The role of the Moringa oleifera plant in treating high blood pressure has long been known to practitioners of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India and the surrounding areas. Recent scientific studies have provided solid evidence that moringa supplements can indeed reduce high blood pressure in patients and provide benefits to overall cardiovascular health as well. By maintaining a healthy blood pressure reading, patients can often reduce their risk of serious medical problems and improve their overall long-term prognosis.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood in arteries and veins exerts higher than normal pressure on the walls of these blood vessels. Over time, high blood pressure can cause a variety of negative effects within the body including coronary disorders, stroke, kidney failure and heart attacks. A number of pharmaceutical treatments for hypertension are available, but most have serious side effects of their own and may not be effective in all cases. Left untreated, high blood pressure hastens the deterioration of the circulatory system and can cause serious illness or death. Primary hypertension is diagnosed when no underlying cause for the condition can be identified, while secondary hypertension is typically the result of another disease or disorder.
Hypertension is estimated to affect 25% of the population, yet in many cases it produces no symptoms and may go unnoticed for years before the negative effects of this condition become evident. Risk factors for high blood pressure include age, obesity, alcoholism, smoking and genetic predisposition. In advanced or extreme cases of hypertension, patients may experience headaches, chest pain, vision problems, fatigue, irregular heartbeat or blood in the urine. In up to one-third of cases, patients experienced no symptoms at all before diagnosis. High blood pressure is usually diagnosed through a simple test in a doctor’s office and can be performed at home using a cuff and meter.
The moringa plant has been used in India for many years to control high blood pressure in patients. Modern medical research supports this use for moringa leaf extracts. A research study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2006 indicated that moringa leaf extract had a significant effect in reducing blood pressure levels of guinea pigs and rabbits under laboratory conditions. The article, entitled Pharmacological Studies on Hypotensive and Spasmolytic Activities of Pure Compounds from Moringa Oleifera, investigated the role of four chemical compounds found in moringa leaves in reducing hypertension and found that all had some utility in treating the condition.
The chemical makeup of moringa has been extensively studied in recent years in order to identify new uses for this versatile plant. The Journal of the Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 1 published a study in 1994 describing four new chemical compounds found in the moringa plant that show promise in controlling and treating high blood pressure. Niazicin A1 and niazicin B3 are members of the carbamate glycosides, while niazicin A5 and niazicin B10 are thiocarbamates in the mustard oil glycosides. All four compounds demonstrated significant effects in reducing high blood pressure in laboratory testing. These are the first naturally occurring thiocarbamates discovered by scientists and are expected to offer new avenues of treatment for hypertension in medical practice.
Moringa supplements have also been shown to lower cholesterol readings for patients. While this does not directly affect blood pressure, it can help to reduce the damage caused by hypertension on blood vessels by helping to keep arteries and veins clear of the plaque produced by high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. As a result, moringa supplements are recommended by many physicians for their patients in order to better control hypertension and the negative effects it can cause throughout the body.