Drumsticks are an integral part of the delicious sambhar and other South Indian delicacies. It has a unique taste and texture. You would be surprised to know moringa benefits that are highly essential for the human body. Astonishingly all its parts are edible as well.
We konkanis make dosa out of the even flowers called Sanna Polo.
What Is Moringa Plant?
- The miracle tree Moringa is a multipurpose that is native to parts of Africa and Asia. It is also called drumstick tree by the British and Malunggay in Philippines
- In India, it is found on the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. This plant belongs to the family Moringaceae.
- It derives its name from the Malayalam word, ‘Muringa’. It is a multipurpose plant and its leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark are beneficial in one way or the other.
- The moringa tree grows easily in semi-arid, tropical and sub-tropical climate and is reported to be beneficial for human beings as its various parts are edible.
- Some of the most commonly used parts are moringa leaves and seeds. Moringa seeds and roots are used to extract oil and the flowers can be cooked and eaten.
- Apart from these, its bark, sap, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and flowers are used in making traditional medicine in many countries.
Health Benefits –
The most amazing thing about moringa is that all parts of this plant including its bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, sap and pods are a storehouse of nutrients and antioxidants. Thus, this plant possesses innumerable health benefits and has the capacity of curing several diseases. For this reason, it is referred to as the ‘miracle tree’ and is widely used in traditional medicine. The various health benefits of moringa are as follows.
- The seeds of moringa contain 40 percent edible oil known as Ben oil. This clear, sweet and odourless oil is rich in antioxidants and is similar to olive oil in terms of its nutritional profile. It has an indefinite shelf life as it does not turn rancid like other oils.
- Moringa leaves are the most widely used parts of this plant. These leaves are edible. They contain three times more iron than spinach.
- Moringa contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are needed to grow, repair and maintain cells. Human body manufactures 10 to 12 amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids are known as the essential amino acids which should be provided from everyday diet and moringa contains all of them.
The list of essential amino acids and their benefits are given below.
- ISOLEUCINE — Helps in building protein and enzymes and creation of biochemical components within the body.
- LEUCINE — Builds protein and enzymes along with isoleucine to enhance body’s energy and alertness.
- LYSINE — Ensures the absorption of right amount of calcium by the body and aids in collagen formation and production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Maintains the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth.
- METHEONINE — Provides sulphur to the body and prevents hair, skin and nail problems. Lowers cholesterol levels by increasing liver’s production of lecithin. Helps in reducing liver fat and bladder irritation.
- PHENYLALAINE — Production of chemicals required to transmit signals between nerve cells and brain, thus reducing hunger pains. It also improves memory.
- THREONINE — Forms an important part of collagen, elastin and enamel proteins. Assists metabolism, prevents fat build up in the liver and boosts digestive and intestinal tracts.
- TRYTOHYAN — Supports the immune system and alleviates insomnia. Reduction of anxiety, depression and migraine symptoms. Decreases the risk of artery and heart spasms as it reduces cholesterol levels along with lysine.
- VALINE — Promotes a sharp mind, coordinated muscles and calm mood
4. The Moringa leaves helps in boosting energy levels in a natural manner, which is long lasting. It is also found to heal ulcers, restrict tumors, reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and control blood pressure.
5. Daily consumption of moringa as part of the diet improves body’s natural defense mechanism. It is an immune stimulant and it is often prescribed for AIDS afflicted patients.
6. It is rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene and acts as an effective weapon against blindness.
7. It plays an important role in lactating mothers. Consumption of moringa is reported to cause a dramatic increase in breast milk.
8. As it balances the sugar levels, it can be extremely effective against diabetics.
9. Increased consumption of junk food in the present scenario can lead to high cholesterol levels. Moringa helps in balancing the cholesterol levels in the body.
10. Consumption of moringa leaves stimulates metabolism and cell structure of the body.
11. This plant also has several antibacterial properties and hence can be used as a purifier and as a natural detoxifier.
• Moringa seeds mixed in impure water can help in absorbing all the impurities.
• Moringa helps in the removal and excretion of toxic build up by attracting toxins from the blood.
12. No side effects of moringa leaves have been reported. Hence, it can be safely consumed by children and adults. Nowadays, it is used in porridge, pastas and breads to increase the nutrient content of meals.
13. Moringa supplements are better than most of the multivitamin and calcium supplements available in the market which use synthetic ingredients. Moringa supplements are prepared from moringa leaves and pods which are natural sources of calcium and multivitamins .Their processing method increases the availability and absorption of nutrients by the body.
14. Moringa seeds are used in the manufacture of perfumes and aromatherapy oils. The flowers of moringa are used in making herbal tea which contains flavonoids and antioxidants.
15. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, moringa supplements facilitate quick healing of minor injuries like bruises, cuts and burns.
16. Roots of moringa are used in traditional medicine to control disorders of the circulatory system, for stimulating appetite and to improve the functioning of digestive tract. In addition to these, they can treat sexual dysfunctions, female reproductive tract problems and arthritis.
17. According to research, certain elements contained in moringa roots can cure ovarian cancer, kidney stones and inflammations. They improve the overall kidney functions by enabling the body to flush out calcium and phosphates from kidneys more efficiently.
Nutritional Value Of Moringa —
The most amazing fact about moringa is that it is a storehouse of nutrients and medicinal chemicals. The various parts of this plant are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron and protein.
It contains a plethora of phytonutrients, eight essential amino acids and other powerful disease fighting antioxidants. According to the Ayurveda, moringa comprises of around 539 compounds capable of preventing 300 diseases.
Moringa contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 different antioxidants which make it a powerhouse of nutrition. The table given below provides a gist of the nutritional value of this wonderful plant.
Nutrient Dried leaves Fresh leaves
Vitamin A 6.78 mg 18.9 mg
Thiamin (B1) 0.06 mg 2.64 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 0.05 mg 20.5 mg
Niacin (B3) 0.8 mg 8.2 mg
Vitamin C 220 mg 17.3 mg
Calcium 440 mg 2,003 mg
Calories 92 cal 205 cal
Carbohydrates 12.5 g 38.2 g
Copper 0.07 mg 0.57 mg
Fat 1.70 g 2.3 g
Fiber 0.90 g 19.2 g
Iron 0.85 mg 28.2 mg
Magnesium 42 mg 368 mg
Phosphorus 70 mg 204 mg
Potassium 259 mg 1,324 mg
Protein 6.70 g 27.1g
Zinc 0.16 mg 3.29 mg
Moringa leaves are a storehouse of nutrients. They contain seven times more potassium than bananas and twice the amount of protein as that contained in milk.
Milk is considered to be an important source of calcium, but moringa leaves contain four times more calcium than milk. They contain four times more vitamin A or beta carotene than carrots.
Moringa powder which is prepared by grinding the dried leaves of moringa contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges, 25 times the amount of iron in spinach, 36 times the amount of magnesium in eggs, 50 times more vitamin B3 than peanuts and 50 times more vitamin B2 than bananas.
In addition to these nutrients, moringa leaves contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth and development of the body.
Looking at the benefits of Moringa , it is imperative to include it in our diets and daily regime. With its antioxidant, purifying and detox properties it is the skin’s best friend. Always do a patch test before applying any new product on your skin like ben oil and the paste of moringa leaves. Moringa is an easy and delicious way to reap the benefits.
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.