Moringa oleifera has a varied range of medicinal benefits as it has high nutritional value. Commonly known as a miracle tree, Moringa tree truly stands at par with the name in terms of the benefits it provides. Counting the number of benefits it provides in two hands is almost impossible. Starting from cardiac problems to antiulcer, antidiabetic, antibacterial and antifungal to antispasmodic it is a wonder food serving the whole body. Let us have a look at the whereabouts of the tree and the benefits and side effects, although very few in details.
Moringa Tree: Its whereabouts and the Edible parts
Moringa Oleifera, the scientific name for moringa is a tall tree of 32-40 ft height. It typically grows in semiarid, tropical and subtropical land. It tolerates various types of soil condition but prefers a hot and sunny-climate. The largest producer of moringa is India. Andhra Pradesh among other Indian states leads both in area and production followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Odisha, moringa is grown in home garden, whereas in southern parts of India and Thailand it is grown as living fences. The World Vegetable Center in Taiwan also actively cultivates moringa. Nevertheless, moringa grows more in the wild or is often cultivated in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, northern countries of South America and various countries of Oceania.
Edible Parts of Moringa Tree
Moringa is a safe plant and almost all its parts are edible such as:
- The immature seed pods, commonly known as "drumsticks"
- Mature seeds
- Oil expressed from the mature seeds
Benefits of Moringa Tree
From thousands of years Moringa is praised and is well known for its health benefits. It is a rich source of healthy antioxidants and many plant compounds which are known as biologically active. Different parts of moringa contain essential minerals. It is a good source of protein, vitamins, beta-carotene, amino acids, various phenolics, phytohormones viz., quercetin, zeatin, kaempferol, beta-sitosterol, and caffeoylquinic acid. It is extremely beneficial for overall health, skin, and hair and is used for many other purposes. Let us have a look at its benefits:
Moringa Tree Benefits for Health
- Benefits of Antioxidant Properties in Moringa Oleifera: In our bodies, antioxidants act against the free radicals. If the level of free radicals become high in our body that can cause oxidative stress, which can be the reason of type 2 diabetes and chronic heart disease. The leaves of Moringa tree is a source of several antioxidant plant compounds. According to a study done on women, taking seven grams of moringa leaf powder every day for three months can significantly increase antioxidant levels in the blood.
- Benefits of Moringa Tree or Moringa Oleifera in Lowering Blood Sugar Levels: Through many studies it can be seen that Moringa tree helps to low blood sugar levels. According to a study, 30 women who took 7 grams of powdered moringa leaf every day for three months seem to have a drop in fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5%. Where another small study done in some diabetic patients shows that having 50 grams of Moringa leaves in their meal experienced 21% less rise in blood sugar.
- Moringa Tree is Beneficial in Lowering Cholesterol: High cholesterol in the blood can be the cause of heart disease. Some studies on human being have shown that Moringa can be beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease because of its cholesterol-lowering effects.
- Benefits of Moringa Tree in Reducing Inflammation: The natural response of a body to infection or injury is called inflammation. It is a very essential mechanism, but when it goes for a long time it can cause major health issue. In many chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis and cancer, inflammation is found to be involved. The pods, leaves, and seeds of Moringa tree are found to have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Moringa Oleifera May Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity: According to many studies it is found that prolonged exposure to arsenic might increase the risk of heart diseases and cancer. Some studies conducted on mice and rats show that moringa leaves and seeds protects against some effects of the arsenic toxicity.
- Moringa Tree Offers the Benefits of Boosting the Immune System: Daily consumption of moringa helps in boosting the immune system and prevents infection. It is widely advised to people suffering from AIDS.
- Cell Repairing Benefits of Moringa Tree: Moringa is loaded with all the essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein and thus helps in growth, repair, and maintenance of cells.
- Moringa leaves acts as a natural energy booster.
- Moringa is highly efficient in controlling blood pressure and sugar levels and also cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Moringa helps in stopping the growth of tumors.
- It helps in preventing blindness due to its high beta-carotene or vitamin A content.
- Moringa roots helps in controlling disorders of the circulatory system and improves digestion. It is also known to treat sexual dysfunctions and female reproductive tract problems.
- Consumption of moringa roots also helps in curing ovarian cancer, kidney stones and enhances the overall function of kidney by initiating flush out of calcium and phosphate more effectively from kidney.
Benefits of Moringa Tree for Hair
- Moringa Prevents Hair Loss: The problem of hair loss happens due to deficiency of vitamin B mainly B6, folic acid, biotin, and inositol. Moringa helps in maintaining the B complex levels and thus enables the follicles to grow healthy and strong.
- Moringa Promotes Hair Growth: The high content of vitamin A in moringa helps in hair growth and maintenance. It also promotes circulation of oxygen, nutrients and blood to the hair follicles, thus increasing growth of healthy cells and reducing hair damage.
- Moringa Enhances Immune System Function: Moringa also has enormous amounts of zinc in it which helps in growth of hair by promoting the immune system function. The clogging and drying of sebaceous gland is prevented by zinc, silica and vitamin A together.
