Moringa oleifera is a plant that has been widely recognized for its health benefits for thousands of years. All parts of the plant are very rich in healthy antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds.
These days the plant draws the attention of the public due to its valuable nutritious components. Many public sectors admire its protein abundancy. Moringa has an excellent non-animal source of protein that is beneficial for vegans and vegetarian dieters.
Moringa in Botany
Moringa oleifera, or the horseradish tree, is a pan-tropical species that is known by such regional names as drumstick tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, mulangay, nébéday, saijhan, and sajna. 1.
All parts of moringa (root, park, leaves, flower, fruits, and seeds) have medical and economic benefits.2
Native to the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.1
Moringa in chemistry
The phytochemical analysis of an extract of different parts of the plants (root, leaf, seed, flower, gum and Stem Park) found these components:
– Natural antioxidant due to the presence of various types of compounds such as ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolics, and carotenoids3.
– The high concentrations of oestrogenic substances and β-sitosterol, iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, vitamins A, B and C, α-tocopherol, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, folic acid, pyridoxine, β-carotene, protein, and in particular essential amino acids such as methionine, cysteine, tryptophan, and lysine4
– Sugar, rhamnose, and it is rich in a fairly unique group of compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates 5
– Alkaloids, namely moringine and moringinine6
– The dried Moringa leaves were found to contain 17 fatty acids and α-linolenic acid (44.57%) had the highest value followed by heneicosanoic (14.41%), g-linolenic (0.20%) palmiteic (0.17%) and capric acid (0.07%).
Table 1: Content analysis of vitamins and minerals of pods, leaves, fresh(raw) and powdered of moringa per 100 g of edible portions.2
Table2: Mineral contents of dried Moringa (M.oleifera lam.) leaves.
Moringa in medicine
1- Malnutrition 5: Moringa can help people who suffered from long malnutrition to have a quick fix due to its high content of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.
2-Antihypertensive: The effect of moringa on blood pressure can be summarized in two roles, one through calcium antagonist effect through four compounds, niazinin A, niazinin B, niazimicin and niazinin A + B that found in leaves extract, and the other, is a diuretic effect that aid in lowering blood pressure ‘7 8
3- Lipid-lowering agent: The extract of the flower is highly valuable as Lipid-lowering agent, muscle disease and hysteria through the bioactive phytoconstituent, i.e. β-sitosterol 9
4-Antispasmodic, antiulcer and hepatoprotective activities through the presence of 4-[α-(L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl]- O-methyl thiocarbamate in leave extract which is traditionally used for diarrhea and gastrointestinal motility disorders. 7
5-Antitumor and anticancer activities as in ovarian cancer, breast cancer 6, and pancreatic cell carcinoma: leaves have potential source for antitumor activity, for example, carbamate, isothiocyanate, niazimicin and β-sitosterol have been tested for their potential antitumor promoting activity using an in vitro assay which showed significant inhibitory effects on Epstein– Barr virus-early antigen. Niazimicin has been proposed to be a potent chemopreventive agent in chemical carcinogenesis. The seed extracts have also been found to be effective on hepatic carcinogen metabolizing enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in10’7 .
6- Antibacterial and antifungal activities: in a study suggest that the juice from the stem bark showed antibacterial effect against Staphylococcus aureus also the fresh leaf juice was found to inhibit the growth of microorganisms (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus)7
7- Regulation of thyroid hormone 11.7
8- Skin and hair care: Moringa seeds have specific protein fractions for skin and hair care. A new active component for the cosmetic industry has been extracted from moringa seed oil Purisoft® consists of peptides of the Moringa seed. It protects human skin from environmental influences and combats premature skin ging. 7
9- Milk Production: It is known as ‘mother’s best friend’ because of its utilization to increase woman’s milk production and is sometimes prescribed for anemia 6.
10- Treatment of female reproductive disorders 12
11-A recent report showed that M. oleifera leaf may be applicable as a prophylactic or therapeutic anti-HSV (Herpes simplex virus type 1) medicine and may be effective against the acyclovir-resistant variant8.
12-Neuroprotective effect as in Dementia, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD).8
13- Modulation of Blood Glucose: In a recent study isothiocyanate-rich moringa seed extract improve the metabolic health, modulate anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory gene expression and gut microflora that have a potential role in anti-diabetic effect 9’13
15- Moringa oleifera anti-inflammatory and decreased pathological changes in tracheal and lung secretions thus it is effective in hypersensitive airway disease as Asthma.2
16- improves kidney function and decreases the incidence of kidney stones2.
17- study suggests that Moringa oleifera roots and seeds may have beneficial effects by reversing the process of rheumatoid arthritis2.
Table 3: evidence base animal study of moringa oleifera
⦁ Moringa oleifera root bark may cause violent uterine contractions and fetal loss13.
⦁ Alkaloids in the plant may lower blood pressure and slow heart rate
⦁ A chemical isolated from roasted moringa seeds causes cell mutations
⦁ Moringa tree extract may interfere with fertility.
1. Jed W. Fahey S. – Moringa-oleifera-medisch.pdf. Trees Life J. 2005;1:1-5. http://survivalgardener.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Moringa-oleifera-medisch.pdf.
2. Posmontier B. The medicinal qualities of Moringa oleifera. Holist Nurs Pract. 2011;25(2):80-87. doi:10.1097/HNP.0b013e31820dbb27
3. . AS, . FA, . MM, . AF. Antioxidant Activity of Different Solvent Extracts of Moringa oleifera Leaves under Accelerated Storage of Sunflower Oil. Asian J Plant Sci. 2005;4(6):630-635. doi:10.3923/ajps.2005.630.635
4. Makkar HPS, Becker K. Nutrional value and antinutritional components of whole and ethanol extracted Moringa oleifera leaves. Anim Feed Sci Technol. 1996;63(1-4):211-228. doi:10.1016/S0377-8401(96)01023-1
5. Mahmood KT, Mugal T, Haq IU. Moringa oleifera: A natural gift-a review. J Pharm Sci Res. 2010;2(11):775-781.
6. Ali F, Hassan N, Abdrabou R. Hepatoprotective and antiproliferative activity of moringinine, chlorogenic acid and quercetin. Int J Res Med Sci. 2016;4(4):1147-1153. doi:10.18203/2320-6012.ijrms20160799
7. Tabassum N, Ahmad F. Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011;5(9):30. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79097
8. Kou X, Li B, Olayanju J, et al. Nutraceutical or Pharmacological Potential of Moringa oleifera Lam. Nutrients. 2018;10(3):343. doi:10.3390/nu10030343
9. Interscience W, Kattan JD, Srivastava KD, et al. Pharmacological and Immunological Effects of Individual Herbs in the Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 ( FAHF-2 ) on Peanut Allergy. Phyther Res. 2008;659(August 2007):651-659. doi:10.1002/ptr
10. Hagoel L, Vexler A, Kalich-Philosoph L, et al. Combined Effect of Moringa oleifera and Ionizing Radiation on Survival and Metastatic Activity of Pancreatic Cancer Cells. Integr Cancer Ther. 2019;18. doi:10.1177/1534735419828829
11. Supplements and Herbals for Improved Thyroid Function. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/764938_2. Accessed July 3, 2019.
12. Bose CK. Possible role of Moringa oleifera Lam. root in epithelial ovarian cancer. MedGenMed. 2007;9(1):26. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17435633. Accessed July 2, 2019.
13. Mohammed FAA. Antioxidants Composition of Moringa (Moringa Oleifera Lam) In Different Plant Organs. 2015;(October).