Why Moringa is the Only Superfood You'll Ever Need
The Moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) is native to the Himalayas in Northwestern India. The plant has been used as traditional medicine for over 5,000 years to treat more than 300 different diseases.
Also known as the “Miracle Tree” or “Wonder Tree,” almost all parts of the plant, from the bark, seeds, and root to the leaves and flowers, have a great medicinal value.1
Moringa powder is the most common form of the natural supplement. The powder has over 90 nutrients and eight amino acids that are known to bring your bodily system into balance. Moringa contains vitamins such as B6, A, C, and B2 and essential nutrients such as protein, magnesium, and iron.
In comparison to some of your favorite sources of vitamins and minerals, Moringa is known to have:
- 17x as much calcium as milk
- 15x as much potassium as bananas
- 7x times as much vitamin C as oranges
- 7x as much B2 as yeast
- 6x as much polyphenols as red wine
- 4.5x as much folic acid as beef liver
- 4.5x as much vitamin E as wheat seedlings
- 4x as much vitamin A and 2.5x times as much carotene as carrots2
The “Wonder Tree” also has highly sought-after antioxidant, antiepileptic, antitumor, and antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties. It can be used to reduce cholesterol, fight infections, heal liver and kidney disorders, and even treat diabetes.1
Even more fascinating, the seeds of the Moringa tree have such powerful detoxifying properties that they are able to purify water and reduce its turbidity between 92% and 99%!
Are you curious enough about this miracle plant yet?
As of today, researchers have only discovered a fraction of the health benefits of Moringa. This popular plant is on the cutting edge of homeopathic health.
Here is everything you wanted to know about Moringa and six of its science-backed health benefits.
For good reason, Moringa was awarded “plant of the year” by the National Institutes of Health in 2008.
In addition to its medicinal properties, it is an incredibly resilient plant. It grows despite poor soil and drought, and it can even improve the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
All parts of the tree are edible, and it can be grown in the climates of countries around the world where food is scarce to fight world hunger and malnourishment.
Moringa is currently being used in feeding programs in India and Africa because it can be grown easily and cheaply. The young seedpods, also called “drumsticks,” can be prepared similar to green beans. The seeds themselves can be extracted and cooked liked nuts. The leaves can be cooked similar to spinach or dried and used as a condiment. No matter what form the tree is in, it is edible and retains its nutritional composition of vitamins and minerals.
Moringa seeds also contain an oil that can be used as renewable energy.3 This oil is also found in foods, hair products, perfume, and machine lubricant.
The seed that remains after oil extraction is also used as a filter to purify water, as a fertilizer, or to remove salt from seawater.4
In the United States, Moringa is usually sold in a capsule or powder form. The raw shoots of the plant are known to taste like horseradish, while the fruit of the plant tastes like asparagus. This is usually off-putting to some, making the powder and capsule popular.
How to Reap the Benefits of Moringa in Your Diet
- Dried Moringa Leaves: Moringa leaves are thought to be the most potent part of the tree, containing the highest number of antioxidants and macronutrients. Approximately seven pounds of Moringa leaves make a whole pound of Moringa powder. Dried Moringa leaves can be found in a capsule, powder, or tea form. The powder can be added to juice, smoothies, yogurt, cereal, or granola. It is advised that you take this powder with a meal rather than on an empty stomach.2,5
- Moringa Tea: Dried Moringa leaves are steeped in hot water for this herbal form of Moringa. To achieve the most nutrient-dense form of this drink, steep an organic form of the tea at a low temperature to retain its benefits. Avoid boiling, and do not cook the leaves in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and other delicate compounds.5
- Moringa Seeds: While a less common form of consumption, Moringa seeds contain amazing purifying and detoxifying properties. They also include beneficial proteins and fatty acids. They have the highest protein content of any other part of the plant and are a cheap and easily accessible form of dietary protein in malnourished countries.2
- Moringa Oil: Moringa oil is not typically ingested — it is applied to the skin as lotions or creams. When applied to the skin, Moringa can help with conditions such as snakebites, warts, dandruff, athlete’s foot, and skin infections.4
But the options don't stop there! You can find a full list of twenty ways to use Moringa right here.
Potential Side Effects of Moringa
Before adding Moringa or any nutritional supplement to your regimen, consult with a doctor. While Moringa has been used for thousands of years for numerous health conditions, manufactured Moringa supplements have the potential to contain unwanted ingredients such as chemical additives. When consumed in a pure, high-quality form, Moringa is well tolerated and unlikely to cause any side effects.
Avoid Moringa and its extracts when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Preliminary research has shown that consuming the roots and seeds of Moringa may be unsafe during pregnancy and cause complications such as early labor.5
Health Benefits of Moringa
There are more than 1,300 studies and reports on the health benefits and healing abilities of Moringa. Currently, Moringa is used for treating the following medical conditions:
- Rheumatism (joint pain)
- Stomach pain
- Stomach and intestinal ulcers
- High blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Fluid retention
- Heart problems
- Thyroid disorders
- Low libido
- Gum disease
- Improve immune system function4
Do you suffer from any of these conditions? You could benefit from adding Moringa to your health routine.