- Moringa Promotes Increased Blood Circulation to the Scalp: Vitamin C and E being a powerful antioxidant helps in proper circulation of blood in the scalp and absorption of vital nutrients in the hair follicles.
- Enhanced Hair Health Benefits of Moringa: Moringa also contains enormous amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese which are very vital for good health of the hair.
- Moringa Oil Massage Increases Hair Strength: Regular massage with moringa oil acts as a natural supplement for hair for increasing hair and scalp strength. It also helps in reducing dandruff and split ends.
Benefits of Moringa Tree for Skin
Due to the high content of vitamins and minerals in moringa, it is great for the skin as well. Let us see how it benefits the skin.
- Skin Nourishing Benefits of Moringa Tree: Moringa has exceptional moisturizing and nourishing capacities for the skin and has excellent cleansing abilities and hence is used in many skin care products. It also helps in purifying, detoxification and rejuvenation of the skin.
- Age-defying Abilities of Moringa Tree: The cleansing ability of moringa works as an anti-ageing formula. It helps in cleaning the skin cells of free radicals which causes wrinkles and restores the youthful and supple feel in the skin.
- Moringa is Beneficial for Youthfulness of Skin: Moringa leaves contain 30 antioxidants which help in keeping the skin healthy and glowing. The leaves also contain sulphur which is the key ingredient for construction of Collagen and Keratin. Elastin helps in keeping the softness and flexibility of skin while keratin is responsible for rigidity and strength of the skin.
- Moringa Leaves as a Cleaning Agent: Moringa leaves have a strong property of cleaning the skin and are hence used in many deep cleansing creams and lotions. It also prevents the skin from pollution, cigarette smoke and smog.
- Miscellaneous Benefits of Moringa for Skin: The extract of Moringa tree acts as a germ-killer, so sometimes it is applied to the skin directly. It also has important medicinal effect to treat dandruff, athlete's foot, gum disease (gingivitis), warts and wounds, and snakebites.
Medicinal Benefits of Moringa Tree
Moringa is also used for curing various other health problems and concerns and medicinal benefits as well. It is widely used in many medicines for curing various problems in all the modes of treatment viz., allopathic, homeopathic and ayurvedic. Across the world, many health practitioners actively suggest the usage of this 'Miracle Tree' and its parts. Let us see what the common concerns are from which this tree provides relief:
- Cures anemia
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Stomach pain
- Stomach and intestinal ulcers
- Intestinal spasms
- Fluid retention
- Thyroid disorders
- Prevent pregnancy
- Increase breast milk production.
Other Benefits of Moringa Tree and its Parts
- Moringa seed oil is used in foods, perfume, and as a machine lubricant also.
- After the extraction of oil from the seed, the remaining part, which is called seed cake, used as a fertilizer. It is also used to purify well water and to remove salt from seawater.
- Moringa seed extracts are toxic to mosquitoes and can hence be used as mosquito repellant.
Side Effects of Moringa Tree
Though a lot of benefits of Moringa tree have been found, but there are some side effects also. Those are as follows:
- The root of Moringa tree contains alkaloid spirochin, which is a potential neuro-paralytic toxin. This can be the cause of paralysis and death.
- If large amounts of moringa leaves are taken, it may cause heartburn, stomach upset, diarrhea and gaseous distension due to its laxative properties.
- Different parts of Moringa tree should be taken after cooking, as it can cause heart burns if taken raw or with water.
- If a large amount of Moringa is taken, it can cause nausea. It does not tastes pleasant also which may produce gag reflex.
- The moringa tree should not be consumed during pregnancy, because it can lead to miscarriage due to having some specific chemicals.
- Moringa should be avoided during breast feeding also, as for infants the chemicals are not safe.
- Moringa should not be taken while any blood thinning medications are going on.
- Moringa can also be the cause of disorders, which may affect the blood such as decrease in white blood cell count, gum bleeding, petechiae, reduced number of blood platelets, etc.
Nutritional Facts of Moringa Tree
Moringa is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The leaves are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. Around 21 grams of fresh moringa leaves contain the following amounts as recommended by RDA:
- Protein: 2 gms
- Vitamin B6: 19%
- Vitamin C: 12%
- Iron: 11%
- Riboflavin (B2): 11%
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9%
- Magnesium: 8%
Apart from these, every part of the tree is highly nutritious. The leaves, immature seed pods, bark and flower are loaded with more than 30 antioxidants, all the essential vitamins and minerals.
The moringa tree can be called the tree of life, considering its amazing health benefits. Since thousands of years it is helping people to maintain their good health and to recover them from different medical issues. Moringa tree is so much popular as it grows naturally, it is safe to consume and it has health supplement which are medically proven.
This tree is great for individuals who need to boost their nutrition. In fact, carrots have only 25% of vitamin A that can be obtained from the same amount of Moringa. It also has four times as much of calcium as in milk, three times of the amount of potassium as in bananas. It can be considered as a superfood that will not only provide with the needy vitamins, but also improve the overall health as well.