The properties of Moringa oleifera
Moringa, properties of the plant
Moringa oleifera, as explained in the section What is Moringa, is a plant that reaches 4 to 7 meters in height, native to India, of which 13 species are known; Moringa has long been cultivated in different areas of the planet including the Canary Islands, in Spain. Here too, moringa oleifera finds the perfect conditions to thrive and offer us its beneficial properties thanks to the possibility to use of all parts of the plant.
In fact, all parts of the moringa are edible: from the leaves, to the fruits, from the roots to the seeds, the nutritional interest for this plant is increasingly studied and appreciated thanks to the numerous benefits offered.
“The superfood of the gods”
in this way the writer Thorsten Weiss defines Moringa because of the exceptional properties of the plant which contains:
4 times more beta-carotene than carrots 7 times more vitamin C than oranges 17 times more calcium than milk 46 antioxidants All essential amino acids
The Amino Acids in Moringa
According to the EFSA definition, the amino acids are:
“The fundamental building block of proteins. Some amino acids can be produced by the human body, while others can only be provided through food.”
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles and tissues in the body, such as collagen.
The amino acids, the proteins’ “building blocks”, are partly produced by the body and, as in the case of essential amino acids, must be taken partly with food as they help the body to grow and develop correctly in its fundamental functions and to repair damaged tissues.
Moringa oleifera is today the only plant in the world known for these characteristics and it offers enormous humanitarian potential for the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the poorest countries.
Moringa’s contraindications and properties
Moringa roots have a spicy radish-like flavor; its use is not recommended in excessive quantities due to the presence of spiroquine, an alkaloid that could interfere with nerve transmission.
Properties of moringa for cosmetics and other uses
Moringa extracts are used not only for food and as supplements, but also in cosmetics for the production of shampoo, soaps, lubricants and cosmetics with properties equivalent to products with olive oil. Other non-food uses of this plant, for example of wood, concern the production of paper and a dye of a blue color.
More famous is the use of moringa for water purification through its seeds:
In fact, the flour obtained with moringa seeds has been considered an excellent purifier of water and other food liquids thanks to the properties with which it manages to capture bacterial bodies and other impurities by moving the dirty parts to the bottom separating them from the clean parts.
Moringa leaves are rich in:
essential amino acids, vitamin A , vitamins from the group (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9), vitamin C, minerals such as: calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc.
Thanks to these extraordinary properties, moringa is defined as “the tree of clean water” in the areas where it is used, such as in the Nile Valley where moringa is “Shagara al Rauwaq” or “tree that purifies”.
Moringa’s properties and contraindications
The properties of moringa leaves
Moringa leaves properties are high and contain:
- 46 antioxidants,
- 36 anti-inflammatory agents, including quercetin and caffeylquinic acid
- 30% vegetable proteins
- eight amino acids
Not only that: the properties of Moringa are also linked to its enormous supply of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, vitamin A and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and sodium, without forgetting the iron and omega 3 fatty acids, essential for maintaining the cardiovascular system healthy.
In the Moringa plant everything is edible, but the most used part are undoubtedly the leaves: these, mostly dried and chopped or pulverized, are used for preparation of infusions and drinks. The pulverized leaves, as well as the extracts of the seeds, are part of the composition of various food supplements approved by the Ministry of Health, to guarantee the safety of their use.
Properties of Moringa leaves
Considered the most nutritious part of the plant, Moringa leaves are consumed cooked, or more often dried, chopped or pulverized to prepare sauces, soups, teas and infusions. Therefore, the properties of Moringa are assumed through the daily consumption, under medical advice, of the leaves of the plant which are very rich in vitamins and minerals essential for the health and well-being of the body.
With a characteristic slightly spicy and pleasant taste even in the raw state, Moringa leaves contain 25 percent by weight of proteins, in other words more than eggs and double that of cow’s milk; they contain large amounts of Vitamin A and C, more than carrots and oranges, and triple the potassium of bananas. The properties of Moringa and its leaves are therefore perfect to support and supplement the nutrition of people who have deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals, but also for all those who need a surplus of these substances, such as pregnant women, elderly or convalescent people. Fresh and without cooking, Moringa leaves are an excellent food to add to salads to flavor it and make it even more beneficial.
Moringa supplement: properties and benefits
The properties of Moringa are not limited only to the consumption of the leaves, but also extend to its powder form and as a supplement.
The powdered parts of Moringa, especially the leaves and seeds, are very rich in beneficial properties for the body. In particular, they are recognized:
- Anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the presence of flavonols and phenolic acids.
- Antimicrobial properties against Gram-positive and, to a lesser extent, Gram-negative bacteria.
- Antioxidant properties, again thanks to the high amount of polyphenols present.
- Anti-hyperglycemic properties, probably due to the terpenoids present in the plant.
- Chemo-preventive and anticancer properties perhaps thanks to the presence of glucosinolates.
For example, the properties of Moringa powder are recommended in the case of intestinal dysfunctions linked to some bacterial infections.
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of using Moringa Oleifera in controlling blood glucose, thus helping to keep diabetes under control.
How to take moringa powder
Moringa powder can be taken after mixing it in hot water or added to drinks and foods such as fruit juices, smoothies, milk and yogurt, but also to soups and broths. Furthermore, Moringa in the form of powder can be used to prepare bread or any type of cake, without the active ingredients losing their properties. Always mixed with water, it can be applied to the skin to reduce skin spots and stimulate the healing of wounds, warts and bites.
The properties of Moringa are therefore many and applicable to different areas of health, but its powder is also widely used in cosmetic preparations such as anti-hair loss shampoos or fortifying lotions.