Moringa Oleifera; This Underrated Plant Is A Powerhouse For Your Health

moringa oleifera leaves and greens drink

The Moringa oleifera is native to the Indian sub-continent and is an extremely fast-growing tree.

The tree actually has several common names that it goes by, including moringa, drumstick (this is due to the long slim triangular pods), and horseradish tree (the taste of the roots is similar in taste to horseradish).

This History Of The Moringa Oleifera Tree

The moringa plant is extensively planted and farmed for the seeds and particularly the leaves. It has also been used for centuries as a vegetable and traditional herbal medicine. (1)

It’s actually such a versatile plant that’s been utilized to purify water in many third-world nations.

Several countries have listed moringa oleifera as an invasive species, although it does not seem to displace the native flora; thus it’s currently listed as a “widely cultivated species with low invasive potential.”

The tree’s trunk is incredibly fast-growing and can reach anywhere from 10 to 12 meters in height, with the diameter of the trunk measuring nearly 2 meters. The moringa’s bark is very light grey with a whitish tinge, and the inner bark is protected by a much thicker bark that resembles the soft and durable consistency of cork.

The flowers are aromatic and hermaphroditic and are encircled by five ill-matched white petals. It’s a quick flowering plant with the first of the flowers starting within six months of planting, and flowering generally only happens once annually between April and June.

However, in saying that, the moringa tree can flower twice a year when exposed to a consistent temperature and constant rainfall.

The moringa’s fruit hangs down and is three-sided, measuring between 20-40cm, and is dark brown in color. The seeds are white with what some refer to as “angel wings” and are easily scattered by wind and water.

The trees are cut back once each year to as small as 1-2 meters in height; this allows the tree to grow back more robustly and keeps the leaves and seeds within picking distance for farmworkers.

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Moringa Oleifera And Its Benefits

  • Packed With Vitamins And Minerals

  • The moringa tree is actually jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and amazingly, the leaves provide seven times more vitamin C than an orange. The moringa tree also outclasses a banana containing loads of potassium with a whopping 15 times more potassium.

    Vitamin C and E are essential in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, and the powerhouse moringa tree is abundant with both. Again it does so by attacking free radicals combatting the stress caused by oxidation.

    Protein, iron, amino acids, and calcium are also readily available; these nutrients, in particular, help promote muscle growth and rapid recovery.

  • Antioxidants

  • The moringa tree also contains many antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals and may help boost your immune system and increase your productivity.

    It’s also generally accepted that antioxidants can drastically help to lower blood pressure and rid the body of fat, physically and in the blood.

    Some experts in the field suspect antioxidants and other nutrient-dense plants might help in the fight against inflammation that can cause drastic adverse effects on cognitive brain function and memory.

  • Liver

  • The moringa tree also plays a critical role when it comes to the health of your liver. As you know, the liver acts as the body’s filter, and when it becomes inefficient in its function, the body becomes susceptible to infection and disease.

    The tree is a rich source of polyphenols that help reverse oxidation, especially in the liver. Recent research suggests that regular consumption of Moringa may help protect against liver damage. (2)

    Because it fights against free-radicals caused by pollution and heavily processed foods, the Moringa tree goes to work. It effectively attacks them due to polyphenols, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid that are contained in the tree.

  • Inflammation

  • Another significant benefit is that the moringa plant is incredibly effective at fighting inflammation. Turmeric is also a top-rated supplement that can help fight inflammation.

    Reducing inflammation helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

  • Sugar

  • Sugar can have many damaging long-term effects on the body, and one of the most prevalent is constant mood swings. Sugar also causes many people to have “sugar cravings,” which can lead to obesity and type two diabetes.

    The powder form that comes from the moringa tree has been shown to reduce lipid levels and drastically mitigate the possible effects of oxidative stress.

    There is limited research out there, but some scholars have suggested that moringa powder may also be an excellent supplement for helping those people looking to lose weight.

    Dietary fiber

  • Fiber

  • Fiber is an essential part of any diet and helps the digestion system work effectively. Moringa leaf powder is made up of about 30% fiber, and luckily most of it insoluble, which is ideal for reducing your risk of disease.

    The moringa tree is also a potent naturally occurring antibiotic that may help hinder or slow the germination of multiple pathogens responsible for causing digestive symptoms like an upset stomach or nausea. (3)

  • Cognitive Brain Function

  • Moringa has also been linked to showing very promising benefits for the elderly who are at high risk of suffering from dementia.

    It also may increase dopamine and serotonin levels, both of which have been linked to a happier, healthier cognitive brain function. The future applications for this are endless, with one possible utilization being the treatment of depression.

Other Areas

Other areas scientists are looking into when it comes to Moringa are whether it can help with other diseases and complications such as:

  • lowering cholesterol
  • alleviating arthritis
  • helping those who have asthma
  • helping to heal wounds
  • helping with nausea, and finally,
  • those struggling to lose weight.

Woman preparing food in the kitchen

Is Moringa Oleifera Safe To Take?

Although research is limited, it’s generally accepted that not only is moringa safe and effective but has minimal known side effects.

That being said, when starting any new supplementation or herbal remedy, we strongly recommend you seek the advice of your local health care provider.

The leaves, seeds, and pods are safe to eat, along with the powder extracted from the leaves. Eating the bark, however, can be risky, particularly for pregnant women. This is due to the bark’s chemicals, which may cause the uterus to contract, leading to a miscarriage. (4)

The powder is the safest and most effective way to consume moringa, although it can be purchased as a pill, oil, or even a tea.

It’s important to remember that the FDA does not regulate many supplements and as such, there is no recommended daily dosage amount. Look for supplements that are transparent with their ingredients and that are made in the USA.

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