I first discovered Moringa oleifera about a year ago while on my quest to add more edible plants to our permaculture food forest garden.
The more I researched moringa, the more I was intrigued by this miracle tree, although I was sceptical at first, the evidence both anecdotal and documented just keeps adding up. I knew I had to have one… or three.
The moringa tree is native to India but also grows throughout Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean so I know even I can grow it here in Thailand.
As it turns out, most Thai’s know of this tree and call it Ma-rum. It’s referred to it as a herb, but surprisingly I find they are quite dismissive of it. They occasionally add the leaves to sour soup (kaeng som) and stews.
What is Moringa?
Moringa oleifera is commonly known as the drumstick tree (due to it’s long seed pods), the horseradish tree (due to the taste of its roots), ben oil tree (due to the oil that is derived from the seeds when pressed) and the miracle tree to name but a few.
For a comprehensive list of hundreds of other names for the Moringa oleifera tree in dozens of countries, click here.
Moringa contains many healthy compounds. Pound for pound and gram for gram much more than many regular fruits and vegetables such as:
- 4 x the vitamin A of carrots
- 7 x the folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) of oranges
- 4 x the calcium of milk
- 3 x the potassium of bananas
- 3 x the Iron of spinach
Other minerals include: magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, sulphur and selenium. Vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin) are also found in moringa in high amounts and work synergistically.
Morninga is also extremely low in fats, contains no harmful cholesterol and has the complete range of Amino Acids.
Moringa has few known side effects so it is truly a miracle tree if ever there was one! Just check out the nutrient composition of 100g moringa below:
Moringa nutritional composition values from Science Direct.
What are the Benefits of Incorporating Moringa Oleifera in Your Diet?
Moringa oleifera is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health and beauty to helping prevent and cure diseases.
Every part of the tree including the roots, the tripinnate leaves and the seeds are useful and have been used for centuries due to its medicinal benefits. It also contains anti-fungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, it’s worth remembering because of soil depletion, food crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. Losses of 20% to 30% have been recorded.
Combine that with transporting fruit and vegetables half way round the world and the proliferation of processed fast food, and we’re only getting a fraction of the daily recommended nutrients we need to function, fight infections, stay healthy and alert.
Not everyone has a moringa oleifera tree growing in their backyard to take fresh leaves from. However, adding organic moringa in the form of powder or capsules to your diet can significantly help you address these modern dietary imbalances and improve your overall health. More of that later.
Sceptical? Moringa sounds too good to be true, right? Well that’s is what I thought, but maybe big pharma doesn’t want us to know about it. If everyone was healthy they wouldn’t make billions keeping us dependent on their drugs. Read on to find out why moringa is a superfood…
- Protects and Nourishes the Skin and Hair
Moringa seed oil is beneficial for protecting your hair against free radicals and keeps it clean and healthy. Moringa also contains protein, which means it is helpful in protecting skin cells from damage. It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost skin and protects the hair.
Katae has seen small skin blemishes visibly reduced in a week when she started using a localised application of organic moringa oil.
Studies have shown impressive weight loss benefits in people taking a multi-ingredient supplement containing moringa. Moringa is reported to reduce fat formation and enhance fat breakdown.
Drinking two cups of Moringa tea for weight loss is perhaps the easiest way to start your safe slimming lifestyle.
Alternatively, adding two teaspoons of natural moringa powder to your smoothies will also ensure your body is getting all the benefits from the multiple vitamins, minerals and amino acids it contains.
Edema is a painful condition where fluid builds up in specific tissues in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may be effective in preventing edema from developing.
Protects the Liver
Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken the repair process.
Preventing and Treating Cancers
Moringa extracts contain properties such as niazimicin, a thiocarbamate from the leaves of Moringa oleifera that might help prevent cancers from developing. The polyphenols in moringa leaves also have cancer-fighting properties and may reduce the risk of conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Moringa helps to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, as well as sugar and protein in the urine. This improved the haemoglobin levels and overall protein content in those tested.
Treating Stomach Complaints
Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, IBS and gastritis. The antibacterial and antibiotic properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.
Fighting Against Bacterial Diseases
Due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by Salmonella, Rhizopus, and E. coli.
