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Moringa oleifera: A Food Plant with Multiple Medicinal Uses Science & Research

 

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Moringa Oleifera

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Moringa Oleifera also known as Drumstick Tree or simply Moringa, is a tree which originally grew in the Himalayan region of northern India, but is now cultivated in Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, The Philippines  Mexico, Central and South America. The United States has begun cultivation of Moringa Oleifera as well.

People in developing countries have been taking Moringa Oleifera for hundreds of years due to its nutritional properties. Dr Oz has mentioned this product in the past referring to it as an “energy blaster” due to its high nutritional value. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine.

According to an analysis of 100 grams of the edible portion of Moringa oleifera the various parts of this plant have been shown to contain as much of the following water-soluble vitamins: 2.6mg of vitamin B1 (thiamine), 20.5mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 8.2mg of vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid), and 220mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). In addition, this same portion of edible product contains as much of the following fat-soluble vitamins: 16.3mg of vitamin A, 113mg of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol acetate); as much as 423mg of the lipotropic element, Choline; 19.2 grams of fiber; and several key minerals: 2003mg of Calcium, 368mg of Magnesium, 204mg of Phosphorus, 1324mg of Potassium, 3.1mg of Copper, 28.2mg of Iron, and 870mg of Selenium.

In other words, it contains 3 times more iron than spinach, more calcium than 6 cups of milk, 4 times the potassium in a banana, 7 times the vitamin C in an orange and more protein than yogurt.

Moringa Oleifera is one of those products that has been used in many different ways to treat conditions such as anemia, arthritis, asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, hypertension, kidney stones, thyroid disorders, and infections.

  • Among its numerous medicinal uses are:
  • Antibacterial and antifungal activities
  • Antihypertensive, diuretic and cholesterol lowering activities
  • Antispasmodic, antiulcer and hepatoprotective activities
  • Antitumor and anticancer activities
  • Water purifying properties

Unfortunately, many of these reports of efficacy in human beings are not supported by placebo controlled, randomized clinical trials. It is important to separate facts from myths. Here is some of the most relevant scientific evidence available on Moringa Oleifera.

Research

Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)

Moringa oleifera: A Food Plant with Multiple Medicinal Uses

Moringa Oleifera: It has an impressive range of medicinal uses with high nutritional value. Differant parts of this plant contain minerals, and are a good source of protein, vitamins, β-carotene, amino acids and various phenolics.

The Moringa plant provides a rich and rare combination of zeatin, quercetin, β- sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol. In addition to its compelling water purifying powers and high nutritional value, M. oleifera is very important for its medicinal value.

Various parts of this plant such as the leaves, roots, seed, bark, fruit, flowers and immature pods act as cardiac and circulatory stimulants, possess antitumor, antipyretic, anti epileptic, anti inflammatory  anti ulcer  antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive, cholesterol lowering, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and antifungal activities, and are being employed for the treatment of different ailments in the indigenous system of medicine, particularly in South Asia.

J Med Food. 2002 Fall;5(3):171-7.

Hepatoprotective activity of Moringa oleifera on antitubercular drug-induced liver damage in rats.

We have evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of an ethanolic extract of M. oleifera leaves on liver damage induced by antitubercular drugs such as isoniazid (INH), rifampicin (RMP), and pyrazinamide (PZA) in rats. Oral administration of the extract showed a significant protective action made evident by its effect on the levels of glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (aspartate aminotransferase), glutamic pyruvic transaminase (alanine aminotransferase), alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin in the serum; lipids, and lipid peroxidation levels in liver.

Conclusions: This study showed that treatment with M. oleifera extracts appears to enhance the recovery from hepatic damage induced by antitubercular drugs.

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 May; 40(3): 229–233.

Effects of Oral Administration of Moringa oleifera Lam on Glucose Tolerance in Goto-Kakizaki and Wistar Rats

In the present study, we investigated the effects of Moringa oleifera (MO) Lam, Moringacea, on glucose tolerance in Wistar rats and Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, modeled type 2 diabetes.

Results of glucose tolerance test, MO (Moringa oleifera) significantly decreased the blood glucose at 20, 30, 45and 60 min for GK rats and at 10, 30 and 45 min for Wistar rats (p<0.05) compared to the both controls after glucose administration.

Conclusions: MO (Moringa oleifera) has an ameliorating effect for glucose intolerance, and the effect might be mediated by quercetin-3-glucoside and fiber contents in MO leaf powder.

KOS Health Publications – August 2005 1

Clinical Perspectives on the Health Effects of Moringa oleifera: A Promising Adjunct for Balanced Nutrition and Better Health 

This article states the following: “With significant botanical and medical published research in both the academic and scientific literature, and with substantial ongoing research from the international community, the addition of Moringa oleifera into the daily diet shows considerable promise as an adjunct to improving health in a variety of important ways.” Furthermore, the endorsement of Zija by governmental agencies further validates the safety and importance of this new product.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jan 31;139(2):330-6. Epub 2011 Nov 27.

