Moringa is a small leafy tree that’s native to India, and is gaining popularity with health buffs thanks to its rich nutritional profile and powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Just like most new food trends, the health benefits of the moringa tree have been around for centuries in the East, but only now are we beginning to tap into it’s healing powers in the West. The moringa tree comes under many guises and is also often called the horseradish tree, ben tree, or drumstick tree. There are 13 types of species, but the most widely cultivated is the Moringa oleifera, a small tree from India, Pakistan, and Nepal that has long been used Eastern countries to treat and prevent diseases. Almost all parts of the tree are eaten or utilised as ingredients in herbal medicine, including the pods, roots, bark, flowers, seeds and fruits.
Food, supplement, medicine
The moringa tree, also known as the drumstick tree because of its slender foot-long pods, has been consumed mainly in parts of Southeast Asia for centuries. The plant is distantly related to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cabbage, and shares the same nutritious compounds. Its leaves, when tossed on salads or on meat, taste a bit peppery like arugula. Young pods are reminiscent of Chinese long beans, with a hint of spice. Seeds can be eaten or boiled to make salad oil. The fragrant flowers are often used to make tea.
More commonly, the leaves are dried and ground into a powder that’s added to soups, curries and stews. “If it’s dried, it’s much more concentrated, You get a lot more of the nutrients but can certainly lose some of the heat sensitive nutrients, like Vitamin C, in the drying process.” Gambians use the leaves as a protein and iron supplement for mothers and infants. People with diabetes may chew the bitter-tasting seeds to control blood sugar levels. Worldwide, the list of moringa’s medicinal uses is long. People have used it for everything from typhoid to toothaches.
Moringa Oil Protects the Skin and Heals Skin Infections
It’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so it’s going to fight infections both internally and on the skin. Pair that with its ability to reduce inflammation, and it’s a great treatment for acne. Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that happens between the toes when feet are too moist in shoes for a long period of time. Moringa is a natural way to get rid of it and helps decrease the stinky odor that’s a result of it. Moringa oil is one of those magical products that works as an astringent, so you can put it on your skin to dry out pimples while leaving it hydrated.
It’s a Natural Way to Control Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a big deal in America. 9.4% of the population has it, and over a quarter million people each year die of complications from it. High blood sugar makes other serious health problems like heart disease even worse, so its health risks are pretty substantial.
Moringa has chlorogenic acid and isothiocyanates in it, which help protect the body against diabetes. Chlorogenic acid controls blood sugar levels by helping cells process glucose.
Moringa Fights Inflammation
An immune system gone wild can cause chronic inflammation and oxidative stress that results in health issues like arthritis, chronic pain, digestion and bowel problems, heart disease, MS, asthma, allergies, cancer, and so much more.
Moringa’s combination of essential amino acids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients work just as well fighting inflammation as anti-inflammatory drugs, according to multiple studies. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t have the same long-term side-effects as conventional medical treatments for these issues.
Moringa’s anti-inflammatory properties can help combat depression and anxiety naturally.
It’s Great for Gut Health
There are plenty of reasons why your gut might be giving you trouble. Maybe you’re making not so great food choices, live or work in an especially toxic environment, or you’ve got a health issue causing the problem. There’s a vicious cycle we can get into with our digestive system; we need it to be healthy, so we can process nutrients, but we need nutrients to keep it healthy! Moringa is packed full of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, and vitamins B2 and B3, which help metabolism and the breaking down of food. It also detoxes the liver and gets rid of heavy metals and infections like yeast and H. pylori, a pathogen that can be responsible for ulcers, colitis, and gastritis.
The pods from the moringa seeds have a high concentration of protein in them, and they taste good when they’re roasted (like pumpkin seeds). You can also eat them just like nuts for a quick protein boost.