What is moringa?
Moringa, also known as the benzoil tree or the drumstick tree, is a leafy green plant native to the Himalayas. Moringa’s triangular seed pods are pressed to create benzoil. Moringa leaves are also prepared and used in holistic and ayurvedic medicine. Moringa is nutritionally rich, containing vitamins and minerals derived from its native soil. It’s traditionally been used as a water-purifying agent, a food plant, and a diuretic. More recent research suggests moringa could be used for its antiseptic, antioxidant, and antidiabetic properties. Here are nine benefits of moringa.
1. Lowers blood pressure
One of the more well-established benefits of moringa is its ability to lower blood pressure. Moringa leaf powder and seed pods can positively impact the symptoms of hypertension, affecting both diastolic and systolic blood pressure numbers.
2. Assists in diabetes treatments
Moringa has been used in older civilizations as a holistic remedy for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Modern research seems to back up its claim to help control blood sugar and keep it from spiking. Moringa can help normalize blood glucose when it’s taken at a consistent dosage as part of an approved diabetes treatment plan.
3. Fights bacteria
Moringa has antimicrobial qualities. They are so potent, in fact, that one study found that washing hands with a mixture of water and moringa was as effective as washing with soap. Moringa could be especially useful in killing off bacteria on hands in places where antibacterial soap is not readily available.
4. Helps reduce bad cholesterol
Moringa oil is under consideration as a suitable replacement for canola oil, which can cause long-term health problems. Moringa can also act as a substitute for vegetable oil because it’s been proven to help increase healthy cholesterol (HDL) without contributing to unhealthy levels of harmful cholesterol (LDL), and thus it helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
5. Protects your liver
Studies have been done to evaluate the effect of the benzoil (oil from compressed moringa pods) and moringa leaf extracts on rats with hepatoxicity (liver toxicity). The moringa plant was shown to be significantly beneficial for liver repair due to the antioxidant activity it promotes. Moringa can be used to supplement a hepatitis treatment routine and will help your liver process toxins if it’s currently healthy.
6. Packed with nutrients
Moringa has been called a superfood. This is because its leaves and seed pods are packed with protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C. Moringa has even been suggested as a solution for malnutrition in developing nations around the world.
7. Boosts antioxidants
Like many plants, moringa is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants serve an essential function in your body, helping to fight the everyday toxins that your body is exposed to and relieving environmental stressors that can damage our organs over time. Moringa has been found to have antioxidant activity, so using it as a dietary supplement will give you an antioxidant boost.
8. Exhibits anticancer properties
Niazimicin, which is known to slow the growth of tumors, is contained in moringa. This caught the attention of researchers, who have been working on the premise that cancer therapies using moringa could be developed in the future. Some researchers are optimistic that moringa could be used to slow or stop the growth of some cancers in humans without the toxic side effects of many synthetic drugs. However, it’s not currently used as a standalone anticancer treatment.
9. Enhances memory
Moringa has been suggested as a neuroprotective. That means it can slow age-related dementia from progressing. It can also assist in everyday brain functions. One clinical study found that moringa does appear to support your brain and help enhance memory.
Forms and doses
Moringa is considered a food plant, which means that it’s generally safe for human consumption, even in larger amounts. Moringa leaves, seeds, bark, roots, sap, and flowers can all be used medicinally. Unfortunately, further clinical studies are needed to understand if too much moringa can be damaging to your health. So far, there appears to be little risk of toxicity. Most studies of moringa performed on animals use doses ranging from 20 to 150 milligrams per kilogram. A person of average weight might want to start with a dose of 1500 milligrams per day and see how their body reacts.
Moringa tea is easy to find online and in health food stores. Steeping the moringa leaves in hot water creates an “aqueous extract,” which is what most clinical studies on moringa have focused on. Moringa leaves are also available in a dried and ground form (also known as a powder) that can be added to energy drinks and smoothies. Moringa oil can be purchased from specialty health stores, and moringa barks and flowers, though harder to find, can be purchased online from some retailers.
Potential risks and interactions
There’s currently little research to indicate which drugs might counteract with moringa. That’s why you should always consult with your physician before you begin any herbal supplement or regimen. You should note that women who are pregnant should probably not take moringa. There are no studies that show it as being safe for pregnant women, and it’s possible that the chemical properties of moringa can induce labor prematurely by causing contractions.
Recipes and DIYs
Moringa leaf tea
If you can purchase dried moringa leaves, you can make your own moringa tea and experience the health benefits of moringa in your own home. Use 2 tablespoons of dried moringa leaf in a tea diffuser or biodegradable, food-grade tea bag and steep the moringa leaves for 2 to 3 three minutes. Add some honey for an additional dose of antioxidants and to sweeten the brew. Drink hot or let it cool and drink over ice.
The seed pods of the moringa plant, called “drumsticks,” can be used as a substitute for green beans. The dried leaves can be used in recipes as a substitute for spinach or kale. A traditional Indian soup that includes moringa can be made with any variation of the following ingredients:
- “drumsticks”/moringa seed pods (at least 5)
- 1 white onion, finely minced
- several green chilies
- ground coriander, salt, and pepper
- cooking oil of your choice
- sour cream
Begin by boiling the drumsticks, removing the pulp, and setting it aside. Fry your onion in cooking oil until it becomes translucent, then add the chilies and drumstick pulp. When the liquid from the oil evaporates, add your spices to taste. Add cream and coriander to the mixture if you’d like.