What Is a Moringa?

What Is a Moringa?

Moringa is the common name of Moringa oleifera Lam or Moringaceae, a tree with many nutritional and medicinal benefits. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, various parts of the moringa tree contain protein, amino acids, beta-carotene, vitamins and phenolics.

Moringa is used to cure many ailments, such as arthritis, joint pain, cancer, anemia, diabetes, diarrhea, stomach ailments, headaches, heart problems, constipation and thyroid disorders, according to WebMD. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence that the plant can actually cure any of these medical problems. It is also sometimes used to reduce swelling and as an antibacterial agent.

Moringa has other uses as well, as it is used for food and in making products. The oil from moringa seeds is used in the manufacturing of hair products and perfume. The pulp left after the oil is removed is used to purify water, remove the saline from salt water and fertilize plants. The seeds and leaves are an important source of nutrition. Not only are the seeds rich in antioxidants, the leaves are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the fruit of the moringa plant resembles green beans and is cooked whole. Sometimes the pea-like seeds are removed from the pods and roasted. The leaves are consumed dried or like a salad leaf.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine's records indicate that the moringa tree is used to purify water and in the treatment of heart and circulatory ailments, tumors, ulcers, diabetes and fungal infections, among other uses.

For centuries, indigenous peoples of India and Africa have known the benefits of moringa. Research carried out in East Africa has indicated that powdered moringa leaves can provide large quantities of protein, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C.