow!

Moringa and medicine

The medicinal uses are the stuff of legends, as can be seen below.  Conditions range from A-to-V, so to speak – from abrasions to viruses – and even more!

Moringa and breastfeeding

Moringa supports lactation

Abrasions/grazes, acidosis, anaemia, arthritis, bruises, burns, cancer, colitis, cuts, detoxicant [attracts toxins in blood and removes build-up via excretion], diabetes & other blood glucose imbalances, diarrhoea, eye-sight [Vit A/beta-carotene], HIV/AIDS, hormone imbalances, hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, infections, immune deficiency, insect bites, lactation deficiency, liver & kidney problems, low energy & fatigue, malnutrition, obesity, osteoporosis, parasites [internal], pregnancy problems, nervous conditions [anxiety], rashes, respiratory problems, scurvy, skin conditions, slow metabolism [metabolic stimulant], viral conditions …….

I’m particularly interested in the virtue of its galactagogic properties, being a firm believer in the value of breastfeeding.  As therapeutic aromatherapists know, galactogogues are agents that establish, promote and maintain the flow of mother’s milk.  Moringa is one of the most studied herbs in the Philippines, and several studies confirm its efficacy relative to problems with lactation.

Moringa tea, capsules or powder are effective as lactation support even if given prior to delivery.

To assist with normal lactation it is recommended to be given 3 days postpartum [after delivery] to induce milk flow or help the milk ‘come in’ without problems.  Scientifically, the lactation enhancing effects of Moringa leaves are evidenced by a greater increase in maternal  serum prolactin levels – the most important hormone in the initiation of lactation.

The oil is excellent for baby massage, and in my opinion, 1000× preferable to baby/mineral oil!  I make sure I stay stocked up with a few kilos to ensure there’s enough for all our new young grandchildren.  In the Cape, mothers talk about ‘rubbing the baby out’ with oil – quite a mindboggling image – but you get the idea!!  Moringa is an ideal massage medium for this bonding activity.

Moringa also has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, and Indian people have used the oil to treat many conditions, including acne and skin problems – since it tightens pores and helps remove black heads, as well as reducing blemishes.

As intimated before, Moringa oil has many cosmetic applications.  Because it balances oil secretion of skin it is great in cleansers and toners.  In addition it has a remarkable capacity to remove grime [detox] from skin without clogging pores [non-comedogenic].  Could this action be related to its profound ability to purify water – and blood?  It also counteracts the effects of pollution and other environmental aggressors [heat, sun, wind].

With an impressive oleic acid content of 72%, this nutrient-dense oil penetrates deeply into the skin, delivering vital nutrients while helping the skin and hair retain moisture.  It keeps skin glowing and gives shine to lip gloss and creams.

Like its other African-oil comrades, Moringa oil is outstanding for mature, ageing, very dry and nutrient-depleted skin.  Some of its main claims to cosmetic fame is its exceptional anti-ageing and wrinkle reduction potential.  The antioxidants and the nutrients present in the oil help to curb the activity of free radicals – those nasty rogue molecules that cause damage to cells and tissues and pave way for skin wrinkles.  Rich in copper, Moringa aids in the production of the powerful antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase [SOD], and acts as a catalyst for collagen production

Japanese and Korean women are said to be the top consumers and users of Moringa seed oil – which may explain their great skin.  A simple face serum can be made with 60% Moringa:40% Macadamia oils.  Although there are new and innovative scientific ways to reduce wrinkles and restore vitality to the skin, much of the secret to youthful skin simply lies in maintaining a healthy living environment for skin cells to live – and Moringa oil achieves this goal perfectly.

Two woman wearing moringa leaves

Moringa headress

Moringa oil, like olive oil, is useful in lifting dirt out of the hair and is an efficient natural hair cleanser.  By simply wetting the hair, massaging the oil into the scalp and rinsing off one can effectively clean and moisturize the scalp.  In general, Moringa improves the health and strength of both hair and scalp.

