Moringa Oleifera: the ancient superfood

Miracle plants have been used in Africa and Asia since the beginning of time. For centuries, hidden societies boosted their health and immunity with natural remedies. The world is moving toward natural remedies to boost immunity and treat chronic illnesses. This year has seen a recent spike in the popularity of Moringa. Moringa Oleifera is a highly nutritious plant native to South Asia, South America and Africa; eight species are indigenous to Africa. All parts of the Moringa tree are edible: the seeds, the leaves, the roots as well as the bark. The leaves of the Moringa plant can be used fresh or you can dry them and ground them into powder. Moringa goes by many names including horseradish tree, benzolive tree, marangoo, Ben oil tree, drumstick tree, kelor, or mlonge.

Moringa trees

Why Moringa is good

Since it is hailed as a superfood, you may ask yourself what Moringa can cure; what is Moringa good for? The plant is a significant source of vitamins and protein and it flourishes in the poorest soil. Moringa is drought resistant and can be harvested throughout the year. The leaves are the most nutritious part as they contain vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, protein, provitamin A as beta-carotene, and manganese, among other essential nutrients. The Moringa plant contains no harmful cholesterol and is also extremely low in fat. A rare phenomenon in the plant world, Moringa leaves contain 18 amino acids, of which 8 are essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), rendering them a complete protein. This is why Moringa is considered a super food.  

Moringa has a variety of uses beyond edibles. The plant can be used to produce lamp oil, paper, liquid fuel, wood, lubricating oil, to name a few.


Types of Moringa supplements

Moringa supplements come in many forms. Moringa powder is the most popular followed by Moringa tea and Moringa capsules. The internet is filled with producers of Moringa foodstuffs so that you can choose what product works best for you. There is also a plethora of recipes to choose from. Moringa powder can be taken on its own or added to your food or recipes.

What does Moringa taste like

Akin to matcha or spinach, Moringa powder has a green earthy taste and can be easily added to food for a nutritious boost.  

Moringa powder

Benefits of Moringa

Moringa has been known to reduce tiredness and fatigue. It is known to have a high antioxidant content therefore making it good for protecting skin cells and delaying the aging process. Moringa is good for vegans and vegetarians who struggle to get an adequate supply of protein. The plant is also good for muscle growth as it is so rich in protein. Moringa is an adaptogen which means that it is a plant that aids in protecting the body from the adverse effects of stress. Containing a large dose of calcium and fiber, the Moringa plant is great for digestion as it ensures that digestive enzymes function normally. It is not a surprising that Moringa is known for its energizing properties. Users have claimed that adding Moringa to their breakfast or smoothies has kept them energized throughout the day. Being a source of vitamin A means Moringa is naturally good for your eyesight. Moringa promotes the maintenance of strong, healthy bones and teeth.

Can Moringa cure cancer

With its anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and anti-fungal properties, Moringa has recently come under the spotlight as a remedy to kill cancer cells. A study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2017 discovered that the extract from Moringa leaves acts as an as anti-cancer agent that promotes cell death in several cancers and reduces cancer cell growth. Research into Moringa’s potential as an anti-cancer agent is underway. The leaves of the Moringa plant have shown to have advantageous properties in the battle against colon and breast cancer cells; research is currently ongoing therefore Moringa cannot be seen to be a cure for cancer.

Can Moringa cure diabetes

Recent scientific studies have shown that Moringa successfully reduced blood glucose levels meaning it could be used in the future to treat diabetes. More research is needed before any solid conclusions can be made.

Side effects of Moringa

Moringa is not safe to take when pregnant as it may possess anti-fertility properties. Always consult a doctor before taking Moringa. It is wise to always read the packet on any supplement you may be taking. Very few side effects have been reported.

Popular Moringa recipes

Moringa can be added to juices or smoothies, but only add half a teaspoon so as to not spoil the taste of the juice. Moringa powder can be sprinkled over a wet salad or added to cooked food. Cooking Moringa reduces its nutritional value so it is not recommended to add it into food whilst still cooking. Moringa tea is a popular way to ingest the plant. Although it must be noted that this form is less nutritional than taking Moringa powder. Adding Moringa powder to boiled water creates a tea. Never boil the Moringa powder, rather add it to pre-boiled water and let it steep for three to five minutes. Honey is a better sweetener than sugar if you want to mask the taste of Moringa powder.

Moringa products

Is Moringa good for you

The bottom line is that Moringa Oleifera is good for you although very few of its’ reputed health benefits have been scientifically scrutinized. Moringa leaves are very nutritious and can be used to assist those who are lacking in essential nutrients. You can find various Moringa products on Amazon or even just by typing “Moringa” in your search engine. Ancient civilizations have benefited from this nutritious tree and finally, you can too. Whether you grow your own Moringa in your backyard or order it online, Moringa products have never been more accessible than they are now. Although there are numerous health fads, 2019 is the year that has thrust Moringa into the health and wellness limelight.

Basego Segaetsho

Basego Oratile Segaetsho was born and raised in Botswana. She attended schools in South Africa and Swaziland. Basego studied law but found her passion lay in the literary field. She has worked as a sports writer and has contributed to local blogs. In 2017 Basego won the Poetavango Prize for Short Fiction. Basego is the mother of two children and lives in Gaborone, Botswana with her parents.