Moringa Oleifera has been used by health practitioners for thousands of years, because of the many benefits that it reportedly offers.
When broken down into powder form, the leaves from this remarkable tree are packed full of a number of bioactive compounds and are rich in antioxidants. This has made moringa an extremely popular health food supplement, and it has grown in demand and popularity in recent years.
Also known as the “Drumstick Tree,” moringa oleifera can be found in a variety of different powders, seeds, teas, and other supplement forms.
While it has developed a pretty solid reputation over the years, let’s take a deeper look at this “Superfood,” so you can decide it’s something worth taking.
The Moringa Tree
The drumstick tree is typically found in India, and in fact, it is native to the country. Now that is so popular, however, the tree can be found growing all over the world.
Pretty much the whole tree can be eaten in some form or another, its long, twisted pods, are often considered its defining characteristic.
The Moringa tree is referred by different names in various parts of the world and is even called the “horseradish tree” by some because its roots taste strikingly similar when eaten raw (don’t eat the roots, though! See our side effects section below).
It goes by many other names as well, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll stick with it’s most popular name – the Moringa.
By most accounts, the Moringa tree first came on the scene in the northern part of India and was being used in medicinal circles as far back as 5,000 years ago.
During that time it had become so popular in Indian medicine, that there were even reports of it being used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
It’s no wonder then, that it is often referred to as the “Miracle Tree”.
With a track record going back several thousand years, there must be some pretty solid evidence that this stuff has some sort of benefit for a variety of different ailments?
It turns out that there are number of different uses for moringa, so let’s take a look at what others have been using the superfood for.
More recent studies have been looking at how well Moringa can lower cholesterol levels for men and women.
In one study on rabbits, Moringa was found produce a hypolipidaemic effect, so early indications certainly are encouraging.
While there is new evidence suggestion that statin drugs may not be all that healthy for you, after all, you should always talk with your doctor before stopping or starting a new medication or treatment.
Moringa is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, which is another huge reason for its popularity. While the ingredient list may vary from supplement to supplement, or from powder to tea form, it generally includes a healthy dose of the following vitamins:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
In addition to the vitamins mentioned above, Moringa also contains essential amino acids, components with “nutraceutical properties,” carotenoids in the leaves, vital antioxidants and antibiotics, giving some obvious credibility to the “super food” claims.
Because of its nutrient-richness, it has demonstrated value and usefulness as a nutritional supplement, and can also be used in a variety of ways when it comes to food prep.
As we mentioned, almost the entire tree has edible properties, which makes it a very valuable nutrition source for people all over the world.
The Moringa plant has also been reported to have a positive impact on reducing inflammation. This means it may help with controlling blood sugar, acting as an antihistamine, and reduce other types of inflammation as well.
This being said, I wouldn’t say that you could start taking Moringa to control diabetes, and of course, you would need to talk to your doc before making any changes with your diabetes treatment plan, but the fact that it can help with blood sugar is encouraging.
Some research suggests that Moringa may also be useful in the treatment of edema. This goes along with its anti-inflammatory properties mentioned above, but basically, studies have pointed to Moringa being equally as effective as some of the more potent anti-inflammatory medicines on the market.
Extract from the Moringa tree has also been shown to have a hepatoprotective benefit for the liver. This means that it may help protect the liver against damage from some anti-tubercular medications, along with potentially boosting your recovery. Researchers say this protective quality is thanks to the moringa’s ferulic acid, vitamin C, epicatechin, and catechin.
While most Moringa is taken in pill, powder, or tea form, there are some other uses for it as well. You can also buy a moringa seed oil, which has been shown to promote healthy skin.
It has been used for wrinkle prevention and reduction, and also as a hydrator and detoxifier.
To take advantage of this, you can buy the seed oil or other cosmetics and skin products that contain the extract.
It’s no secret that antioxidants have long been touted as possible cancer fighters, and as we previously mentioned this stuff is packed full of antioxidants.
Beyond just prevention, some research articles have pointed to the fact that moringa has also been used for tumor therapy. While this isn’t going to be the end all and be all, the evidence is pretty encouraging, and definitely worthy of more research if you’re interested in the topic.
Two of the key minerals found in moringa – phosphorous and calcium – have been linked to having healthy bones, which could be another reason to utilize this supplement. In addition, it can also be helpful with conditions like arthritis, because of those anti-inflammatory properties we cited.
According to WebMD, Moringa is “POSSIBLY SAFE” when taken orally and used correctly. That means carefully following the instructions of whatever supplement or product you decide to buy.
They say that the leaves, fruit, and seeds are probably safe when eaten as a food, but it is very important to avoid eating the root or any of its extracts. These parts of the plant may contain a toxic substance that can cause paralysis and death.
Any of the supplements that you buy here in the United States are typically made from the leaves or seeds, and should not include the root.
Moringa has been found to be consumed safely when used in doses up to 6 grams per day for up to 3 weeks.
More research needs to be done before determining if Moringa is safe to consume in medicinal amounts.
Precautions for New or Expectant Mothers
The folks at WebMD also caution pregnant and breastfeeding women, warning them that it is “LIKELY UNSAFE” to use Moringa root, bark or flowers if you are pregnant. The reason they are considered to be unsafe is that root, bark, and flowers can contain chemicals that can uterus to contract, potentially causing miscarriage.
As for the other parts of the Moringa tree, WebMD says they should be avoided as well if you’re pregnant or nursing, as there just isn’t enough research yet determining whether or not its safe for you to consume.
This is just a small list of the many health benefits associated with moringa. There are many other reported benefits and uses out there, so be sure to check out the treatment options cited with whichever moringa product you decide to try.
Thrive Market (read our review) has the best selection of Moringa supplements that I have found. Beyond that, they also have the best prices, so are worth checking out, in my opinion.