Drumsticks are an integral part of the delicious sambhar and other South Indian delicacies. It has a unique taste and texture. You would be surprised to know that the drumstick tree or moringa tree is highly beneficial for the human body. Astonishingly all its parts are edible as well.
Moringa plant is also known as ‘Sahijan’ or ‘Munaga’ in Hindi, ‘Mulaga’ in Telugu, ‘Murungai’ in Tamil, ‘Nugge Mara’ in Kannada, ‘Sigru’ in Malayalam, ‘Sujna’ in Marathi, ‘Sanjina’ in Punjabi and ‘Lal Sahinjano’ in Rajasthani. Let’s delve deep into the secrets of the moringa plant and identify the benefits.
What is the Moringa Tree?
- The miracle tree Moringa is a multipurpose that is native to parts of Africa and Asia. It is also called drumstick tree by the British and Malunggay in Philippines
- In India, it is found on the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. This plant belongs to the family Moringaceae. It derives its name from the Malayalam word, ‘Muringa’. It is a multipurpose plant and its leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark are beneficial in one way or the other.
- The moringa tree grows easily in semi-arid, tropical and sub-tropical climate and is reported to be beneficial for human beings as its various parts are edible.
- Some of the most commonly used parts are moringa leaves and seeds. Moringa seeds and roots are used to extract oil and the flowers can be cooked and eaten.
- Apart from these, its bark, sap, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and flowers are used in making traditional medicine in many countries.
Health Benefits Of Moringa:
The most amazing thing about moringa is that all parts of this plant including its bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, sap and pods are a storehouse of nutrients and antioxidants. Thus, this plant possesses innumerable health benefits and has the capacity of curing several diseases. For this reason, it is referred to as the ‘miracle tree’ and is widely used in traditional medicine. The various health benefits of moringa are as follows.
1. The seeds of moringa contain 40 percent edible oil known as Ben oil. This clear, sweet and odourless oil is rich in antioxidants and is similar to olive oil in terms of its nutritional profile.It has an indefinite shelf life as it does not turn rancid like other oils.
2. Moringa leaves are the most widely used parts of this plant. These leaves are edible. They contain three times more iron than spinach.
3. Moringa contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are needed to grow, repair and maintain cells. Human body manufactures 10 to 12 amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids are known as the essential amino acids which should be provided from everyday diet and moringa contains all of them. The list of essential amino acids and their benefits are given below.
|ISOLEUCINE||Helps in building protein and enzymes and creation of biochemical components within the body.|
|LEUCINE||Builds protein and enzymes along with isoleucine to enhance body’s energy and alertness.|
|LYSINE||Ensures the absorption of right amount of calcium by the body and aids in collagen formation and production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Maintains the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth.|
|METHEONINE||Provides sulphur to the body and prevents hair, skin and nail problems. Lowers cholesterol levels by increasing liver’s production of lecithin. Helps in reducing liver fat and bladder irritation.|
|PHENYLALAINE||Production of chemicals required to transmit signals between nerve cells and brain, thus reducing hunger pains. It also improves memory.|
|THREONINE||Forms an important part of collagen, elastin and enamel proteins. Assists metabolism, prevents fat build up in the liver and boosts digestive and intestinal tracts.|
|TRYTOHYAN||Supports the immune system and alleviates insomnia. Reduction of anxiety, depression and migraine symptoms. Decreases the risk of artery and heart spasms as it reduces cholesterol levels along with lysine.|
|VALINE||Promotes a sharp mind, coordinated muscles and calm mood|
4. The Moringa leaves helps in boosting energy levels in a natural manner, which is long lasting. It is also found to heal ulcers, restrict tumors, reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and control blood pressure.
5. Daily consumption of moringa as part of the diet improves body’s natural defense mechanism. It is an immune stimulant and it is often prescribed for AIDS afflicted patients.
6. It is rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene and acts as an effective weapon against blindness.
7. It plays an important role in lactating mothers. Consumption of moringa is reported to cause a dramatic increase in breast milk.
8. As it balances the sugar levels, it can be extremely effective against diabetics.
9. Increased consumption of junk food in the present scenario can lead to high cholesterol levels. Moringa helps in balancing the cholesterol levels in the body.
10. Consumption of moringa leaves stimulates metabolism and cell structure of the body.
11. This plant also has several antibacterial properties and hence can be used as a purifier and as a natural detoxifier.
- Moringa seeds mixed in impure water can help in absorbing all the impurities.
