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Moringa — also known as Moringa oleifera, the miracle, and drumstick tree — is a tree valued for its nutritious leaves and purported medicinal properties.
Native to Northwestern India, nearly every part of the plant has long been used in herbal medicine to treat more than 300 conditions (
That said, most of the benefits linked to moringa are limited to test-tube and animal studies and may therefore not translate to humans.
Nonetheless, of the plant’s many studied and promising health benefits, several may be specific to men.
Here are 4 potential benefits of moringa for men, as well as information on its safety and side effects.
Moringa seeds and leaves are rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which may have anticancer properties (
Test-tube studies have demonstrated that the glucosinolates from the plant’s seeds may inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells (
It’s also speculated that moringa could help prevent benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). This condition typically becomes more common as men age and is characterized by enlargement of the prostate, which can make urination difficult (
In one study, mice received moringa leaf extract before being administered testosterone daily for 4 weeks to induce BPH. The extract was found to significantly reduce prostate weight (
What’s more, the extract also reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland. High levels of this antigen may be a sign of prostate cancer (
Lastly, the study also demonstrated that the plant decreased testosterone levels in the treated mice. In humans, low testosterone levels can reduce sex drive and erectile function, lead to a loss of lean muscle mass, and cause depression (
This testosterone-lowering effect could also interfere with the effectiveness of testosterone-replacement therapy in men with low testosterone.
Ultimately, studies in humans are necessary to determine whether moringa has beneficial effects on prostate health or lowers testosterone in men.
Moringa leaves and seeds are rich in glucosinolates, which are linked to the plant’s beneficial effects on prostate health in rodents. Researchers have yet to determine whether these same benefits occur in humans.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sex.
The condition often occurs when there’s a problem with blood flow, which may result from high blood pressure, high levels of fat in the blood, or certain conditions like diabetes (
Moringa leaves contain beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, which may enhance blood flow by increasing nitric oxide production and decreasing blood pressure.
What’s more, studies in rats have shown that extract from the plant’s leaves and seeds inhibit key enzymes linked to ED that increase blood pressure and decrease nitric oxide production (
One study also demonstrated that a moringa seed extract relaxed the smooth muscle in the penis of healthy rats, allowing for more blood flow to the area. The extract also alleviated ED in rats with diabetes (
However, to date, no study on the topic has been conducted in humans. Therefore, it remains unknown if moringa’s beneficial effects on ED in animals translate to humans.
Moringa seed and leaf extracts have been shown to improve penile blood flow in healthy rats and alleviate ED in those with diabetes. In the absence of human studies, it’s unknown whether the plant could help manage ED in men.
Men are estimated to cause or contribute to infertility problems in about 40% of cases, with reduced sperm production and problems with sperm motility being among the most common causes (
Moringa leaves and seeds are excellent sources of antioxidants, which may help combat oxidative damage that can interfere with sperm production or damage sperm DNA (
Studies in rabbits have shown that leaf powder from the plant significantly improved semen volume, as well as sperm count and motility (
Studies in rats have further demonstrated that the antioxidant properties of moringa leaf extract significantly increased sperm count in cases of induced undescended testicles (
What’s more, studies in rats and rabbits have shown that this leaf extract may prevent the loss of sperm caused by excessive heat, chemotherapy, or electromagnetic rays emitted from cell phones (
While these results are promising, studies in humans are needed before conclusions can be made on the effectiveness of moringa for improving male fertility.
Moringa leaves and seeds are rich in antioxidants shown to neutralize sperm-damaging oxidative stress in rabbits and mice. Studies in humans are necessary to confirm these findings.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t efficiently use it. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that lowers blood sugar levels after eating.
The condition is more prevalent in men than in women. This may be because men tend to store more harmful fat around their abdominal region — known as visceral fat — which decreases the effectiveness of insulin, thus increasing diabetes risk (
Several studies in mice and rats with diabetes have shown that extracts from moringa leaves and seeds may lower blood sugar levels by either increasing insulin production or the uptake of sugar into cells (
One study in 10 healthy adults demonstrated that taking 4 grams of moringa leaf powder increased insulin secretion but did not significantly affect blood sugar levels (
In another study, 10 healthy adults and 17 adults with type 2 diabetes were given 20 grams of the leaf powder with a meal. Researchers found that the supplement reduced the post-meal blood sugar increase in those with diabetes but not in those without the condition (
Researchers reported this dosage resulted in poor taste, which may have affected the consistency of intake.
While these results are promising, additional long-term, high quality studies involving more people are needed before any firm conclusions can be made on the efficacy of moringa for managing type 2 diabetes.
Moringa leaf powder may lower the post-meal increase in blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed before the plant can be recommended for managing the condition.
Moringa’s long history of use in herbal medicine and as food suggests that the plant is likely safe (
Studies have reported no adverse effects in people who consumed 50 grams of leaf powder from the plant as a single dose or 7 grams daily for 90 days (
While there’s insufficient evidence in humans to suggest that the plant can reliably benefit different aspects of men’s health, it’s still highly nutritious.
You can buy moringa leaf in powder, capsule, or extract form. It’s also sold as an herbal tea in natural and flavored varieties.
However, men who have reduced testosterone levels or are taking medications for blood pressure or blood sugar control should speak with their healthcare provider before taking these supplements, as the plant may affect how these medications work.
Moringa leaf is likely safe with a low risk of side effects. Still, men who have certain conditions and/or are taking certain medications to manage high blood pressure or diabetes should speak with their healthcare provider prior to trying these plant supplements.
Moringa is a tree native to Northwestern India.
According to test-tube and animal studies, its leaves and seeds may protect against prostate cancer, alleviate ED, and improve fertility and blood sugar control.
However, more studies in humans are needed before the plant can be confidently recommended for these benefits in men.
Still, moringa leaves are highly nutritious and can be consumed as a powder, pill, extract, or tea.