Moringa: characteristics, benefits and properties of this plant
In the world there is a great amount of plants and vegetables, many of them with important medicinal and/or nutritional properties.
Some of them have been known since ancient times, and some are becoming more and more prestigious with time. One of them is the moringa , a type of tree from which different parts are used for both consumption and other uses. Its properties are many, some of which we will mention throughout this article.
What is moringa?
The moringa is a species of tree, with a scientific name Moringa oleifera , which belongs to the family of moringaceae and which enjoys increasing popularity (to the point of being considered “miracle tree”). This deciduous tree is usually between 5 and 10 metres high, with a generally cone-shaped crown and flowers that are usually white and have elongated petals.
Also known as the purification tree, kerlo tree or “drumstick tree” (because of the elongated shape of its fruits), the moringa comes from northern India although it is also found in Africa and America , as well as in other Asian territories such as Pakistan and Arabia. It grows in humid and usually tropical climates, often on the banks of rivers, although it can also survive in dry areas.
Some of its main uses
The popularity of this plant is enormous, and is that the leaves, seeds, bark and roots of moringa oleifera have multiple applications in many different areas. Moringa has among its components vitamins such as A or B, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium , as well as phosphorus and zinc, multiple proteins and acids such as palmitic, ascorbic or oleic.
One of the most outstanding is the gastronomy, being a highly consumed product and lately considered as a miracle product. Although it is not a miracle product, has multiple beneficial properties both when used as a condiment and when used as an oil , with nutritional and even medicinal properties. And not only human: it has also been used as fodder for different animals, in which it also seems to have beneficial properties.
In addition to its consumption at a gastronomic level, the moringa also has other properties that make it useful. Specifically, one of its main uses is in the purification of water, specifically its seeds . In this area the seeds act as bio-absorbent elements with antimicrobial capacity, as well as coagulating in the purification of raw water.
Other uses given to the different parts of this tree include the production of paper or the use of wood as firewood. It can also be used to make biodiesel.
Beneficial properties of its consumption
There are many components of moringa that are beneficial to health, being a plant very rich in nutrients, mineral salts and vitamins. In addition, it has a number of interesting properties that can contribute to improving the state of health. Among these properties are the following.
1. It is antihypertensive
One of the properties of moringa that may be useful is its antihypertensive capacity, contributing to reduce blood pressure levels and facilitating blood flow .
2. Antibacterial and antifungal properties
An especially relevant aspect when talking about the roots, flowers or seeds of the moringa is its ability to fight infections, whether they come from bacteria or fungi. Also the leaves have antibacterial properties, inhibiting the proliferation of some microorganisms.
Another of its relevant properties is its ability to lower blood sugar and even urine sugar, being a hypoglycemic that may be interesting to take by diabetic subjects.
It has been observed that moringa helps to protect the liver, mainly due to the presence of flavonoids such as quercetin . It not only protects, but also contributes to the repair of the cells of this organ.
5. Lowers cholesterol
Moringa also has the ability to help lower and keep bad cholesterol under control, as well as reduce the chance of cholesterol plaques clogging the arteries.
6. Antioxidant properties
Moringa also has antioxidant properties, something that helps promote the functioning of the body and combat cellular aging processes caused by free radicals .
7. Protects against anemia and fatigue
As we have already said, moringa has a large amount of nutrients and is rich in iron and magnesium, which make it a product that helps us to prevent anaemic states , also helping to maintain energy levels. and reduce fatigue and weakness levels.
8. Improves mood
Moringa is considered a plant with the capacity to improve the energy level and that in addition seems to have effects on the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline .
9. Anti-tumour properties
Some studies seem to indicate that moringa leaves have components that can help fight or prevent cancer by inhibiting the activity of cancer-promoting bacteria thanks to their niazimycin content, among other components
10. Laxative effect
It has been observed that the consumption of moringa has laxative properties, especially with regard to its leaves . Thus, its consumption may be recommended in cases of constipation.
Some risks and contraindications
Moringa is a product that can be highly beneficial to health and can usually be consumed normally in our daily lives, but it should be noted that some of its properties may be harmful to some people.
In this sense, it should be noted first that the consumption of the bark and root of this plant can have an abortive effect when given in high doses , so pregnant women should avoid it.
Also should be avoided by people with low blood sugar levels , since as we have said it reduces blood sugar being a hypoglycemic product. It can also generate irritations and in some cases allergic reactions if it is not consumed together with other foods, in addition to insomnia or diarrhoea.
- Anwar, F., Latif, S., Ashraf, M. and Gilani, A.H. (2006). Moringa oleifera: a food plant with multiple medicinal uses. Phytotherapy Research, 21 (1): 17-25.
- Mendoza, I., Fernández, N., Ettiene, G. and Díaz, A. (2000). Use of Moringa oleifera as a coagulant in water purification. Science Journal from the Experimental Faculty of Sciences, 8 (2): 235-242.