Moringa or drumstick tree is a one of a kind superfood that is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that helps keep the body strong and healthy. Needless to say, it aids in preventing, as well as treating certain types of health conditions.
I have long known moringa or drumstick tree. Growing up, I have seen my mom used moringa or drumstick leaves in different kinds of dishes. I have tried eating moringa leaves in raw, powdered, and even in tea or juice form. My verdict? It’s delicious.
Well, if you love vegetables, you will sure like it.
Anyway, fast-forward to after giving birth, my relationship with moringa even became stronger. Apparently, it is believed to help increase the production of breastmilk. As a mom, I want nothing but the best for my baby, so, the moment I found out that in some areas of the world, moringa is considered as a galactagogue (which pertains to anything that helps increase breastmilk supply), without a doubt, I made sure I have moringa in the kitchen. I must say, it did work for me.
Growing up, I never really thought moringa is nutritious. I wasn’t the kind who would ask about its nutritional value and all those stuff. I just knew it was a vegetable, thus, it is good for my body. I had no idea how nutritious it is, until recently. Needless to say, I also found out that moringa can even help prevent and/or treat certain forms of diseases.
Moringa oleifera often referred to as moringa or drumstick tree, is a plant tree that is a native of India. However, the plant tree also grows in other parts of the world like the rest of Asia, as well as Africa, South America, and Oceania.
Interestingly, there are 13 different species of moringa. But of all these varieties, moringa oleifera is the popular and the most common of all.
Moringa is not just your typical, ordinary tree (although at first glance, you will find it usual – nothing special). Through research, experts found that moringa contains a variety of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals – all of which help keep the body strong healthy. Plus, it also contains certain elements or compounds that are significant in preventing or treating certain health issues.
Personally, I find it amazing knowing that almost all parts of the moringa tree are beneficial to humans. Moringa leaves, flowers, fruit, seed, bark, and even the roots of the tree contain their respective nutritional value, and do have their respective uses and benefits.
For instance, apart from being beneficial in terms of providing vitamins and minerals, as well as addressing certain health conditions, moringa seeds were also found to be a great coagulant, which means it has the ability to purify and clarify unsafe, unclean water.
No wonder why apart from being called moringa or drumstick tree or horseradish tree, moringa is also known as the “miracle tree” or the “tree of life”.
Although more and more studies have yet to be done to prove the different uses and benefits of moringa, it brings so much hope knowing that there is a huge possibility that moringa could be the answer to many people’s (particularly the sick ones) prayers.
In September 2014, moringa or drumstick tree has been named as the Traditional Crop of the Month” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Personally, I do not find it surprising because to be honest, moringa has so much to offer.
Moving on, as mentioned earlier, moringa or drumstick tree is packed with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and that includes the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)
Moringa leaves, seeds, fruit, flowers, bark and roots – all of these are nutritious. However, according to research, moringa leaves is the most nutritious of all. No wonder why according to the book, “Nutritive Value of Indian Foods,” which was published by the National Institute of Nutrition’s 1989, moringa leaves contain an amazing nutritional value, even higher to its counterparts.
In particular the book mentioned the following:
- Moringa contains seven times the amount of vitamin C in an orange
- Moringa contains three times the amount of iron in spinach
- Moringa contains four times the amount of vitamin A in a carrot
- Moringa contains four times the amount of calcium in one glass of milk
- Moringa contains three times the potassium in one banana
- Moringa contains two times the protein found in regular, plain yogurt
In addition, generally, moringa is also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which are essential in addressing various diseases and health conditions.
Now, with that said, are you convinced already that moringa is indeed a “tree of life”?
Uses and Benefits
Now that we already know what moringa or drumstick tree is all about and its nutritional profile, here are some of the popular uses and benefits of this so-called “miracle tree”:
- Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation refers to the body’s natural response to an infection or any injury. Although inflammation is an essential protective mechanism of the body, it may also pose a threat to human health if it continues longer than what is allowed.
According to studies, sustained inflammation can lead to serious health conditions like heart diseases as well as cancer.
