Moringa oleifera has an impressive range of medicinal uses with high nutritional value and medicinal benefits. Different parts of Moringa contain a profile of important minerals and are a good source of protein, vitamins, amino acids and various phenolics. It possesses anti-tumor, anti-epileptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, anti-hypertensive, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is being employed for the treatment of different ailments in the indigenous system of medicine.
Moringa is an important food source in many parts of the world. It can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves retain lots of vitamins and minerals when dried. It is used in India and Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition. The immature green pods (drumsticks) are prepared similarly to green beans, while the seeds are removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach, and they are also dried and powdered for use as a condiment.
Moringa leaf is best known as an excellent source of nutrition and natural energy booster. This energy boost is not based on sugar, and so it is sustained. Moringa is also soothing. It helps lower blood pressure and is a sleep aid. Its detoxifying effect may come from Moringa’s ability to purify water. Moringa acts as a coagulant attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria. It is believed that this process is taking place in the body as well.
In one serving of Moringa Oleifera leaves, you can find 92 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatories, 18 amino acids, and 9 essential amino acids. It contains:
- 22% daily value of Vitamin C
- 25% daily value of Vitamin B6
- 41% daily value of Potassium
- 61% daily value of Magnesium
- 71% daily value of Iron
- 125% daily value of Calcium
- 272% daily value of Vitamin A
It also contain the powerful antioxidant Quercetin to help lower blood pressure. Its chlorogenic acid may help moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
Moringa is used for “tired blood” (anemia); arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism); asthma; cancer; constipation; diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy; stomach pain; stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure; kidney stones; fluid retention; thyroid disorders; and bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.
It is also used to reduce swelling, increase sex drive (as an aphrodisiac), prevent pregnancy, boost the immune system, and increase breast milk production. Some people use it as a nutritional supplement or tonic.
One study in women found that taking seven grams (1.5 teaspoons) of moringa leaf powder every day for three months significantly increased blood antioxidant levels. 30 women who took seven grams of Moringa leaf powder every day for three months reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5%.
In a study of diabetic patients, researchers found that adding 50 grams of Moringa leaves to a meal reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21%.
Moringa leaves, pods and seeds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well, which may also be due to isothiocyanates.
Moringa is sometimes applied directly to the skin as a germ-killer or drying agent (astringent). It is also used topically for treating pockets of infection (abscesses), athlete’s foot, dandruff, gum disease (gingivitis), snakebites, warts, and wounds.
Medicinal Uses and Benefits
* Leaves rubbed against the temple can relieve headaches.
* To stop bleeding from a shallow cut, apply a poultice of fresh leaves.
* There is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect when applied to wounds or insect bites.
* Extracts can be used against bacterial or fungal skin complaints.
* Leaf tea treats gastric ulcers and diarrhea.
* Eating Moringa food products is good for those suffering from malnutrition due to the high protein and fibre content.
* Leaves treat fevers, bronchitis, eye and ear infections, inflammation of the mucus membrane
* The iron content of the leaves is high, and they are reportedly prescribed for anemia in the Philippines.
* Dried Moringa leaves treat diarrhea in Malawi, Africa.
* The powder ground from the seeds is also used in the treatment of scurvy skin diseases (common bacterial infections of the skin).
* Flower juice improves the quality and flow of mothers’ milk when breast feeding.
* Flower juice is useful for urinary problems as it encourages urination.
* In Haiti, villagers boil Moringa flowers in water and drink the tea as a powerful cold remedy.
* Used for their antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties to treat arthritis, rheumatism, gout, cramp, sexually transmitted diseases and boils. The seeds are roasted, pounded, mixed with coconut oil and applied to the problem area. Seed oil can be used for the same ailments.
* Roasted seeds and oil can encourage urination.
* They can also be used as a relaxant for epilepsy
* Moringa seeds are effective against skin-infecting bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They contain the potent antibiotic and fungicide terygospermin.
* In Senegal and India, roots are pounded and mixed with salt to make a poultice for treating rheumatism and articular pains. In Senegal, this poultice is also used to relieve lower back or kidney pain.
* The roots and bark are used for cardiac and circulatory problems, as a tonic and for inflammation. The bark is an appetizer and digestive.
- Energy levels
- Immune system function
- Blood pressure
- Stomach lining and treats ulcers
Moringa Trumps Soy As The Highest Plant-based Protein Food
Moringa is considered to have the highest protein ratio of any plant so far identified, with the protein in Moringa being comparable and superior to that of soy. Food scientists once believed that only soy had protein comparable to meat, dairy, and eggs. Now with all the problems related to GMO soy, Moringa is a welcome player in the high-protein game. Moringa protein is better than soy protein as it is non-allergic. Moringa contains 18 of the 20 amino acids required by the human body including all eight of the essential amino acids found in meat products.
The seeds of Moringa contain 40 percent edible oil known as Ben oil. This clear, sweet and odourless oil is rich in antioxidants and is similar to olive oil in terms of its nutritional profile.It has an indefinite shelf life as it does not turn rancid like other oils.
The University of Botswana described how extracts from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree can be used for water purification. A procedure that uses a natural extract from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree is used in Africa.
Very small amounts of the protein from these seeds can bind strongly to surfaces and thus would cause contaminant particles to aggregate. Researchers at the University of Botswana have provided important insight into the way that protein molecules from the Moringa oleifera seeds interact, binding strongly both to each other and surfaces so as to cause aggregation in to large lumps that are readily removed from the water.
About the Author
John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.
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