Moringa or drumstick tree grows in subtropical and tropical regions. Various nationalities cook the leaves and pods. The Thais cook it as Kaeng (spicy and sour soup or curry), the Filipinos prepare it as kinunot (flaked stingray meat with coconut meat and moringa leaves). In traditional medicine, people use moringa seeds, flowers, sap, root and bark to treat various ailments. Although the absolute efficacy of moringa still needs to be verified, various sources point to the health benefits of moringa tea or concentrated extract.
What is Moringa Oleifera?
Moringa features oval-shaped leaflets, white flowers, droopy and thin branches, and drumstick shaped pods. The plant grows fast in tropical conditions except in freezing temperatures. Moringa can reach up to 12 meters and grow with a trunk diameter of 1.5 ft.
What are the edible parts of moringa?
Moringa has almost all edible parts such as the drumstick pods, leaves, roots, flowers, mature seeds, and oil. In the Philippines, people ground moringa leaves into a fine powder and mix with the pan de sal (bread roll). The Indians use moringa flowers and turn them into a paste along with green chilies, onions, curry leaves, and grated coconut.
What are the many benefits of Moringa tea?
1.Provide various nutrients
For easier absorption or intake, you can boil the leaves and drink them as tea akin to green tea and other herbal-based teas. Moringa contains these nutrients: proteins, Vitamins A, C, D, Vitamin B complexes B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, Vitamins K and E, Potassium and Calcium.
2.Provide various essential amino acids
Moringa tea contains amino acids that give benefits such as muscle growth, decreased exercised fatigue, improved liver health in people with cirrhosis and speedy healing. These amino acids include the following:
- Isoleucine: Boost the health brain and body natural energy
- Leucine: Works with isoleucine to provide increased energy levels.
- Lysine: Inhibits viral cell growth, regulates different hormones, helps in calcium absorption to bones and supports the immune system.
- Methionine: Aids in keeping your skin, nail and hair healthy. It also reduces the cholesterol level.
- Phenylalanine: Improves memory and alertness, and aids nerve cell communication and decrease hunger.
- Threonine: Prevents fatty liver buildup and helps in digestion.
- Tryptophan: Boosts mood, fights depression, supports the immune system and reduces bad cholesterol.
3. Give antioxidants
Oxidants or free radicals are the byproducts of the body’s metabolism such as inflammation, respiration and inflammation. Highly unstable, free radicals can give or grab electrons from cells from DNA, cells and proteins. Such a process can damage your body akin to rusting iron and browning apples. Antioxidants are nutrients that prevent the damaging effects of oxidants. These antioxidants present in moringa include calcium, citric acid, benzyl glucosinolate, ellagic acid, gallic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, benzyl carmate, benzyl acetonitrile, p-coumaric acid, protocatechuic acid, 3-Hydroxy-4-(α-l-rhamnopyranosyloxy), ferulic acid, glycerol-1-1(9-octadecanoate), O-ethyl-4(a-l-rhamnosyloxy), glucosinalbin. Antioxidants in moringa extract may have clinical applications against sickle cell anemia. (Wright, Racquel J, et al) (1)
4. Possess significant antimicrobial properties
Moringa tea or the extract may possess antibacterial properties. In fact, a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology for Information showed that the extract has significant antibacterial activities against gram-positive bacteria that include sarcina lutea, bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis Staphylococcus aureus and for gram-negative bacteria – mycobacterium phlei and escherichia coli.
In addition, moringa extract possesses biocidal properties against these microbial or parasite-caused diseases:
5. Prevent inflammation
According to a study published online, moringa showed an anti-inflammatory activity or a decrease in the size of edema (swelling or water retention in legs, feet, arms and hands).
The extract may also prevent inflammation-related ailments such as:
- Joint pain
- Arthritis. (Rao, KN, et al.)
6. Lower cholesterol
The compounds in moringa extract, isothiocyanate, and niaziminin help reduce cholesterol levels and maintain good blood pressure. The compounds do its job by reducing pulmonary hypertension development and preventing artery thickening. According to research published in NCBI, moringa has a hypolipidaemic effect or lipid (fat) lowering properties.
7. Benefit your skin
Moringa tea or the leaf extract can benefit your skin. (Armand-Stussi I, 2003) (4) It does have skin cleaning abilities to make your skin smooth and clean. Turn moringa into a facial mask by the following recipe:
- Tea concentrate or powder
- Honey (a teaspoon)
- Avocado (mashed)
- Honey (1 teaspoon)
- Lemon juice ( 1 teaspoon)
Directions: Mix and apply in your face. Evenly spread and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
8. Helps your hair grow
Moringa extract can help your hair grow and stay strong. The extract can fight dandruff and split ends, reduce hair loss, and moisturize the scalp. Likewise, the zinc in moringa can stimulate hair growth and heal damaged hair follicles. (Kil, Min Seong, et al) (5). Some hair specialist and barbers recommend using moringa extract by applying directly into the hair.
9. May Help against cancer
Moringa extract may help against certain cancer. A study confirmed that the compound niazimicin has restrained the formation of cancer cells. Likewise, the niazimicin showed anti-tumor activities. The study concluded that niazimicin is a potent anti-chemo-preventive agent against chemical-induced cancer, which refers to cancer caused by ionizing radiation, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in barbecuing process. (Guevara, A P, et al, 1999) (6)
Moringa Oleifera is highly nutritious owing to its numerous nutrients. On the other hand, it’s acknowledged that there still needed studies to confirm the reliability behind the panacea claim of some moringa related articles. The article does cite some resources about the confirmed beneficial effects of moringa. This article’s purpose is for informative purposes only. It does not claim to be an authority on the effectiveness of moringa. The best you can do is to consult a physician before you use moringa for an ailment or disease. Further, moderation is the key to get the benefits of moringa.
- Wright, Racquel J, et al. “An Investigation of the Antioxidant Capacity in Extracts from Moringa Oleifera Plants Grown in Jamaica.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 23 Oct. 2017.
- Rao, K N, et al. “Anti Inflammatory Activity of Moringa Oliefera. Lam.” Ancient Science of Life, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 1999.
- Mehta, Komal, et al. “Effect of Fruits of Moringa Oleifera on the Lipid Profile of Normal and Hypercholesterolaemic Rabbits.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2003.
- Armand-Stussi I, Basocak V, Pauly G, Mccaulley J. 2003. Moringa oleifera: An interesting source of active ingredients for skin and hair care. SOFW J 129:45-52
- Kil, Min Seong, et al. “Analysis of Serum Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Hair Loss.” Annals of Dermatology, Korean Dermatological Association; The Korean Society for Investigative Dermatology, Nov. 2013.
- Guevara, A P, et al. “An Antitumor Promoter from Moringa Oleifera Lam.” Mutation Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 6 Apr. 1999.