Moringa or Moringa oleifera is a miracle tree belonging to the Moringa ceae family. It is commonly called the drumstick tree and is fast growing deciduous tree which is a native of India. This tree is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and South America. The other common names of moringa oleifera are Horseradish tree and Ben oil tree. Moringa is known for its health benefits from ancient times and its benefits have been discovered by the modern science only recently. Romans, Egyptians and Greeks had always credited the medicinal values of moringa and it was used for a range of health disorders. Moringa is widely used now by different humanitarian organizations to fight malnutrition and its ill effect in regions suffering from poverty, due to the economic viability and rapid growth.
Moringa tree grows wild and has thick, whitish bark with droopy, delicate branches and long, green, oval-shaped leaflets. The leaves of moringa has been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries and the Ayurvedic system of medicine uses moringa for the cure and prevention of more than 300 diseases. Moringa has rich presence of phytonutrients in it and this is effective for the prevention of many health and medical conditions like cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, bronchial asthma, sickle cell disease, nephrotoxicity, high cholesterol, anaemia, high blood pressure and it also helps in building a strong immune system.
Nutritional value of Moringa
Moringa is used medicinally and as a food source for more than 4000 years and it is packed with incredible amount of nutrition like protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, essential amino acids, iron, manganese, phosphorous, zinc and many more. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, and folate.
Moringa has many health benefits and it provide relief from stomach disorders, allergies and edema. Moringa has many antioxidant properties and it helps in the treatment of liver, diabetes, eye protection, bone health, cardiovascular issues, uroliathisasis, wound healing, healthy skin and hair. Apart from this moringa is also known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and helps in fighting various including herpes.
The unmatched and extraordinary medicinal benefits of moringa are such that it was named “miracle tree” during the food crisis in Africa. In Philippines moringa is considered as mother’s best friend because of its galactogogic properties.
Antioxidants: Moringa plants have rich mix of strong antioxidants like kaempferol, caffeoylquinic acid, quercetin, zeatin, chlorogenic acid, rutin and beta-sitosterol. These are powerful antioxidants in moringa which has free radical foraging ability and has strong therapeutic value in curing damage caused by oxidative stress.
Edema: Moringa extracts are popular nowadays because of its ability to treat edema. Moringa roots extra have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in slowing down the development of edema. The effects of moringa herb are equivalent with the powerful anti-inflammatory medicine indomethacin which is used for the treatment of such health conditions.
Liver Protection: Moringa extracts exercise a hepatoprotective effect on the liver, damaged by anti-tubular drugs and it also stimulates the speeding up of the recovery process. Moringa has the capacity to restore the levels of glutathione content in the body prevents hepatic lipid peroxidation caused by radiation. This effect is because credited to the presence of phytochemicals like catechin, epicatechin, ferulic acid and vitamin C in moringa.
Diabetes: Moringa have positive results on reduction of blood glucose, urine sugar and urine proteins in diabetic patients. It also provides marked improvement in haemoglobin levels and total protein content of diabetic patients.
Skin: The oil extracted from the seeds of moringa is useful for the skin. The oil provides hydrating and detoxifying effects on the skin from the ill effects of harmful pollutants, prevents wrinkles and slows down premature aging. Moringa oil has high protein content presence and it helps in protecting the dermal cells from damage caused by heavy metals like mercury and cadmium. Moringa oil is used widely in the production of cosmetics and skin care products because of the high protein content.
Cancer: Moringa is an anticancer mediator and is popularly used in tumour therapy. Moringa extracts have chemopreventive properties and this is credited to the presence of the phenolic components quercetin and kaempferol. The bioactive compounds, niazimicin, present in moringa control the growth of cancer cells. The chemomodulatory effects passed on by moringa extracts helps in the curing of various types of cancers like ovarian cancer, hepatic carcinogenesis and skin papillomagenesis by slowing down the production of malignant cancer cells and inducing apoptosis or the programmed cell death.
Cardiovascular protection: Moringa extracts helps in the prevention of myocardial or cardiac damage and this is mainly because of the presence of the powerful antioxidants in it. Moringa extracts provide antiperoxidative and cardio-protective effects and treatment with moringa helps in slowing down the increase in lipid perioxidation in the myocardial tissue and helps in maintaining a healthy heart.
Asthma: Moringa extracts provide relief from bronchial asthma and inflammation caused in the airways. It reduces the severity of asthmatic attacks and similar health problems like wheezing, cough, dyspnea and heaviness of chest and make sure that the lung function and respiration goes smooth.
Hair Care: Moringa oil is effective in providing support for healthy hair and is effective in cleaning and purifying the hair. It protects the hair from environmental damage like ultra violet radiation. It is popularly used as an effective conditioner for the scalp, strengthening of the roots and it boosts the growth of the hair.
As Food: Most of the parts of The Moringa like the leaves, bark, fruits and roots are edible and used as food items. The leaves can be added to salads and used in the preparation of sauces and soups. The oil extracted through the cold pressing method is used for cooking and the seed pods of the moringa tree, also known as drumsticks, are used in different dishes. The leaves of moringa is the best alternative to meat for vegetarians and amino acids present in moringa like aregenine and histidine, which are essential for infants, is present in large quantities in it.