Moringa is a plant of the family Moringaceae. It is a fast-growing plant and can live up to 20 years. The plant does best where temperature ranges from 25 to degrees C (77 to 104 degrees F). Moringa is common all over the tropics. Moringa has numerous substances such as vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, fats, minerals, specific phytochemicals (plant-derived), each with specific importance and numerous applications in healing and nutrition. Moringa contains more vitamin C than oranges, three times the iron of spinach, and four times the calcium found in milk. Combine this with significant amounts of proteins and oils, a great taste, and the presence of beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances and you will come to understand why they called this plant the “Miracle Tree”.
Moringa is the Medicinal Plant
Moringa is being used around the world by many cultures for a variety of ailments.
Some of the vitamins (specifically, vitamins A, C, E) are also potent antioxidants. Vitamins may be considered nutrients but they are also viewed as “medicines”. Moringa is a powerful vitamin factory; some of those present in the various plant include vitamin C, beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), vitamin E, and many of the B complex group of vitamins.
Moringa is known to have powerful antibiotic effects and was used by various populations around the globe against infections. Modern science has confirmed and described at least some of the antibiotic substances in Moringa. For example, pterygospermin has excellent antimicrobial and fungicidal properties. The Moringa leaf juice was traditionally used and is used to treat many skin infections.
Natural hormones, enzymes minerals and various phytochemicals
Niaziminin, another Moringa phytochemical, was shown to have potent anticancer activity in animal studies.
Interestingly, long before research validated the idea, people traditionally have used Moringa against abdominal and other tumours (cancerous growth). Obtained from fresh leaves of Moringa are niazinin, niazimicin and niaziminin A and B which have a hypotensive effect (lower blood pressure). These compounds belong to the family of mustard oil glycosides (very rare in nature).
One of the most exciting phytochemicals found in Moringa is beta-sitosterol. It acts to reduce the excess of cholesterol in the human blood. Although beta-sitosterol is not well absorbed by the body after ingestion, when consumed with cholesterol (found in animal fats) it effectively blocks cholesterol’s absorption. This ultimately leads to a lower serum cholesterol level. A diet rich in plants such as Moringa can significantly improve human health by:
• Reducing cholesterol levels and triglycerides (“bad” fats in the serum).
• Controlling blood sugar and helping normal sugar and energy balance
• Offering vitamins and minerals vital for maintaining normal physiology
• Offering powerful anti-aging and anti-inflammatory natural substances, many with anti-cancer properties.