While it has been popular in Southeast Asian countries for thousands of years now, moringa oleifera has only gained global popularity in recent years. Also known as the “tree of life,” moringa uses is just exceptional.
Moringa is one of a kind plant tree. At first glance, you may find it common. You know, just another tree growing in the backyard. But once you get to know it fully particularly the moringa uses and benefits, how you see this tree will surely be different.
Moringa comes in different forms – some people opt for the raw ones, while others prefer using either the dried form or the powdered form. Regardless of its shape or make though, one thing is for sure – moringa oleifera is not just an ordinary tree. In fact, it is packed with so many vitamins and minerals to help keep your body strong and healthy. At the same time, it has been found out to be capable of preventing and/or treating some diseases like high blood pressure, certain asthma attacks, stomach problems, diabetes, as well as heart disease.
All About Moringa Oleifera
Moringa oleifera or moringa is a plant that is known to be a native of Southeast Asian countries particularly India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, as well as the Philippines. Although native to these countries, moringa also grows in certain countries in the African and South American regions.
Unlike other plant trees, all of the parts of the moringa tree are useful. In fact, all of them are edible. Yes, you read it right – moringa’s leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, bark, as well as its roots are all edible, and has also been used for medicinal purposes.
Moringa serves as an essential food source in certain parts of the world. Moringa is packed with vitamins and minerals, thus, people living in Southeast Asian countries and Africa makes is a staple food. Needless to say, the tree grows cheaply and easily.
Although all its parts have their respective nutritional properties, moringa leaves is found to be the most nutritious of all. In fact, when these leaves are dried down properly, its nutritional content increases by 300% to 500%. Amazing, right? No wonder why some people also call it as the “miracle tree”.
Moringa Oleifera Nutritional Content
To convince you further of how amazing this tree is, here are some of the vitamins and minerals that moringa is packed with:
- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin), B-6
Other Names Moringa is Known As
As I have mentioned, depending on where you are in the world, moringa has its own identity. Some people call it the “miracle tree,” while others know it as the “tree of life”. But apart from these, moringa is also knowns in some other parts of the planet as the “drumstick tree,” “horseradish tree,” and/or “benzoil tree”.
Furthermore, there are other names moringa is known for, and these are:
Arango, Árbol de las Perlas, Behen, Ben Ailé, Ben Nut Tree, Ben Oléifère, Benzolive, Canéficier de l’Inde, Chinto Borrego, Clarifier Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Indian Horseradish, Jacinto, Kelor Tree, Malunggay, Marango, Mlonge, Moringa oleifera, Moringa pterygosperma, Moringe de Ceylan, Mulangay, Murungakai, Narango, Nebeday, Paraíso Blanco, Perla de la India, Pois Quénique, Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna, San Jacinto, Shagara al Rauwaq, Shigru, Terebinto.
Moringa Uses and Benefits
Moringa is a popular superfood especially in certain parts of the world like Asia, Africa, and South America, also in Oceania. It has gained its popularity as it is believed to help in preventing and/or treating a wide variety of health problems.
There are a lot of known moringa uses that if you are not familiar with the plant, will truly astound you. Even we were impressed as to how this plant tree can do so much. It may look so simple and ordinary on the outside, but once it enters your body, it does a lot of good things.
In particular, moringa was found out to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory contents. Thus, enabling it to protect your body from a lot of different health issues linked to oxidative stress, as well as chronic inflammation like that of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Furthermore, here are some of the commonly known and believed to be moringa uses and health benefits:
- It is used to prevent and/or treat certain asthma attacks.
Moringa is known to be effective in preventing and/or treating certain asthmatic attacks. In fact, in early research, it has shown that by taking 3 grams of moringa twice a day for a period of three weeks, it helps reduce the severity of asthma symptoms, as well as helps improve the lung function particularly among adults diagnosed with mild to a moderate asthma condition.
- It used to help reduce high blood sugar.
Having high glucose levels can cause serious complications in the long run, and cause death even. That is why it is essential to always keep the blood sugar levels at the allowable limit. The high sugar level is particularly known as the primary cause of diabetes, which is one of the main causes of death to a lot of people these days.
Based on certain studies conducted, it has been found out that moringa has certain properties that are known to help reduce blood sugar levels. In fact, in one of these studies, they asked 30 women to take 1.5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder a day for three months, and after that period, the researchers found out that there is a reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5% on average among the subjects. While it may not be as high compared to others, it is significant enough to help reduce the blood sugar levels.
A lot of scientists believe that this effect was caused by the isothiocyanates, a compound that is present in moringa leaves.
- It is used to help lower cholesterol levels.
Lowering cholesterol levels is one of the many moringa uses. Whether you take moringa powder, moringa supplement capsules, moringa tea, or raw moringa leaves, you get the same benefit.
As you may know, having high cholesterol levels is usually linked to having an increased risk of having a heart disease. That is why people diagnosed with high cholesterol levels are often put on maintenance medication to avoid such risk.
Although there are several plant foods known (like oats, almonds, and flaxseeds) and proven to help reduce cholesterol levels, experts have found out that moringa is by far one of the most effective sources of properties that help lower cholesterol levels.
So, if you are one of those diagnosed with high cholesterol levels particularly the bad ones, make sure to incorporate moringa into your diet. Make sure though to inform your attending physician first to ensure it won’t affect the effect of your medication should there be any.
- It may be used to help prevent and/or treat cancer.
While further studies has yet to be made about this claim, there have been a research that states that moringa extract contains certain properties or elements that may help prevent certain types of developing cancer.
A research also shows that this so-called “tree of life” or “miracle tree” contains niazimicin, which is an essential compound that helps suppress the development of cancer cells.
With that said, you probably know by now that moringa is called as such not for anything, but because it deserved to be called as such.
