Moringa oleifera also known drumstick tree, horse radish, benzoil tree or ben oil tree is widely used in herbal medicine. It is the most widely cultivated tree of the genus Moringa, belonging to family Moringaceae. Its origin is traced to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. Today, it is grown all over the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world.
Moringa has enormous medicinal potential, which has long been recognized in the Ayurvedic and Unani system (Mughal et al., 1999). Interestingly, the Ayurvedic system of medicine associates it with the cure or prevention of about 300 diseases. Nearly every part of this plant, including root, bark, gum, leaf, fruit (pods), flowers, seed, and seed oil have been used for various ailments in the indigenous medicine (Odebiyi and Sofowora, 1999). Awesome! Using moringa today is not limited to the indigenous ways, but it has been accepted in modern medicine by scientifically proven facts.
Before proceeding into the medicinal properties of moringa, I suggest you plant one for yourself. Yes! It grows very fast – just like an unwanted weed, and has very little water requirements, in fact, it can thrive even under drought conditions. Personally, I have more than 10 plants of big Moringa trees in my house, and I planted them all with my bare hands, so I guess you can do the same. And the good news is that it can be harvested all year-round, with new leaves sprouting very fast to replace the ones cut off.
That aside, Moringa is a plant packed naturally with great amounts of nutrients and several active constituents which are mostly responsible for its enormous medical profile. Just 100 grams of moringa leaves contains:
Medicinal/herbal effects of Moringa
This is probably one of the most utilized medicinal properties of moringa. The consumption of leaves powder of Moringa oleifera appears to be effective in reducing blood glucose level in diabetic patients. This anti-diabetic effect of moringa has been linked to the presence of certain polyphenols. According to a certain scientific research, Moringa leaves significantly decrease blood glucose concentration in Wistar rats and Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, modelled type 2 diabetes (Ndong et al., 2007). Another impressive scientific study demonstrated a jaw-dropping fact, showing how the blood sugar level is lowered just with 3 hours after ingestion of extracts from moringa leaf (Mittal et al., 2007).
Moringa oleifera possess a great anti-inflammatory effect, and this is due to its richness in certain non-nutritive components such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. This anti-inflammatory activity of moringa makes it exert a profound beneficial effect on most diseases associated with inflammation. It shows beneficial effects in cases of asthma, pain, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and stomach ulcer problems. The anti-inflammatory effect of moringa has been proved by many recent scientific studies. A recent research showed how Amelioration of inflammation associated chronic diseases can be possible with the potent anti-inflammatory activity of Moringa bioactive compounds (Muangnoi et al., 2011).
The medicinal benefits of moringa are never complete without mentioning the antioxidant activity of this miraculous plant. According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention:
“The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree have been reported to demonstrate antioxidant activity due to its high amount of polyphenols.
Moringa oleifera extracts of both mature and tender leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity against free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to major biomolecules, and give significant protection against oxidative damage.”
Due to this antioxidant effect of moringa, its consumption helps prevent the damage caused by free radicals in our body tissues, thus, keeping them healthy.
The consumption of moringa leaves has been proven to fight fungal and bacterial infections. A study conducted by Peixoto JR et al, 2011, evaluated the antibacterial effect of aqueous and ethanolic moringa leaf extracts (Moringa oleifera) on the growth of gram-positive and negative bacteria. These bacteria are mostly responsible for blood and urinary tract infections and as well as digestive problems.
As quoted from Miracle trees:
“Several other specific components of Moringa have been reported with antibacterial activity, including 4- (4′-O-acetyl-a-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, 4-(a-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, niazimicin, benzyl isothiocyanate, and 4- (a-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl glucosinolate (Fahey, 2005). Other bioactive compounds, such as Spirochin and Anthonine are found in root and are active against several bacteria. Anthonine has potent inhibitory activity against Vibrio cholerae (Nwosu and Okafor, 1995). Moringa flower and leaves are also capable of controlling parasitic worms, their antihelmintic activity has been demonstrated during several studies (Bhattacharya et al., 1982). Moreover, it has also been reported to inhibit Indian earthworm Pheritima posthuma with MO leaves ethanolic extracts (Rastogi et al., 2009)”
Other scientifically proven effects of moringa include:
Due to the above beneficial effects exhibited by moringa extracts, it can be used medicinally in the following cases:
Well, the above are just few of the abundant medicinal uses of moringa oleifera. You can take a look at the image below to learn even more medical benefits of moringa.