Moringa oleifera, a plant that is native to India, Pakistan, Africa, Arabia, and the Himalayan region, is now taking the world by storm. Almost every part of this tree can be consumed, including the leaves, fruit flowers, and pods. Moringa is starting to get attention for more than its pleasant taste, and that is because of its impressive nutritional properties.
Health Benefits of Moringa
Let’s see why moringa is well on its way to becoming known as a superfood.
Moringa is rich in quercetin, kaempferol, and various flavonoids. These antioxidants are important because they help the body fight off free radicals, which can prevent cancer, premature aging, and various diseases. It is also believed that moringa may be able to prevent the growth of tumors and fight cancer.
The leaves also get credit for helping to reduce high blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. Certain compounds in the leaves may also help regulate thyroid function as well as glucose production in the body. The juice from the leaves is being tested on glucose management in those that suffer from diabetes.
When combined with honey and followed by some coconut milk, the leaves can be consumed to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Leaf juice can also be applied as an antiseptic agent to the skin, and can be effective in treating other infections such as bronchitis.
Moringa is also a safe and effective natural energy-booster. Perhaps this is related to its abundance of vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients found in moringa include vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and protein. In fact, moringa has a higher protein ratio than any other plant, including soy. Even more importantly, this protein source contains all eight of the essential amino acids needed by the body and usually found only in meat.
This superfood can also help to reduce stress and induce relaxation and sleep. The leaves and buds of the tree can be applied directly to the temple to reduce stress and eliminate a headache. The seed oil can be used for both cooking and cosmetic purposes.
While more research needs to be done to completely understand the potential role that this plant will play, it is certainly an exciting outlook. Scientists believe that moringa can play an effective role in treating cancer. The impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals found in the plant make it a very promising gold mine for other possible remedies.
How to Use Moringa
The seeds can be eaten right from the pod if desired, or after they have dried and hardened up. Eat them alone or with a dish, and they may even be chewed and consumed as medicine. Grind the seeds into a powder to make a paste or to treat water that is not clean. The seeds can be boiled (in the pods) and used like regular beans. Roast Moringa beans for a healthy snack. The oil can be pulled from the seeds by breaking the seeds into smaller pieces and putting them through cold pressing.
To make a tea, for a few minutes, steep a handful of leaves in hot water. Fresh leaves should be used. To dry them, place them in a paper bag with holes, and hang it in a cool area of the home. Around 10 to 14 days later, the leaves will be dry enough for tea. The pods and seeds can be added to dips, soups, stews, salads, and smoothies.
Start incorporating moringa into your day to get more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, and to possibly protect yourself from cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
Moringa can raise the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding like aspirin, anticoagulants (these are blood thinners), antiplatelet drugs like Plavix, naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). It can lower blood sugar levels, so do not use it in conjunction with medications that will lower blood sugar levels, and it should not be used when pregnant because the flowers can act as an abortifacient.