Good thing, moringa oleifera is packed with anti-inflammatory properties. It, in fact, contains an element called isothiocyanates. According to scientists, isothiocyanates are the primary anti-inflammatory compound present in moringa or drumstick tree leaves, pods, and seeds.
Although this information has yet to be confirmed, many believe that it does really have the ability to fight off inflammatory issues.
- Liver Health
The liver plays an important role in the human body – well, just like any other parts of the body. Based on researchers, they found out that moringa appears to have the ability to protect the liver from any damages, which is usually caused by taking anti-tubercular medications.
By taking moringa, it helps quicken the repair process of the damaged liver. Furthermore, moringa was found to have high concentrations of polyphenols. Such content is essential in reversing oxidation in the liver.
In addition, moringa may also help reduce the risk of developing liver fibrosis.
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
There is good cholesterol (HDL), but there is also bad cholesterol (LDL). Having bad cholesterol is not good for the body. That is why if you are diagnosed to have high cholesterol, healthcare providers make sure to immediately address it as it may pose a threat to your overall health and well-being.
Just so you know, high cholesterol increases your risk in developing more serious conditions particularly having heart ailments.
Moringa was found to have the natural way of reducing high cholesterol levels, which means reduced risk to developing heart diseases or other health complications. It contains essential elements that particularly help prevent the increase of bad cholesterol – in particular.
- Increases Breastmilk Production
Moringa is considered as a galactagogue. In fact, it has been widely used in countries like India and the Philippines for that purpose.
Folk people in particular believe in moringa’s power to increase the breastmilk production among nursing or lactating moms. It doesn’t matter if you take moringa leaves in raw, powdered or tea form. It definitely have the same effect anyway. Personally though, I prefer it raw or powdered.
- Treats Stomach Disorders
Moringa or drumstick tree contains essential properties that particularly addresses digestive problems such as gastritis, constipation, and ulcerative colitis. Experts found that moringa contains natural antibiotic as well as antibacterial properties, which helps inhibit the increase of pathogens in the body.
Furthermore, moringa is rich in vitamin B, which is said to be beneficial in addressing proper digestion.
- Reduces the High Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar level is the primary reason why diabetes exist. Diabetes, according to recent studies, has emerged to be one of the main causes of human death in recent years. In my opinion, I think that has something to do with people’s lifestyle. We live in a totally different world today, and there are just so many things that may lead to developing diabetes.
Anyway, what people do not know is that apart from diabetes, high sugar levels may also increase your risk in developing cardiovascular diseases. That is why it is really very important to keep a balanced blood glucose levels.
Based on studies, many scientists believe that moringa’s ability to reduce high sugar levels have something to do with its isothiocyanates content – which, by the way, can be found in the moringa leaves.
- Protects and Nourishes the Hair and Skin
Moringa seed extract has been found beneficial particularly in protecting hair from free radicals, at the same time in keeping the skin healthy and youthful.
Moringa contains an essential amount of protein, which is ideal in keeping the skin cells protected from any damage or harm. Furthermore, particularly the leaves were found to have hydrating and detoxifying properties. Both of which helps in boosting the hair and the skin. In addition, such properties are also helpful in curing skin sores and infections.
- Protects Against Arsenic Toxicity
Arsenic toxicity refers to the contamination of food and water. This dilemma is faced in different parts of the world. In some countries, there are certain types of rice that were found to have a high level of arsenic.
Here’s the thing. Experts say that long-term exposure to high level of arsenic can be very harmful to human health. It can lead to serious health problems like heart diseases as well as cancer.
Recently studies found that moringa leaves and seeds contain essential properties that help protect us from the effects of arsenic. Although further studies have yet to be made about this, having seen that it was successful in mice and rats, researchers believe that humans will definitely get the same effect.
- Supports Brain Health
To be honest, while I was reading through the benefits of moringa or drumstick tree, I was quite impressed. With such an ordinary-looking tree, comes a lot of benefits. Needless to say, it’s very cheap and easy to grow.