Regular application and scalp massage can also reduce split ends and prevent dandruff and cradle-cap.  And for the soap makers out there, Moringa oil has inherent antiseptic properties, produces a rich, creamy lather, and unlike any other plant-based oil, actually increases the cleansing ability without drying the skin.

Because Moringa contains powerful antioxidants, and absorbs quickly into the skin, it is as good a choice to add to beauty products that are rinsed off the skin [such as soaps and scrubs], as it is for leave-on products like cosmetic creams and medicinal unguents.

In conclusion – if you haven’t tried Moringa yet do yourself a favour and give the leaves, powder and oil a try as soon as you can.  Or better still – plant a tree or two in your garden or pot-garden.  I’m on a mission to give everyone I know either some seed, or a seedling, so that they can add this incredible gift from Nature to their daily diet.

Moringa fact sheet

Moringa Health Benefits – The New Miracle Tree

Mar 01, 16
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Moringa Oleifera is currently the ‘big’ thing when it comes to maintaining excellent health. Dubbed as the new miracle tree, there are dozens of known moringa health benefits today.

If you’re one of the few people in search of a supplement that can boost the quality of your life, following are some moringa health benefits you should definitely know about:

Packed with Vitamins and Minerals

It’s a little impressive just how much vitamins and minerals that moringa tree has. You’ll find that with one cup full of this plant’s leaves, you’ll be getting the following daily value percentages:

  • 22% of vitamin C
  • 61% of magnesium
  • 41% of potassium
  • 71% of iron
  • 272% of vitamin A
  • 125% of calcium

What does this mean exactly? Well, this means that if you need around 500mg of vitamin C on a daily basis. Moringa already contains 22% of that daily requirement – making it easier for you to reach the ‘healthy levels’ required for optimal body function.

Anemia

With the surprisingly high iron content, it’s not surprising that moringa is often used as an herbal treatment for anemia. Don’t forget the calcium and vitamin A content – both of which go beyond the daily requirement. These two can help with the eyes, bones, and teeth.

Antioxidant

Moringa is also packed with antioxidants which are used to remove toxins in the body. Just one serving of this and you’ll be able to aid your kidneys and liver with their job of removing toxins and helping with digestion. Common problems such as bloating and constipation should be fixed with daily servings of this plant. Remember: antioxidants do a lot for the body. They can boost your energy levels, improve the immune system, fight and prevent cancer, and make your skin smoother and flawless!

Helps with Milk Production

In the Philippines, moringa is traditionally used to help mothers who just gave birth with breastfeeding. When consumed in moderate amounts, moringa can help increase breastmilk production, which essentially means that you can provide your child with better and sufficient amounts of food.

Anti-Inflammatory

In some countries, the leaves of moringa are often turned into a pulp and placed directly on a wound to aid with the healing process. When ingested however, you can use them to lower inflammation and essentially ease the throbbing or ache in the body.

Researcher found that a moringa root extract may be as powerful to treat pain and inflammation as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin

Amino Acids

Another plus is the astounding amino acid content of moringa. This tree contains all the important amino acids the body needs to maintain practically everything in your system. Essentially, these amino acids are the driving force behind the body’s ability to repair and create new cells.

Helps with Diabetes

Studies show that moringa also helps with maintaining sugar levels. It manages to balance the sugar in your blood, therefore preventing and controlling symptoms of diabetes. Compared to other maintenance products, moringa manages to deliver excellent results without some of the dreaded side effects. Further studies reveal that it also helps with high blood pressure and even controls cholesterol!

Moringa Oleifera can be ingested through various means. Since it became very popular in the US, you should be able to find moringa powder, which can be added to smoothies and juices, or  moringa tea.

Moringa is reasonably safe for consumption. However, the consumption of Moringa oleifera leaves should not exceed a maximum of 70 grams per day to prevent cumulative toxicity of its essential elements over long periods.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.lifeinhealth.org/moringa/

http://www.naturalnews.com/034976_moringa_breastfeeding_diabetes.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15776678

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4129914/

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