Moringa Oleifera (also known as the ‘tree of life’) is a plant that you can find in the sub-Himalayan parts of India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is also grown in the tropics and has a number of different medicinal uses for its leaves, bark, flowers, seeds and fruits.
Moringa is traditionally used for energy and for treating ‘tired blood’ (what you and I would called anemia, though it’s a fairly good description!) as well as joint pain, asthma, diarrhea, stomach pain, epilepsy and lots more.
So what precisely is it and how does it work?
Uses and Mechanism of Action
While the precise mechanisms of action aren’t fully understood for moringa, what we do know is that it is a) a powerful antioxidant and b) a great source of amino acids.
As an antioxidant, moringa is able to combat cancer-causing free radicals in the body. These are substances that are highly reactive and which can cause unwanted results when they come into contact with cell walls. At first, free radicals just cause external damage which contributes to the visible signs of ageing.
Overtime though, if the damage builds up it can penetrate more deeply into the cells and attack the DNA. This causes mutations which prevent the cells from functioning properly and as these cells multiply, the cancer can spread through the body.
Moringa is a powerful antioxidant and at the same time provides the body with usable proteins that it can use to build muscle and aid healthy brain function through the creation of neurotransmitters.
On top of all that, moringa is also a potent source of potassium, iron, calcium, sulfur, B vitamins and more. In terms of essential amino acids, moringa is one of the only complete sources. In terms of other nutrients, just half a cup is enough to meet your RDA for vitamins A and C.
It also contains over ten times your requirement for vitamin E and over three times the iron found in spinach or beef. It has three times more potassium than beef. It also has more than four times the calcium found in milk.
What does this mean in real terms? It means better skin (the vitamin E), it means less cramping (the potassium), it means stronger bones (the calcium) and it means tougher muscles. It is highly lean and not calorific and it also provides you with plenty of long term energy as a complex carb.
Note: moringa flowers are abortifacients so don’t use them during pregnancy. The flowers can be made into tea, but make sure that you cook them before eating them. You can also cook moringa and use it on the side of a meal as you would do any other leafy greens. It’s great in salads and can be found in a lot of organic stores.
Along with wheat grass, chlorella and spirulina it is one of the ‘power greens’ and is a fantastic addition to any diet.