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Moringa: The new ‘turmeric’ on the block

Moringa: The new ‘turmeric’ on the block

Moringa Oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of softwood tree. It is native to the Himalayas in North Western India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Moringa Olefera is also known as moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, benzoil tree, kelor, marango or ben oil tree.

All parts of the tree are edible and have reportedly been consumed by humans for generations as food medicine. The nutritional and therapeutic properties of this plant is now being marketed as a health supplement in the form of pills and powders. Let us take a look to see if all the hype really stacks up.

 

Image @naturoid26

Nutrient wise, the Moringa plant (leaves, seeds and pods) are high in vitamin C, E and minerals including Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium1. Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder for many months without showing any signs of nutrient loss2. Young seed pods and leaves are eaten as vegetables, the pods can be eaten as fruit, and the kernels may be used for oil extraction or eaten.

Collectively, scientific studies have provided preliminary and experimental evidence of a therapeutic potential of Moringa Oleifera leaves in the management of chronic high blood glucose levels (common in poorly controlled type 2 diabetics) and chronic high cholesterol management3.

Consuming Moringa has also been claims of preventing cancer and reducing inflammation. It is important to note that the phytochemical composition of Moringa Oleifera parts have been shown to vary significantly among regions and seasons, so all products may not be equal or provide the same results. Studies have also shown that the nutritional properties of the tree decrease with processing compared to eating fresh or dried raw leaves, pods and seeds2. It is also noted that further study is needed before Moringa Oleifera should be used as a therapeutic food aid for human health.

In summary, there may be potential nutrition and health benefits gained by consuming the Moringa tree, however the evidence for now remains unclear. Continue to watch this space for developments with diabetes treatment, cholesterol management, cancer prevention and inflammation management.

 

References:

  1. The Nutrient Content of Moringa oleifera Leaves https://miracletrees.org/moringa-doc/nutrient-content-of-moringa-oleifera-leaves.pdf
  2. Moringa oleifera: A review on nutritive importance and its medicinal application https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453016300362
  3. Therapeutic Potential of Moringa oleifera Leaves in Chronic Hyperglycemia and Dyslipidemia: A Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3290775/
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