Moringa oleifera belongs to the family Moringaceae, originally found in the Indian subcontinent, a fast-growing and drought-resistant tree. Popular names for moringa are the moringa tree, drumstick tree, horseradish tree and the ben oil tree. It’s commonly used in herbs and herbal traditional medicine for its young plant pots and leaves. It is also a great herb for water purification.
While in many countries it is classified as an invasive species, Moringa Oleifera has not been observed as an invading intact habitat or displacing native flora so it should be regarded at present as a widely cultivated species with low invasive potential.
Moringa plant possesses a lot of benefits and is used to treat various medical conditions such as asthma, obesity, menopause symptoms and several other disorders, however, these uses are not well supported by any good scientific evidence. Medicine is produced with leaves, bark, flowers, berries, seeds and roots. Moringa seed oil is used as a lubricant machine for food, perfumes, hair care products.
In certain parts of the world, Moringa amounts to a major food source. Since moringa in India and Africa are used to feed malnutrition programmes, because it can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves retain a lot of vitamin and mineral products when desiccated.
Similar to Green Bohemia, the immature Green Pods (drumsticks) are prepared while the seeds are taken out of mature plates, cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked and spinach-like and dried and powdered to be used as a condiment.
Benefits of moringa powder
Moringa has the following health benefits:
- Good for cholesterol
- Vitamin A
- Low in fats
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6
- Vitamin C (folate and ascorbic acid)
Other than the above-stated benefits, moringa powder also provides the following benefits:
- Helps maintain good skin
Moringa has several nutritional values, particularly vitamin A that creates collagen – the main component of your skin. It is made from vitamin C to prevent the symptoms of old age. Moreover, moringa has anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin E. Moringa seed oil is useful to preserve and maintain clean and stable hair, which are from free radicals. Moringa also has protein, which helps protect the cells of the skin from injury. It also includes elements that moisturise and detoxify skin and hair.
- Helps with diabetes
Moringa has certain effects on diabetes regulation. Research indicates that consuming moringa powder or moringa tablets with a sulfonylurea form of the drug does not enhance the regulation of blood sugar calculated by haemoglobin A1C.
However, fasting and blood sugar levels in people with diabetes do tend to decrease compared to taking sulfonylureas alone. Additional research also shows that moringa leaves can also minimize blood sugar levels after a meal in people with diabetes who don’t take diabetes medicine.
- Lowers cholesterol level
Moringa has no apparent effect on reducing levels of cholesterol, however, the study reveals mixed findings and therefore for any confirmation, more study is required. High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Thankfully, many vegetarian diets can minimize cholesterol. Other things like Flaxseeds, oats and almonds are great for minimizing cholesterol. Along with animal studies and human-based studies, Moringa oleifera has shown that cholesterol-lowering effects can also occur with moringa powder.
- Beneficial for asthma
Moringas may contribute to a reduction of the severity of asthma and bronchial restrictions. Consuming moringa powder has shown improvement in the lungs and breathing process. Research has shown the severity of asthma symptoms decreases by using 3 grams of moringa powder twice a day over the past three weeks.
- Boosts immunity
One of the best advantages is that it increases immunity. To enable our bodies to resist infections and diseases, maintenance of a healthy immune system is important. The leaves of Moringa Oleifera are a rich source for:
- Iron: 32.2% of NRV
- Vitamin A: NRV 18.9%.
Both are important for the immune system’s normal function. Many investigations have been carried on the effectiveness of moringa as an anti-carcinogen. It has been shown that moringa leaves have positive properties in combating both breast and colon cancer cells and that research is underway.
- Reduces inflammation
The normal reaction of the body to injury or infection is inflammation. It is an important defence mechanism and can, if it occurs for a long period, become a major health concern. Sustained inflammation is associated with several chronic health conditions, which include cardiac illness and cancer. Most of all vegetables, plants, and spices are anti-inflammatory. The magnitude of their assistance depends, however, on the types and quantities of anti-inflammatory substances they contain. Scientists believe that isothiocyanates present in moringa leaves, pods and seeds are the principal anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Triggers milk production when breastfeeding
Research on the impact of moringa on the development of breast milk has been examined and suggests that it is beneficial. Preliminary studies suggest that moringa stimulates the production of milk if consumed continuously for a week. However, it is also not evident if moringa is effective if it is being used for extended durations.
How to use moringa powder
Moringa leaf powder is a common alternative due to its versatility. It has a mildly sweet and bitter flavour and can improve your nutritional intake by adding the powder to your shakes, smoothies and yoghurt. The moringa powder should be consumed between 2-6 grams.
Other than powder, moringa capsules are also available in the market and are beneficial. Morina is also available in tea leaves form.
Possible side effects and risks
It is recommended that anyone considering moringa should first talk to a doctor. Moringa may have anti-fertility qualities and is not recommended for pregnant women. Other things to be kept in mind are:
- Levothyroxine used to fight problems with the thyroid. Moringa leaf compounds can assist the function of the thyroid, but people should not combine them with other thyroid medications.
- Moringa can decrease or restrict the process of food being broken down by the liver. Therefore, it must not be combined with any drug as it may have ill effects.
- Diabetes drugs are used to reduce blood sugar, which moringa also does. However, it is important to note that moringa leaves or moringa powder must not be combined with diabetic drugs as it may overly lower blood sugar levels.
These were all of the possible risks the moringa powder can entail along with the benefits it can provide. Consult your doctor before you intend to take moringa powder in your daily routine.