Moringa oleifera (also known as the horseradish tree) is a high nutritional value plant with a wide range of medicinal uses. It is the most widely cultivated species of a monogeneric family, the Moringaceae, that is native to the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The following figures show a comparison of the nutritional content of fresh Moringa leaves and dried Moringa leaves compared to common foods. All values are per 100 grams of edible portion.
Almost all parts of the Moringa oleifera tree can be eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicine. The dried leaves are commonly sold as dietary supplements in powder or capsule form. Moringa seed oil (also known as Ben oil) has been used in salads, for machine lubrication, and in the manufacture of perfume and hair care products. Moringa seeds are used in the manufacture of perfumes and aromatherapy oils. Moringa flowers are used in making herbal tea. Moringa roots are used in traditional medicine to control disorders of the circulatory system, for stimulating appetite and to improve the functioning of digestive tract. In addition to these, they can treat sexual dysfunctions, female reproductive tract problems and arthritis.
This plant contains many important minerals and is a good source of protein, vitamins, beta-carotene, amino acids and various phenolics. Moringa also contains zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol.
It is like a multivitamin in natural form.
The plant (leaves, roots, seed, bark, fruit, flowers and immature pods) possess antitumor, antipyretic, antiepileptic, antiinflammatory, antiulcer, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive, cholesterol lowering, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and antifungal activities. For this reason, it is referred to as the ‘miracle tree’.
One tablespoon of moringa leaf powder contains:
- 2g Protein
- 110% RDA Vitamin A
- 16% RDA calcium
- 28% RDA Vitamin E
- 85% RDA Riboflavin
- 48% RDA Vitamin C
- 10% RDA Iron
Amino acids present in Moringa:
- Isoleucine – Promotes natural energy and brain health.
- Leucine – Contributes to alertness and increase energy.
- Lysine – Helps the bones absorb calcium, regulates hormones, and balances nutrients. Also reduces viral growth and helps to build collagen in bones.
- Methionine – Supplies sulfur to the body, lowers cholesterol, increases the liver’s production of lecithin. It reduces the fat stores in the liver, protects the kidneys, and keeps skin, hair and nails healthy.
- Phenylalanine – Helps the brain’s nerve cells communicate by producing the needed chemicals that support this function. This amino acid reduces hunger pangs, improves memory, and keeps you alert. It also boosts mood.
- Threonine – Increase metabolism and helps prevent fat from building up in the liver. It also helps the body to digest food and keeps the intestinal tract healthy.
- Tryptophan – Supports the immune system, lowers depression and insomnia, and even helps with migraines and headaches. It works with lysine to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and also reduces arterial spasms which can cause heart attack.
- Valine – Helps to promote a calm mind.
Other non-essential amino acids includes – alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glycine, histidine, serine, proline, tyrosine, and glutamic acid. These components helps to boost the immune system and suppress cancer tumor.
Tips when buying Moringa products
- Make sure its 100% moringa oleifera.
- Check if its vegetarian/vegan capsule.
- Where does the moringa oleifera come from?
- Buy fresh moringa powder as nutrients are lost overtime.
- Ensure that there is no added additives and fillers.
How to Consume Moringa
Moringa can be consumed on an empty or full stomach. Before, during or after meals. It it a food not medicine.
Moringa leaf powder is extremely versatile. Moringa leaves make a very “potent” powder, we recommend that you go slowly when eating it. Start out with eating a small amount, and increase it daily. The powder can be used as a tea, added to beverages, sprinkled on food or taken in capsules. Do note that heat destroys some of the vitamins, and all enzymes of Moringa leaves or Moringa powder. Do not cook the fresh Moringa leaves or powder for too long. Moringa powder/fresh leaves can be added to soups and stews when cooking, but more nutrition is available when added at the end of cooking, or just before eating. The taste of the powder is strong, so the amount that is palatable may depend upon the strength of the flavor of the soup or stew. Some flavors seem to blend well with Moringa powder (like peanut or lemon) and some does not. Experiment to find out what suits your taste.
Moringa pods can be boiled, steamed, fried, eaten in any way that one might use or eat green beans or asparagus. The pods are best for eating when they are young and tender. When they are too old, they become woody and fibrous. A good test is to bend the pod and if it snaps and breaks in half, it is good to eat. If it does not break, it is likely too old.
Moringa seeds have a remarkable ability to clean water and therefore the ability to clean toxins from the bloodstream. Too much may result in a lot of waste being cleaned out fairly rapidly which may upset your stomach.
Moringa oleifera leaf products should be stored in air-tight containers protected from heat, humidity and light. No side effects of moringa leaves have been reported. Hence, it can be safely consumed by children and adults.