Commonly referred to as drumstick tree, ben tree or even horseradish tree, Moringa oleifera offers many known health benefits. It is widely popular in Eastern countries, particularly in Nepal, Pakistan, and India. High in antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, it is no longer surprising to hear that its consumption can be very advantageous in many ways. Here is a quick look at the different benefits of Moringa Oleifera.
What is moringa oleifera?
Native in South Asia, Moringa oleifera is a deciduous tree commonly cultured for uses in the fields of traditional medicine and water purification. This tree is just small, but the advantages it brings to people are really big. Its different parts are all valuable and are being used in many different important purposes.
The green leaves of moringa oleifera are widely used in cooking. Just like other healthy vegetables, the leaves are rich in nutritional content such as provitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins. They are also a good source of other essential nutrients like protein, manganese and vitamin K.
Commonly referred to as drumsticks, the seed pods are usually boiled and are high in manganese, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin C. The seeds are normally roasted and consumed as food. The seed oil is still being studied as a possible source of biofuel. Not to be left behind, the roots have a sharp flavor and are utilized as a condiment after shredding.
Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Plant
The numerous benefits of Moringa oleifera can be classified into many different ways. Here I will focus on just two of the most common reasons why many people continue to use Moringa oleifera.
Moringa Oleifera as an Extremely Healthy Everyday Food and Drink
One of the easiest and most common ways of enjoying the tissue-protecting and anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa Oleifera is by drinking. With its mild and gentle flavor, moringa extract or powder can easily be added to tea, coffee, smoothie, and other beverages. Packed with nutrients such as calcium, protein, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin D, drinking moringa is a good way to load up on amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
Drinking moringa daily can fend off free radicals by fighting inflammation, cell damage, and oxidative stress. Drinking extracts from the seeds, flowers, and leaves of this tree keep body organs healthy and functioning properly. They are rich in ascorbic acid, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Other unique health components of moringa include zeatin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic, kaempferol, and uercetin.
By fighting inflammation, a regular moringa drink can save you from developing chronic illnesses including obesity, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions, and diabetes.
Diabetes and Heart Health
Drinking moringa leaf can be beneficial to diabetic patients. It regulates oxidative stress and effectively decreases glucose and lipid levels. Regular consumption protects against cell damage and reduces cholesterol and blood sugar.
Moringa oleifera can also benefit the heart in many ways. It lowers cholesterol levels and prevents the development of plaque in the arteries.
Brain and Liver Health
Because of its neuro-enhancing and antioxidant properties, Moringa oleifera can boost cognitive function and brain health. Furthermore, studies have shown positive results of its potential benefits in treating Alzheimer’s disease. It also enhances the function of the brain by stopping the onset of neuron degeneration with its high levels of vitamins C and E. Consuming moringa daily normalizes the brain’s neurotransmitters which leads to better organ function, mood, and memory.
The liver is another major part of the body that will surely enjoy the benefits of Moringa Oleifera. Its flowers and leaves are rich in polyphenols which help prevent liver damage, fibrosis, toxicity, and oxidation.
Antifungal and Antibacterial
Moringa is also good in fighting different infections with its antifungal and antibacterial properties. With regular drink, one can avoid digestive problems, urinary tract infections, and blood conditions. Another observed benefit of drinking Moringa is improved wound healing. For people with digestive problems, Moringa can also be used as a healthy natural laxative.
As a highly nutritious food source, Moringa has been utilized around the world as an affordable tool in the fight against malnutrition. As a major nutrition boost, nursing mothers and their infants have long been benefiting from it as an excellent source of iron.
The Other Important Uses of Moringa Oleifera Beyond Food and Drinks
Aside from its crucial role in the kitchen, the benefits of Moringa Oleifera extend beyond just food and drinks. Because of the detergent and antiseptic properties of its leaves, they can be turned into powder and used as hand soap.
Moringa oleifera is also used in handling fecal sludge. As part of the dewatering and drying processes, the seeds are pressed and the extract is used as a conditioner for the wastewater.
The oilseeds are also useful in water purification. Once pressed, the oil gathered will act as a filter in flocculation to generate potable water for both humans and animals.
In traditional culture, some countries have been using moringa to treat different kinds of illnesses from fever, gout to inflammation. For headaches, the leaves are usually rubbed against the head to provide relief. It is also believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on wounds and insect bites. The leaves are turned into a tea to treat gastric ulcers and diarrhea. Moringa extracts are used to treat skin diseases whether they are caused by fungal or bacterial infections.
Powdered seeds are used to treat skin problems while the leaves are a treatment for painful mucous membrane inflammation, eye, and ear infections and bronchitis. If eaten raw, the pods act as a dewormer and can help improve liver conditions. Moringa is also useful against cramp, sexually transmitted diseases, gout, arthritis, and rheumatism. In the Philippines, individuals suffering from anemia are prescribed with moringa leaves because of the rich iron content.
Moringa oil is great for prostate conditions, bladder problems, hysteria, and scurvy. The bark can be used as an appetizer while the roots are perfect when dealing with cardiac and circulatory diseases. For men and women with erectile dysfunction, the drumstick seeds are used in a sexual virility medication under Siddha medicine. The seeds are also very effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.