Another amazing benefit that you will get from consuming moringa is it supports brain health. In particular, moringa is found to have high vitamin C and E content, both of which are said to be great in combating oxidative stress, which is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, in a study conducted using animals, it has been found that moringa shows promising results not just in Alzheimer’s but in preventing and/or treating dementia as well.
- Treats Edema
If you are not familiar with edema, it is a painful health condition. What happens is that fluids build up in certain tissues in the body. Since moringa contains anti-inflammatory properties, it is not surprising that certain studies suggest its efficacy in fighting off and/or preventing developing edema.
- Overall Bone Health
Before you even think we are done, well, we are not. Moringa has just so much to offer really. Another amazing benefit of moringa or drumstick tree is that it helps promote overall bone health.
Moringa is found to have high calcium and phosphorus content, both of these properties are known to significantly help in promoting healthy and strong bones. Meanwhile, moringa’s anti-inflammatory content may also be great in treating bone=related conditions like arthritis, as well as bone damage.
- May Prevent or Treat Cancer
And the miracles that this “miracle tree” gives continues.
There was research conducted that suggests the ability of moringa to prevent developing cancer. It has been found to contain niazimicin, a compound that is known because of its ability to suppress the development of cancer cells.
Although further research has yet to be made about this very significant theory, personally, I find it not surprising too. Because anything is possible, right? If it did work well in initial studies, the more likely it will be to work in future studies. To be honest, I am one of those hoping it will turn out well.
- Treats Mood Disorders
We live in a world that is totally different from what it is before. No wonder why more and more people are developing mood or mental disorders like depression, fatigue, and anxiety. It amazes me knowing that moringa contains elements that help prevent and/or treat mood disorders. I mean, imagine if those going through mood disorders will take moringa supplements, then perhaps they will feel better. Apart of course from going through proper treatments or channels.
- Treats Asthma
Research shows that moringa may also be beneficial among asthma patients. In particular, it helps reduce the severity of an asthma attack. Furthermore, it also shows to have the ability to protect you against bronchial constrictions, better lung functions, and your overall breathing.
- Protects the Cardiovascular System
Moringa has been found to be very beneficial in overall cardiovascular health. It contains amazing antioxidants that help keep the heart strong and healthy. In addition, moringa has also been found to be very helpful in preventing cardiac damage.
Precautions and Side Effects
Although moringa or drumstick tree provides a lot of health benefits, there are also certain precautions that must be done when consuming it. Furthermore, you must also be mindful of possible side effects.
Generally speaking, experts say that moringa is safe for consumption. In fact, there have been very few side effects reported, which include the following:
– Although moringa leaf powder is safe based on human studies, moringa seed extract may be harmful. Researchers found that moringa seed extract contain a certain level of toxicity in immune cells. Thus, it is highly recommended to consult an expert first before using moringa seed extract.
– Moringa or drumstick tree may cause a laxative effect especially when consumed in bigger quantities. In addition, it may also result to upset stomach. To avoid such, it is suggested to take small doses first of moringa powder especially for beginners.
– While it has still to be proven by conducting more studies, there are reports that say moringa can be unsafe for pregnant or suspected to be pregnant women. According to reports, moringa may contain certain harmful chemicals particularly in moringa flower, bark and roots that may lead to either premature birth or miscarriage.
In addition, precautions must be observed in some cases like the following:
– If you are taking medication that may cause the liver to break down. Moringa contains elements that may help decrease the function of the liver. If that is the case, it may lead to side effects or complications.
– If you are taking medication for diabetes. Moringa naturally reduces high blood sugar levels. Taking it alongside medications for diabetes may result to an unlikely reduction of blood sugar, which can be harmful to your health and overall well-being.
– If you are taking medication for high blood pressure or hypertension. Moringa has a significant effect when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. Taking it alongside medications for hypertension may lead to further reduction of your blood pressure, which is also not healthy for you.
Moringa or drumstick tree is indeed a “tree of life” based on its nutritional value, as well as its uses and benefits. Personally, I cannot wait to know more what moringa can do particularly in prevention and treatments of diseases.