The Many Benefits of Moringa

Moringa has a multitude of health benefits.

Moringa has a multitude of health benefits.

By The Swahili Scientists

Moringa has gained a good deal of popularity in the US as a powerful healing agent and a “superfood” because of its highly nutritious profile. When ingested as a tea, it has been shown to possess powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-protective properties among many other health benefits.

Moringa is a plant whose size ranges from tiny herbs to massive trees that have been used by people in Africa and Asia for thousands of years. Moringa is in the flowering plant family Moringaceae and the name is derived from murungai, which is the Tamil word for drumstick. It contains 13 species from tropical as well as subtropical climates.

The most widely cultivated species is Moringa oleifera, which is native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. However, Moringa stenopetala, is an African species that is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than Moringa oleifera. Different species of this tree are located in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia, Egypt, Madagascar, and India.

Moringa leaves and pods contain a large amount of essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a significant source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It also contains a significant amount of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, folate, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). In terms of minerals, it contains calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Lastly, it contains very low amounts of fat and offers no harmful cholesterol.

As a result of moringa’s many medicinal benefits, it was named the “miracle tree” during the food crisis in Africa. In the Philippines, it is called a “mother’s best friend” because of its galactagogic properties. The plant offers a rich blend of powerful antioxidants that possess free radical scavenging capacity and have shown its therapeutic value in curing the damage caused by stress.

Moringa extracts also protect the liver. Research studies have validated the effectiveness of its leaves against the liver damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs as well as its stimulating effects in speeding up the recovery process.

It is effective in the treatment of abdominal disorders such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. Studies have shown that its extracts can be considered an effective herbal alternative to a range of commercially available antacids and antihistamines. It also helps in combating obesity thanks to its high nutritional and low-fat properties. The impressive content of vitamin B in its leaves aids in digestion and converts the food into energy rather than storing it as fat.

Moringa seed oil is beneficial for the skin and hair and is effective against the infection caused by herpes simplex virus. The healing effects of this herb prevent the development of skin lesions and inhibit the formation of plaque caused by the infecting virus.

The hydrating and detoxifying effects of moringa extracts help in neutralizing the effects of harmful pollutants, prevent wrinkles and slowdowns aging. The high protein content aids in protecting the dermal cells from damage caused by heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. For the same reason, it is used in the production of cosmetics and skin care products as well. It is highly effective in protecting the hair from environmental damage, including ultraviolet radiation. Additionally, it serves as a valuable conditioner for the scalp by strengthening roots and stimulating hair growth as well.

Moringa is an anticancer agent and is highly valued in tumor therapy. It helps in stimulating the immune system and its extracts are beneficial for maintaining healthy bones, which is attributed to the presence of essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Its extracts possess anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in the treatment of painful conditions such as arthritis, while also helping to heal various bone ailments such as mandibular or jaw bone fractures.

Research studies have demonstrated that treatment with moringa helps in reducing blood glucose, urine sugar, and urine proteins in diabetic test subjects.

Moringa is effective in improving heart health and maintaining optimal blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body.  Additionally, it prevents the thickening of arteries and reduces the development of pulmonary hypertension.

Lastly, Moringa extracts have served as effective in treating anemia and sickle cell diseases. Studies have provided evidence to support the fact that treatments with moringa aid in facilitating the absorption of iron, increasing the red blood cell count and helping to maintain normal blood parameters. Recent studies have also validated the anti-sickling potential of moringa plant extracts.

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