Toxicological evaluation of the aqueous leaf extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae).

Despite the popular use of Moringa oleifera for treating various disorders, there is limited or no scientific data available regarding safety aspects of this remedy, nor are there any documented toxicological studies that can be used to ascertain the safety index of its herbal preparation.

The aim of this study was to carry out an extensive toxicological evaluation of the aqueous leaf extract of Moringa Oleifera.

In an acute toxicity test, male Wistar albino mice were orally administered an aqueous extract up to 6400 mg/kg and intraperitoneally up to 2000 mg/kg. A sub-chronic toxicity test was performed by daily administration with the extract at 250, 500 and 1500 mg/kg orally for 60 days. Control rats received distilled water. Sperm quality was analyzed, haematological and biochemical (liver enzymes, urea and creatinine) parameters were determined and a histopathological examination was carried out.

Results: The LD(50) (lethal dose 50) was estimated to be 1585 mg/kg. The extract did not elicit any significant difference (P≥0.05) in sperm quality, haematological and biochemical parameters in the treated rats compared to the control.

Conclusions: the aqueous leaf extract of Moringa oleifera is relatively safe when administered orally.

Safety 

In general, Moringa Oleifera is considered to be a safe product to consume. A toxicological study published in January of 2012 performed on mice showed that even with extremely high doses of Moringa Oleifera extract (6,400mg/kg), there were no side effects or biochemical differences detected. There are no similar studies performed in humans to date. There are also no known reports of serious side effects associated with the oral use of this product when taken at recommended doses.

The recommended dose of Moringa Oleifera is 400mg/day. It can be taken as an oral supplement, or as a tea.

Taking Moringa Oleifera during pregnancy is not recommended since it may cause miscarriages.

Conclusions

Moringa Oleifera is one of those products that people take for all kinds of different reasons. Antioxidant, antitumor  antibacterial, antihypertensive, antispasmodic, hepatoprotector, diuretic, nutritional supplement, just to name a few. While there isn’t evidence to support all of these claims, there are well documented benefits from taking Moringa Oleifera. First of all, the nutritional components found in this product are overwhelming. It contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. As a dietary supplement, I believe this product can be very beneficial. Moringa Oleifera is used in developing nations where malnutrition is a problem, especially in children or pregnant women. Claims from several non governmental organizations state that the consumption of this product has reduced the negative effects of malnutrition.

I believe that the addition of Moringa Oleifera to your daily diet can help improve overall health and wellbeing. There aren’t any serious side effects to worry about, and its nutritional components speak for themselves. All in all, a great natural supplement.

Questions and answers?

What is the correct dose of Moringa Oleifera?

The recommended dose is 400mg a day. It can be taken in the morning along with your normal breakfast.

Are there any interactions with medications?

 At this time, there are no known interactions. If you are taking medications, consult your physician before taking Moringa Oleifera.

Where can I purchase a quality Moringa Extract?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FRESHEST FORMS

OF MORINGA PRODUCTS

 

Moringa Leaves

• 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 diarrhoea.

• 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 diarrhoea 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).

 

Moringa Flowers

• 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.

 

Moringa Pods

• If eaten raw, pods act as a de-wormer and treat liver and spleen problems and pains of the joints.

• Due to high protein and fibre content they can play a useful part in treating malnutrition and diarrhoea.

 

Moringa Seeds

• 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.

 

Moringa roots, bark and gum

The roots and the bark have all of the properties described above but are more concentrated. Therefore much more care should be taken if using them as medicines.

* The roots and bark are used for cardiac and circulatory problems, as a tonic and for inflammation. The bark is an appetizer and digestive.

* In Senegal and India, roots are pounded and mixed with salt to make a poultice for treating rheumatism and articulars pains. In Senegal, this poultice is also used to relieve lower back or kidney pain
• Fodder-branches

* The alkaloid spirachin (a nerve paralysant) has been found in the roots.

* The gum is diuretic, astringent and abortifacient and is used against asthma.

 

Moringa Oil

* Oil of Ben is used for hysteria, scurvy, prostate problems and bladder troubles.

* Villagers in Oman use Moringa oil to treat stomach disorders. They also use it in perfume and hair oil.

 

Moringa & Ayurveda medicine

Uses every part of the Moringa Tree and considers it one of the most valuable and useful plants. The ayurvedic medicine of India has many uses for Moringa Tree products, such as a natural antibiotic, an aid in childbirth, for treating liver disorders, and many other uses.

 

Moringa & Siddha medicine

In Siddha medicine says that the leaves are full of medicinal properties. The drumstick seeds are used as a sexual virility drug for treating erectile dysfunction in men and also in women for prolonging sexual activity.

 

 

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