The leaves of the Moringa oleifera plant have been used as food and in medicinal preparations for centuries. Modern medical research also bears out the value of these versatile leaves, making them a valuable natural resource for a wide range of uses in the medical and nutritional field. Because the Moringa plant can be grown in climates where other food plants might struggle, including semi-arid and tropical areas, its leaves can serve as a nutritional supplement to people in regions where naturally occurring food sources are scarce. The Moringa plant can also survive on very little water; a definite advantage in many areas where desertification and climate change are creating widespread malnutrition among the inhabitants.
Moringa leaves are especially useful in combating hunger since they can be dried and transported easily and provide much needed protein and Vitamin C, along with numerous other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The leaves are particularly useful for infants, young children and nursing mothers, since they contain significant amounts of calcium, proteins and other vital elements for growth and healthy development. Where fresh Moringa leaves are available, they are typically cooked in a similar way to spinach or other greens, and served as a side dish with other foods or as a nutritive main course. They can also be used raw as a salad green and combined with other leafy vegetables or grains. Dried leaves are usually sprinkled on other foods to increase their nutritional value or taken in supplement form or in a steeped tea, though the latter may lose some of the food value if the leaves are not also consumed with the drink.
Traditional Ayurvedic uses for the moringa leaf
Ayurveda is the most commonly practiced form of traditional medicine in India. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine incorporate the Moringa leaf into many of their healing techniques.
The moringa leaf has been used in Ayurveda to treat:
- Gastrointestinal upsets including ulcers and diarrhea
- Minor respiratory difficulties
- Eye infections
- Poor nutrition
- Inner ear infections
- Skin infections when used as a topical application
Modern medical uses
A number of peer-reviewed research studies provide support for the use of Moringa leaves in therapeutic applications. The Moringa leaf contains powerful antioxidants that have proven their effectiveness against cancer cells in the laboratory environment; additionally, Moringa leaves increase milk production and the nutritional value of the milk in nursing mothers. Moringa leaves are also used therapeutically to treat high blood pressure with good results.
Other uses for moringa leaves
Moringa leaves have been used as food for stock animals and even in fishery applications in order to provide more nutrition. The high protein content of the Moringa leaf helps animals to grow more quickly, and Moringa leaves are far cheaper than most other sources of protein for fish and farm animals. Moringa leaves have also shown great promise in enhancing the growth of other plants; an extract of the leaves diluted in ethanol can increase the sturdiness of the plant as well as the number and size of the fruit produced, enhancing the overall harvest and improving the productivity of agricultural endeavors.
The potential value of Moringa leaves in diet and agriculture cannot be overestimated. The leaves of the Moringa plant offer a wide range of health and nutritional benefits while providing solid results for a number of other agricultural and livestock activities.
Moringa Oleifera Leaves Medicinal uses:
|Antimicrobial / Biocidal||Bacterial|
|Urinary Tract Infection|
|Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)|
|Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1)|
|Other / Not Attributed to a Specific|
|Cancer Therapy / Protection||Anti-tumor|
|Ulcer / Gastritis|
|Reproductive Health||Lactation Enhancer|
This information is based on the article published at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, by Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D.
Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1. By Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center, 725 N. Wolfe Street, 406 WBSB, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21205-2185
List of Chemicals Present in the Moringa Leaf:
|Chemical||Lo PPM||Hi PPM|