Even if you don’t see yourself in this list, you won’t regret giving Moringa a try.
Let’s look at the six health benefits of Moringa.
6 Key Health Benefits of Moringa
1. Contains Healing Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Compounds
The “Wonder Tree” contains an impressive number of antioxidants, which can help protect your body from free radicals. Free radicals invade your system during times of bodily stress, such as infection, high blood sugar, ingestion of toxins, radiation, and air pollution.
Left unchecked without enough antioxidants to fight their effects, free radicals can lead to prolonged oxidative stress and cause an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other negative outcomes.6
The antioxidant effects of Moringa leaf extract have been found to have a profound impact on cleansing the body of toxins. Studies in mice reveal that Moringa leaves may be useful in reducing the effects of arsenic exposure. Arsenic is a harmful chemical that has been found to leave traces in our drinking water and factory-farmed foods, such as rice. Left untreated, arsenic exposure is associated with heart disease and certain cancers.7
Moringa also contains a magical mix of amino acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and antibacterial nutrients that, in combination, create an anti-inflammatory response that equals that of pharmaceutical medications (without the side effects).8 These anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa help to heal a number of conditions affected by harmful inflammation throughout the body, such as digestive issues, infection, cancer, and more. We've written more in detail about how Moringa soothes joint pain and reduces stress right here.
2. Improves Digestive Health
Due to Moringa’s anti-inflammatory benefits, the plant has been used for centuries to heal a number of digestive issues. Moringa is known to benefit those suffering with fungal and yeast infections in the digestive system (such as candida), stomach ulcers, kidney damage, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis.9
Moringa is also used to boost liver function, which helps rid the body of harmful toxins. The plant’s diuretic properties help with other digestion-related issues such as constipation, edema, and fluid retention. One study in rats found that a supplement of Moringa leaves was successful for the inhibition of edema development. Further research is necessary to confirm if this effect is similar in humans.
3. Fights Diabetes by Balancing Blood Sugar Levels and Reduces Cholesterol
Believe it or not, Moringa has natural anti-diabetic properties. The plant contains chlorogenic acid, which has been found to play a major role in the processing of glucose. Chlorogenic acid reduces an over-active glycemic response and keeps blood sugar levels steady. Other compounds, called isothiocyanates, which reduce insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity, are found in Moringa leaves.
Flavonoids, a group of plant metabolites with strong antioxidant properties, are also found in Moringa. A specific flavonoid called quercetin, present in Moringa, has been found to reduce high cholesterol and pancreatic oxidative stress in rodent studies.10
4. Balances Hormones and Slows the Effects of Aging
Moringa has been used as a natural aphrodisiac to increase sex drive for centuries. It has also been shown to balance the hormonal changes that come with aging. A study in 2014 looking at the outcome of pre-menopausal women with different dietary supplements found that those who supplemented with Moringa leaf powder saw a large decrease in the markers of oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant status. In addition, fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin levels improved after 90 days of ingestion. These results led researchers to believe that Moringa has potential therapeutic benefits to prevent complications of aging as well as hormonal changes.11
5. Protects and Nourishes the Skin
As mentioned above, Moringa oil can be found in many natural lotions and creams. Moringa contains antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial compounds that can protect the skin from different forms of infection.
It can also help heal acne breakouts due to its anti-inflammatory properties and can help heal wounds as well as insect or animal bites, burns, and viral warts or athlete’s foot.12
One study revealed that four grams of Moringa powder in dried and wet application had the same cleansing effect as non-medicated hand soap when used for hand washing. Now that’s a superfood!
When Moringa oil is applied directly to the skin regularly, it can restore its natural moisture barrier and protect from dryness and cracking. It also has a pleasant smell, which is why it is a common ingredient for hair products and perfumes.
6. Helps Stabilize Mood and Protect Brain Health
Moringa has been associated with an increase in neurotransmitter function, specifically increasing serotonin levels.13 Serotonin has a well-studied role in mood regulation, and specifically, it has antidepressant properties. While more research is necessary in this area, we could all benefit from a serotonin boost.
In addition, the antioxidative properties of Moringa are hypothesized to play a pivotal role in the treatment of cognitive disorders. Moringa may be an excellent brain supplement by enhancing memory and performing other healing functions.
Although the pathway by which Moringa helps the brain is not entirely clear yet, research has revealed that Moringa extract reversed memory loss in mice. Monoamine, a key neurotransmitter whose reduction is related to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, has been found to be well regulated by Moringa. Research in rats also reveals that Moringa may have antiepileptic properties by improving neurotransmitter function after an induced seizure.
The Moringa plant, also known as the “Wonder Tree,” has immense medicinal value.
From its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidative properties to its mood- and immune-boosting potential, there is no doubt that you'll want to consider adding Moringa to your diet.
And if you want to learn about Moringa in video form or share with your friends, enjoy:
To your health, Annalise May
Contributing Editor, Clear Health Now
To your health,