Moringa oleifera commonly referred to as Moringa, is native to India and capable of growing in tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions. It has been an essential part of traditional medicinal practices, with its leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots contributing to holistic health.
Moringa was a treasured commodity, highly valued in the ancient world. Ancient medicine deployed moringa to treat conditions ranging from diabetes, inflammation to joint pains and bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Additionally, traditional medicine extensively used moringa to improve and maintain heart health.
Archaeological studies demonstrate that ancient kings and queens from 150 B.C. preferred the inclusion of Moringa leaves and fruit in their diet to maintain mental alertness and healthy skin. Additionally, Maurian warriors from ancient India, when defending the front lines, were given Moringa leaf extract. This elixir was believed to provide extra strength and help them heal faster.
The reasoning behind traditional medicine using Moringa is slowly being brought to light thanks to Science. Research has shown that this plant is a powerhouse of nutrients, with each part of the Moringa tree when studied, be it the fruits, seeds, bark, or leaves, demonstrating exceptional nutritional content.
The book Nutritive Value of Indian Foods by C. Gopalan et al. has demonstrated that Moringa oleifera has
- 7x the Vitamin C contained in oranges
- 25x the iron contained in spinach
- 10x the Vitamin A contained in carrots
- 17x the Calcium contained in milk
- 15x the Potassium contained in bananas
- 9x the protein contained in yoghurt
Besides, it contains high amounts of vitamin B, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. With a distinct combination of zeatin, quercetin, sitosterol, kaempferol and caffeoylquinic acid. Brimming with antioxidants, Moringa provides a significant boost to the immune system and is being used for various culinary preparations worldwide.
Moringa leaves also possess amazingly higher methionine and cysteine contents similar to human milk, cow's milk and chicken egg. Every 100g of fresh Moringa leaves contains a whopping 92 nutrients. Here is a breakdown of the components:
Figures shown for vitamin A are carotene content for fresh leaves and beta-carotene content for dried leaves.
This is sufficient for the daily dietary requirements of children, adults, and lactating mothers. These values further reveal that Moringa is a great source to combat various micronutrient deficiencies at different life stages.
Every part of this miracle plant possesses nutritional and medicinal properties. With a vast nutritive profile, Moringa leaves are extensively recommended by doctors, nutritionists, health care workers, and researchers for combating malnutrition.
With its abundance of nutrients, Moringa can treat a wide range of conditions such as hyperthyroidism.
With its cardio-protective properties, research shows that Moringa, when adopted as a food supplement for coronary artery disease patients and regular medications, goes a long way in maintaining heart health.
It works as a hypocholesterolemic agent in obese patients.
Further studies demonstrate moringa is a potent antiproliferation agent capable of inducing apoptosis on human cancer cells with chemo preventive and cytotoxic properties.
Additionally, with strong anti-epileptic properties it can potentially treat fits and seizures. It also helps in enhancing memory, brainpower and maintains sound mental health.
However, in today’s context, the biggest draw towards moringa is its abundant antioxidant activity. With a high nutritional profile, a little bit of moringa each day helps in controlling inflammation and boosting immunity.
With a large amount of fibre, moringa helps in regulating bowel movements. Additionally, its antioxidant properties go a long way in boosting metabolism.
Moringa leaves can be applied topically to treat bacterial and fungal infections in addition to relieving aches and pains.
When taken orally, it can be ingested as capsules or as powders in tea. In various cuisines worldwide, the leaves, seeds, pulp, and bark are used to prepare wonderful dishes. As a supplement, pregnant and lactating women need to consult their healthcare providers before starting a course.