What are the Health Benefits of Moringa?

is it right for you?
© depositphotos / magdalena.paluchowska

Often called the “tree of life” or “miracle tree”, Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is native to India, but cultivated across the globe for its health and wellness benefits. These include blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and as an aid to weight loss. Moringa may help lower high cholesterol while protecting the body – particularly the liver - from harmful toxins. How is this possible? Moringa's ability to resist drought and frost makes it an exceptionally robust plant, and a rich source of essential nutrients. Moringa seeds are also used as a low-cost adsorbant and coagulant agent for the removal of metals and microbial contamination from waste water.

Let's run down some of the ways in which Moringa might be right for you, as well as reviewing the precautions that come with taking any supplement.

Moringa benefits the heart, blood and liver

Moringa contains essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. These are vital for healthy blood and thus may help with anemia, as Moringa leaves are also rich in the iron necessary to correct this deficiency. Whole leaf preparations of Moringa have demonstrated anti-hyperglycemic and anti-diabetic effects, such as reducing glucose levels in the blood and protein levels in urine. Moringa contains isothiocyanate and niaziminin, compounds that could help stop arteries from thickening, and which can cause abnormal elevations in blood pressure.

M. oleifera has been demonstrated to show liver-protecting properties and anti-inflammatory effects against chemotherapy-induced hepatotoxicity and the side effects of other harsh pharmaceutical drugs, while also helping the liver and other organs to repair. Lastly, Moringa has been very useful in conjunction with other herbs and supplements in post-chemotherapy and radiation detox treatments.

Weight loss and Moringa

There is no short cut to safely lose weight and maintain a healthier physique. The fact is that one must burn more calories than one consumes - period. How this is done is the subject of much debate. So can Moringa aid in weight loss?

Research has shown that Moringa extract can be effective in reducing and controlling weight gain in mice. Moringa's high vitamin B content helps with smooth and efficient digestion. These B vitamins are needed to make hydrochloric acid, which is vital for nutrient assimilation and can assist the body when converting food into energy (as opposed to storing it as fat). However, don’t bank on Moringa alone to shed those pounds!

Use caution even with the “miracle tree”

Like all supplements and herbal products, the United States Food & Drug Administration does not monitor Moringa. This is why it is always a good idea to choose a reputable source when purchasing (as is the case with any herb). Supplements purchased from less than reputable sources are likely not the same Moringa used in scientific studies, and may not be effective enough to meet your needs.

It's true that Moringa is very powerful for lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels, but be aware that taking Moringa supplementation alongside other remedies can result in blood pressure and blood sugar levels becoming too low. Check your blood sugar levels regularly, and keep a log of readings to share at appointments with your physician. You may also want to alert family members of any changes to your supplement schedule before an adverse reaction becomes problematic. Additionally, unless you are experiencing a significant side effect, it is always a good idea to be consistent when taking any herb or supplement. It will take at least a month for you to notice any changes.

Compounds in the Moringa leaf may be an aid to thyroid function, but be aware of complications arising from taking one supplement in combination with another. Moringa in combination with other medications, such as levothyroxine (Synthroid) may reduce their effectiveness, and this could lead in turn to other negative complications.

Lastly, if you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, leave Moringa alone. Moringa may possess some anti-fertility qualities for women, and if you are a man concerned about sperm count, it's best to leave Moringa on the shelf.

Interested in learning more? Check out more EcoParent, including weight loss tips that will leave you feeling balanced, the power of antioxidant superstar, curcumin, and more great articles by Dr. Veronica!