Also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or the miracle tree, Moringa is a native plant to India that’s now cultivated globally. Found in about 13 species, moringa is known for its medicinal and nutritional value. Moringa Oleifera is the most commonly used species which has been in practice for centuries to treat different health conditions. Most parts of this plant can be used, including the flowers, and roots. However, the leaves contain a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, and proteins. The ability of Moringa to cure certain aliments has made it so popular among nutritionists, researchers and health experts.
Health Benefits of Moringa Boosts Milk Production
Moringa has been nicknamed ‘mother’s best friend’ due to its capabilities to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women. Some cultures traditionally used it to boost nutrition and increase the production of milk. Taking moringa extracts boosts prolactin, hence improving the nutritional value of mother’s milk. A study showed that babies of women who consumed Moringa for at least seven days a week, for four weeks, were healthier and gained more weight.
Rich in Antioxidants
Free radicals are responsible for oxidative stress which can cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Moringa contains several antioxidants such as polyphenols, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid which help to fight these free radicals. The leaves contain the highest amount of these antioxidants, and they also preserve food by reducing oxidation. Consuming moringa leaf extracts regularly increases the level of antioxidants in our blood, hence protecting the cells.
Can Help Combat High Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar can lead to more serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. That’s why doctors advise us to maintain our blood sugar levels within a certain limit. Studies based on animals show that moringa may be the solution to curb high blood sugar levels. Several studies tested the effectiveness of this miracle tree in lowering blood sugar. A study on women with diabetes found that incorporating 50 grams of moringa leaves to their meals reduced their blood sugar levels by 21 percent. Moringa leaf powder also lowers cholesterol and protects against cell damage in diabetic patients.
Improves Brain Health
The antioxidant properties in Moringa make it a superfood. Combined with the high levels of vitamins C and E, moringa is a neuro-enhancer which improves brain function. The plant is able to regulate serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine, neurotransmitters which are responsible for organ function, moods and memory in our brains.
Improves Liver Health
The liver’s main function is blood detoxification, fat and fructose metabolism, nutrient processing and bile production. For the liver to do its job, liver enzymes have to be healthy and at normal levels. The high polyphenols concentration in moringa leaves reverses liver oxidation, damage, and possible toxicity. Moringa oil helps to restore normal levels of liver enzymes and increase protein content in the liver.
Rich in Antibacterial Properties
Moringa plant has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that aid in the fight against infections. It enhances wound healing by reducing clotting time. The plant also fights fungi that cause skin infections and bacteria that cause digestive problems and urinary tract infections. Other Health Benefits of moringa include:
Antiseptic in hand sanitizers or soaps.
The high iron content may help treat anemia.
Protects the Heart.
Slows down the aging of the skin.
Can help to reduce weight.
Moringa Side Effects
For the most part, the leaves, seeds, and fruits of moringa plant are safe for human use. However, research shows that consuming its roots and bark can have adverse effects on human health including uterine contractions, which could cause miscarriage in expectant mothers. On the other hand, taking too much of the leaves can have laxative effects which could lead to digestive issues in some people. Other possible side effects of moringa include:
A study on rats showed that Moringa leaves increased liver and kidney damage.
The plant may interfere with fertility.
May lead to allergies.
May cause constipation.
Lowers blood pressure which in turn could lead to fatigue, dizziness, and depressive moods. Traditionally, some cultures used it to abort pregnancies in the early phase. That’s why pregnant women should avoid moringa, especially the roots.
Food supplements are generally safe for consumption. However, you need to read the labels carefully and choose a brand that you’re assured of quality. Likewise, before you start using any supplements, you need to understand the possible side effects to avoid developing complications. Since moringa is an herbal supplement, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t control or monitor its use. There is no recommended dosage and it’s safer to start with a small dose and gradually increase the dosage depending on the nutritional and health benefits you’re seeking. Remember, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly will keep you healthier and happier.