Makes Bones Healthier
Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat and reduce debilitating conditions such as arthritis.
Treating Mood Disorders
Moringa is said to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and even fatigue. Many people who take moringa on a regular basis claim to have much more energy than before they added moringa to their diet.
Protecting the Cardiovascular System
The powerful antioxidants found in Moringa extract might help prevent cardiac damage and has also been shown to maintain a healthy heart.
Helps to Heal Wounds
Extract of moringa has been shown to help wounds close as well as reduce the appearance of scars.
Moringa may help reduce the severity of some asthma attacks and protect against bronchial constrictions. It has also been shown to assist with better lung function and breathing.
Protects Against Kidney Disorders
People may be less likely to develop stones in the kidneys, bladder or uterus if they ingest moringa extract on a regularly basis. Moringa contains high-levels of antioxidants that might aid toxicity levels in the kidneys.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Moringa contains two compounds, isothiocyanate and niaziminin that help to stop arteries from thickening, which can cause blood pressure to rise.
Improved Eye Health
Moringa contains eyesight-improving properties thanks again to its high antioxidant levels. Moringa may stop the dilation of retinal vessels, prevent the thickening of capillary membranes, and inhibit retinal dysfunction.
For Anaemia and Sickle Cell Disease
Moringa might help a person’s body absorb more iron, therefore increasing their red blood cell count. It is thought moringa extract is very helpful in treating and preventing anaemia and sickle cell disease.
How to Take Your Daily Moringa
Adding moringa to your diet on a regular basis can reduce or even eliminate many modern health issues. It’s also worth noting that there are no known side effects. To be on the safe side, as with any new dietary supplement, start with a small amount and consult a doctor first.
One popular option to incorporate Moringa into your healthy lifestyle diet is by taking 2-6 grams of organic moringa powder a day. The powder can be added to fruit shakes, smoothies or mix with natural yogurt to boost your immune system and nutritional intake.
Moringa powder is made from the fresh leaves of the tree. The powder should be bright green in colour. If you buy cheap moringa powder online (as I have) and it’s brown it means it has been either:
- Mixed with additives
- Poorly grown
- Poorly processed
It goes without saying, but you don’t want to touch this junk.
Moringa capsules are another popular and convenient way of getting all the healthy benefits of this incredibly healthy plant. They are deal if you are traveling or always find yourself on-the-go.
Again, the same rules apply to moringa capsules and they do for powder, ensure they are fresh and green
Another points to note if you are buying moringa capsules online is the composition of the capsules. Some capsules are suitable for vegans and others are not. Check the labels before you buy to ensure no animals products are used in the manufacture of the moringa capsules.
Moringa can also be consumed as a cold or hot tea. It’s naturally caffeine free and adding a teaspoon of raw honey provides even more health benefits and sweetens the earthy taste if so desired.
I generally make a pot of moringa tea from fresh or fried leaves and drink several cups a day. There first is hot, the last is not but each cup is full of natural goodness. I actually like the taste too so I don’t add anything to it.
And it goes without saying, the moringa tea leaves are emptied into the kitchen scrap bin and given to the chickens to consume and compost.
Making a cold brew at night from moringa leaves or powder to consume the following day is also easy and allows you to get the maximum health benefits from this miracle of Mother nature. For an added twist, add a little ginger to give it a kick!
Cooking with Moringa
Moringa works well with many dishes. Katae adds it to her sour soup (kaeng som), and introduces it to stir-fries, stews, salads, omelettes and sandwiches. It’s important to note the extreme heat when cooking will destroy the many benefits of moringa, so only introduce it to your dishes just before serving.
Growing Moringa Oleifera Trees
I’ll cover how we grow organic moringa trees from seed on Anarchy Farm here in Thailand in another blog post.
I’ll also share how cropping the trees back to a 15cm stumps can produce more than 5 times the amount of leaves in little over a month. See examples below and on our Instagram.
Do you use fresh moringa oleifera or use moringa powder or capsules in your diet for improved health? Let us know in the comments below. If you want to spread the word on this moringa superfood, please consider sharing this post with your friends and family.
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17 Amazing Health and Beauty Benefits of Moringa Oleifera