Moringa effect: what exactly is behind the miracle plant from India?
From acai berries to ginger to chia seeds – numerous superfoods have been trendy for years and more and more people are using them as a healthy ingredient in smoothies, baked goods and healthy dishes. If you've been browsing your Instagram news feed lately, you may have noticed a whole new food trend. We are talking about Moringa oleifera, or in Germany also known as a drumstick tree or horseradish tree. The plant comes from India and has been used in Eastern cultures for centuries to treat various diseases. But before you add the miracle cure to your diet, it's important to learn more about the Moringa effects and the potential benefits and side effects. Everything you should know can be found in our article!
“If you have a moringa tree in your own garden, you always have a doctor with you.” Is an old Ayurvedic proverb that suggests the importance and positive properties of the plant. It is not for nothing that Moringa is still called a miracle tree – it contains a very high amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need. In alternative medicine, Moringa is used to lower blood pressure, relieve headaches, strengthen the immune system, and much more. Although there are some scientific studies on the benefits of the plant, most of them are based on animal testing. Therefore, further research is needed.
What is Moringa?
Since all parts of the Moringa tree – leaves, seeds, bark, roots, flowers and pods are technically edible, it is incredibly useful. Most often, however, it is most commonly available in powder or tablet form as a dietary supplement. The leaves have a taste similar to spinach and go perfectly with curries, salads and delicious stews. In powder form, it tastes similar to other green superfoods such as Matcha or Spirulina. A study by the journal “Food Science and Human wellness” found that Moringa provides the following nutrients:
- 17 times more calcium than cow's milk
- 15 times more potassium than bananas
- 4 times more protein than eggs
- 10 times as much vitamin A as carrots
- 25 times more iron than spinach.
However, the nutritional values are only for the fresh leaves, and not for powder or Moringa tea.
The positive Moringa effect on our health
In folk medicine, the seeds were used to treat stomach pain, joint pain, visual disturbances and to support digestion. The Moringa leaves and stems are used against diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, anemia and much more. It also has strong antibiotic effects against a wide range of pathogens, including Salmonella typhimirium, Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori.
- Moringa to treat type 2 diabetes – Recent scientific studies have confirmed that Moringa can actually help fight diabetes and has been shown to lower blood sugar. A small clinical study published in Nutrients magazine in 2018 found that a single 8 gram dose of Moringa powder a day after 40 days resulted in a 28% drop in blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
- For the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases – Nowadays, hypertension is one of the most common diseases and the likelihood of developing it increases significantly with age. The positive Moringa effect for lowering high blood pressure was already confirmed in 2019 by a study carried out on rats.
- Moringa effect in asthma and other respiratory diseases – A study conducted by Frontiers in Pharmacology found that taking 4 grams of Moringa powder daily for 3 weeks reduced the symptoms and symptoms of asthma and improved lung function.
- Against anemia – In the case of anemia, either the proportion of red blood cells in the blood volume is too low or the hemoglobin content in the blood is reduced. Women between the ages of 18 and 40 are most often affected and the causes are diverse. In addition to chronic illnesses, bleeding and infections, anemia occurs as a result of malnutrition or iron deficiency. Iron and folic acid are among the main ingredients of Moringa and a sufficient intake could be beneficial for the treatment of anemia.
Other benefits of the miracle plant for our health
- Strengthens the immune system – Maintaining a strong immune system is very important to successfully protect us from infections and diseases. Moringa leaves are an excellent source of iron and vitamin A – two ingredients that are essential for the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Promotes muscle growth – People who exercise regularly can also benefit from the positive Moringa effect. In order to stay fit, a diet rich in amino acids is very important for athletes. As already mentioned, Moringa contains all 9 essential amino acids and that is exactly what makes it an excellent supplier. In addition, the leaves consist of almost 30% protein, which promotes muscle growth.
- Helps with stress and depression – A study by the Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics in 2011 confirmed that the leaves of the Moringa tree are a strong, natural adaptogen. Adaptogens have a relaxing effect and have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to reduce stress and improve attention and concentration.
- Moringa is the ideal source of vegetable protein – Whether you're a vegetarian or vegan, or just trying to cut back on your meat intake, finding a suitable vegetable protein source isn't always easy. This is where the miracle tree comes into play – 1 tablespoon of Moringa powder provides 3 grams of protein and contains significantly more iron than spinach.
Moringa for radiant and healthy skin
Vitamin A is important for a radiant and healthy skin and vitamin E protects the skin cells from oxidative stress and fights free radicals. And Moringa contains a large amount of the two vitamins. Free radicals are caused by air pollution, unhealthy eating and sun exposure. They damage the cells and can lead to premature skin aging. The antidote – protective main care products rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids.
The exceptionally high content of antioxidants and the ingredient zeatin are responsible for the positive Moringa effect on the skin. They ensure faster regeneration of the skin and counteract oxidative stress and the aging process. In addition, they are contained in the leaves and therefore in the powder and in the Moringa oil. Both the internal intake and the external topical application are therefore advantageous for the skin. The benefits for the skin of the miracle tree are so great that Moringa powder is one of the first foods ever to be sold in the Beauty Hall of the renowned London department store “Liberty”.
A wonder weapon for water treatment
In addition to the use of moringa as a food and medicinal plant, another application of the miracle tree has recently been discovered. It has been proven that the seeds act as natural coagulants and can therefore be used for water purification. A study from 2014 came to the conclusion that the use of moringa seeds removes almost 100% the bacteria and viruses in the polluted water.
Only use high quality products
The market is now overcrowded with Moringa products and that's why we recommend you to choose a high quality product. Check the ingredients and make sure that it comes from organic farming without pesticides. Powders and tablets are made in different countries and can vary greatly in quality. So better research first and only then buy.
Are side effects known and who shouldn't use Moringa?
Although moringa is generally described as very healthy and there are no known reasons why it should not be consumed in moderation, in some cases it is necessary to be more careful when consuming it.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women – Should prefer to use Moringa. Miscarriage can occur due to the chemicals contained in the root, bark or flowers.
- Because Moringa can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, it should not be taken with other medications to treat diabetes or high blood pressure. It is therefore advisable to consult your doctor first.
- However, the phytate and mustard oil glycosides contained in Moringa can lead to diarrhea or stomach pain when consumed in large quantities. To help the body get used to it, health experts advise starting with smaller amounts and observing how you feel about it. To prevent side effects, the daily intake should be gradually increased. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day are ideal to start with.
- Those who consume enough iron through their diet must be careful about consuming Moringa. While iron deficiency is dangerous, too much iron in the body can lead to gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, vomiting and nausea.
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