Moringa is a plant that has recently gained popularity both as a superfood and as a miracle herb. The plant, which is also known as the horseradish tree, ben oil tree, and drumstick tree, is native to Northern India, where it was known for thousands of years as a medical herb.
Today, moringa is also grown in tropical and subtropical regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The plant is relatively large and almost all parts of it are edible – the leaves, pods, roots, seeds, and flowers. Research has explored the many health benefits of this plant. Here, we cover just 10 of the known benefits that come with moringa consumption.
1. Prevents Malnutrition
Moringa is mostly known for its high nutritional value which experts believe can help fight malnutrition in developing countries. The moringa tree is fast growing and drought resistant while also being rich in essential nutrients.
The leaves are exceptionally rich in important nutrients such as protein, vitamin B6, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B2, calcium, and magnesium. Compared to the leaves, the pods are not as rich in these nutrients, but they do contain a fair amount of vitamin C.
2. Provides Antioxidant Protection
Free radicals are unstable molecules containing an unpaired electron and which can damage our body’s cells. Our body normally fights free radical damage with the help of antioxidants which are found abundantly in moringa. The compounds that exhibit antioxidant action found in Moringa include vitamin C, zeatin, beta-sitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol, and caffeoylquinic acid which researchers claim is a combination unique to this plant. The potent antioxidant activity of Moringa is said to have the potential to fight many disease states caused by oxidative stress.
3. Prevents Cancer
DNA damage caused by free radicals is arguably one of the leading causes of most cancers. Since Moringa was found to provide antioxidant protection, research has also looked into this herb’s potential to prevent cancer.
A study published in PLOS One found that Moringa leaves and seeds were especially effective in fighting breast and colorectal cancer – two of the deadliest cancers today. But other parts of the herb may also protect against many other cancers. For instance, the bark of Moringa contains eugenol which research found prevented prostate cancer.
4. Better Cardiovascular Health
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but most often, cardiovascular disease is linked to a poor diet and hypertension. Moringa was found to help in both cases. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that moringa extract lowers blood pressure in spontaneous hypertension. A review published in Frontiers in Pharmacology states that moringa leaves help balance blood lipids caused by a bad diet.
5. Fights Infection
Moringa is also touted as one of the nature’s most powerful antibiotics and fungicides. Most studies testing moringa’s efficiency in fighting some strains of bacteria and fungi were done in vitro or on mice. Most of these studies showed promising results, but the scientists conducting them still would not recommend moringa as the sole treatment option in fighting infections. The most promising results seem to be with skin infections caused by bacteria and fungus.
6. Improves Brain Health
Diseases affecting the brain include Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Some argue that anxiety and depression are also a result of some structural damage to the brain. Moringa can protect the brain against such damage thanks to its abundance of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E which the brain needs for normal health and functioning. Preliminary studies show that Moringa is a potent remedy for common neurodegenerative conditions. So, if you were wondering how to improve memory, consider taking moringa extract.
7. Supports Liver Health
Moringa seeds are rich in polyphenol-containing oils which a study published in the Journal of Food Science found protected liver health. More specifically, moringa seeds were found in the study above to restore liver enzymes to healthy levels. Our liver needs a healthy balance of enzymes to function properly and which is easily disrupted with a poor diet and lifestyle habits.
8. Mitigates painful inflammation
Inflammation is our body’s response to injury and infection. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can damage the tissue and cause various disease states. Moringa can help reduce chronic inflammation by suppressing the action of inflammatory enzymes according to a study published in the journal Inflammation. Since inflammation is often the main cause of pain in diseases like arthritis and some autoimmune disorders, moringa can be said to be a natural pain reliever.
9. Fights Diabetes
Moringa was also studied as a natural diabetes treatment. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes found that moringa extract significantly reduced the progression of diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and inflammation. The extract was also found to reduce pancreas cell damage thanks to the antioxidants naturally present in this herb.
10. Regulates Hormonal Imbalances
Researchers also found that moringa help regulated hormonal imbalances caused by poor thyroid functioning, ovarian and testicular diseases, and stress. One study found that moringa increased testosterone levels by suppressing the action of stress hormones while another study found that it regulated thyroid hormone status.
Moringa is considered a superfood in tropical regions and a herbal miracle in Europe and North America. The sturdy tree can be useful in preventing malnutrition where such dangers exist and preventing diseases caused by free radicals and inflammation.
Many of the benefits associated with moringa are due to the plant’s unique nutrient and phytochemical profile that many say is much more potent than spinach, kale, and berries. If you can get your hands on this amazing plant, make sure to include it into your diet for better overall health.