- It is used to help treat stomach disorders.
The list of moringa uses is quite overwhelming, right? But it is a good overwhelming feeling if we may say.
Now, apart from the aforementioned moringa uses, this plant tree is also believed to be efficient in addressing stomach issues like constipation, gastritis, as well as ulcerative colitis because of the presence of certain properties.
Moringa is found with natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties, which is believed to help inhibit the increase of various pathogens. Apart from that, this miracle tree also contains high Vitamin B, which is responsible for addressing proper digestion.
- It is used to help increase breastmilk production.
Nursing mommies, this is for you! Did you know that moringa oleifera is believed to be effective in increasing breastmilk supply? Well, if you haven’t heard this yet, at least by now you already know.
While research regarding this claim is contradicting some early research shows that moringa helps in the production of breast milk, other research shows no benefit at all. However, an analysis conducted from five clinical studies, it shows that there is a moderate increase in milk production after a week of moringa use three days postpartum. However, further studies have yet to show the efficacy of moringa in terms of increasing breastmilk production when used for longer periods of time.
Nevertheless, many moms particularly those from Southeast Asian countries like India and the Philippines use it for such purpose and claim its efficacy in their increased milk production.
- It is used to help fight malnutrition.
As mentioned earlier, moringa tree is cheap and easy to plant and grow. Thus, those living in impoverished areas can definitely make it part of their daily diet.
Since the tree particularly its leaves is packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body, regular moringa intake will definitely help fight malnutrition. In fact, early research shows that by adding moringa powder to food for a period of two months, it help improve eight among undernourished children.
- It is used in reducing weight.
Perhaps some of you will find this fact really exciting. Allow us first to explain this further though.
Based on early research, it shows that taking moringa products or products containing moringa does not reduce weight. However, it may help improve body composition by lowering the amount of fat mass, at the same time, increasing the amount of lean mass. That is probably why some people thought it is effective in weight loss.
- It is used to help support brain health.
By now you are probably amazed already of the many moringa uses and health benefits. But we are not done yet! Moringa is also believed to help support brain health. Well, it is not surprising having been found that moringa oleifera is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
In research conducted, it is estimated that one in every eight people aged 65 and more was diagnosed with brain health issues particularly Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, to avoid getting such disease, older people are advice to take all necessary supplements, vitamins, at the same time eat the right kinds of food.
Now, moringa particularly its leaves was found to have high Vitamin C and E content. Both vitamins are great in fighting the oxidative stress that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. But not just that because in one animal study conducted, it was found that taking moringa does not only show promising result for Alzheimer’s, but dementia as well.
- It is used to help keep bones healthy.
Moringa is indeed the tree of life for all its uses and health benefits. Furthermore, moringa is also found to be a great source of calcium and phosphorus, both are considered as two of the major elements that help keep our bones strong and healthy. Needless today, moringa also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may help treat certain conditions like arthritis. Also, it can help heal bone damages.
So, if you are suspected to have bone-related concerns, you better start including moringa in your diet.
- It is used to help treat mood disorders.
Have you been diagnosed or suspected to have mood disorders like fatigue, depression, or anxiety? If so, you better start eating or drinking food with moringa in it or taking moringa supplements as it is believed to also help treat mood disorders. Indeed, a miracle tree, right?
- It is used to help protect your heart.
While it is believed to help protect your heart from certain heart diseases, it does not help protect you from getting your heart broke. Just kidding!
Seriously though, moringa contains powerful antioxidants, which is known to be responsible in keeping the heart strong and healthy. In fact, antioxidants help prevent cardiac damage. So, if you want to keep a strong and healthy heart, you better start taking moringa.
- It is used to help treat certain asthma attacks.
Some research shows that moringa may also help reduce the severity of some asthma attacks. It is also believed to help protect you against bronchial constrictions. As earlier mentioned, moringa is also found to be responsible for keeping a good lung function.
In addition to this list of moringa uses and benefits, here are some more health issues that moringa is believed to help address or prevent:
- “Tired blood” (anemia)
- Birth control
- Increasing sex drive
- Kidney stones
- Swelling (inflammation)
- Stimulating immunity
- Thyroid disorders
When applied to the skin, moringa is believed to help address the following:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Gum disease (gingivitis)
- Skin Infections
Please note though that what we have are just some of the common health problems that are believed to be addressed by taking moringa in any form.
Moringa Risks and Precautions
Now that you already know moringa uses and benefits, it is just right to also let you know of probably risk or concerns when taking moringa.
Generally speaking, moringa is likely safe when its leaves, fruit, and seeds are eaten. Particularly its leaves and seeds are possibly safe when taken by mouth in the form of supplements or medicine, but for a short term period only. Meanwhile, products that contain moringa leaf were used with apparent safety for up to 90 days. As with moringa seeds, they have been used with apparent safety for 3 weeks. In addition, moringa root and root extracts, are considered possibly unsafe when taken by mouth as it said to contain spirochin, which is considered a toxic substance.
You should take extra precaution in taking moringa when you are diagnosed or suspected to be pregnant, as moringa contains an element that may trigger a contraction of the uterus, which may lead to premature birth or miscarriage.
You must also discuss with your attending physician about taking moringa when you have high cholesterol or blood sugar problems. Moringa is proven to help reduce both, and if taken along with other medication, it might lead to further reduction of your cholesterol and/or blood sugar levels, which is not healthy as well.
To conclude, if you have no prevailing health issues, taking moringa is definitely not a problem. In fact, it helps keep your body not just in good shape, but healthy as well. Otherwise, it is always best to ask your attending physician for proper guidance. Again, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
By now you are probably convinced with how amazing moringa oleifera is. With the number of moringa uses and health benefits, it surely is worthy to be called as the “tree of life” or the “miracle tree”.