- Moringa helps in the removal and excretion of toxic build up by attracting toxins from the blood.
12. No side effects of moringa leaves have been reported. Hence, it can be safely consumed by children and adults. Nowadays, it is used in porridge, pastas and breads to increase the nutrient content of meals.
13. Moringa supplements are better than most of the multivitamin and calcium supplements available in the market which use synthetic ingredients. Moringa supplements are prepared from moringa leaves and pods which are natural sources of calcium and multivitamins .Their processing method increases the availability and absorption of nutrients by the body.
14. Moringa seeds are used in the manufacture of perfumes and aromatherapy oils. The flowers of moringa are used in making herbal tea which contains flavonoids and antioxidants.
15. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, moringa supplements facilitate quick healing of minor injuries like bruises, cuts and burns.
16. Roots of moringa are used in traditional medicine to control disorders of the circulatory system, for stimulating appetite and to improve the functioning of digestive tract. In addition to these, they can treat sexual dysfunctions, female reproductive tract problems and arthritis.
17. According to research, certain elements contained in moringa roots can cure ovarian cancer, kidney stones and inflammations. They improve the overall kidney function by enabling the body to flush out calcium and phosphates from kidneys more efficiently.
[ Read: Benefits Of Ugli Fruit ]
Hair Benefits Of Moringa:
Healthy hair improves the physical appearance to a great extent. Health problems or nutritional deficiencies can damage the hair and cause problems like dandruff, split ends and breakage. Hence, proper intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for maintaining healthy hair. Certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids are involved in the formation of keratin protein.
18. Moringa Oleifera has a high content of vitamin A, thus promoting hair growth and maintenance. Optimum delivery of oxygen and nutrients from the circulatory system to the hair follicle is vital for proper hair growth. Vitamin A plays an important role in the development of healthy cells and tissues in the body and reduction of hair loss. Deficiency of vitamin A can cause thickening of scalp, dry hair and dandruff.
19. Moringa plant also contains zinc which stimulates hair growth by enhancing the immune function. Zinc and silica along with vitamin A prevents drying and clogging of the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are responsible for production of sebum. Deficiency of zinc can lead to atrophy of the hair follicles due to the impairment of DNA and protein synthesis. Zinc also influences the conformation of nucleic acids.
20. Vitamin E in moringa is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates blood circulation around the scalp. Proper flow of blood to the scalp helps in the absorption of more nutrients available in the hair follicles.
21. Moringa is a storehouse of all the nutrients required for healthy hair. Hair loss occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin B- especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid. Proper blood circulation to the scalp enables hair follicles to grow stronger and healthier. Vitamin C together with vitamin E helps in the improvement of blood circulation in the scalp. It is vital to maintain capillaries that carry blood onto the follicles.
22. Moringa contains abundant quantities of minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper and manganese which are essential for healthy hair.
23. Moringa oil is a natural supplement for improving the health and strength of hair and scalp. Regular massage with this oil helps in reducing split ends and dandruff .It supplies rejuvenating vitamins and minerals to the hair follicles and tissues of the scalp.
[ Read: Benefits Of Poppy Seeds ]
Skin Benefits Of Moringa:
Just like healthy hair, supply of proper nutrients is vital for the maintenance of healthy skin. Moringa is loaded with nutrients like calcium, vitamin A, B, C, D, E; minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, silica and manganese. Moringa has moisturizing and nourishing properties and an excellent cleansing ability which makes it an active ingredient in skin care products.
24. Moringa has been found to possess anti-ageing properties. The effect of free radicals on human skin causes the appearance of wrinkles and makes the skin aged and less resistant to lines. Moringa has excellent cleansing ability which aids in cleaning the skin cells of free radicals and restoring the vitality and youthful complexion of the skin.
25. Moringa leaves contain about 30 antioxidants that contribute greatly towards healthy skin. Moringa oil is highly absorbable and hence helps in delivering these powerful antioxidants to the skin cells.
26. Moringa leaves also contain sulphur. This mineral is present in every single cell of the body and is the key ingredient for Collagen and keratin. Collagen is an elastic substance that gives flexibility and softness to the skin and keratin is a rigid substance which gives the skin rigidity and strength. These two substances form the majority of skin tissue and are made up of proteins constructed from sulphur.
27. The seed extract of moringa herb is popular in the cosmetic industry due to its therapeutic skincare benefits and skin purifying properties. It possesses the ability to filter out impurities that are deeply rooted within the skin and has an amazing detoxifying and rejuvenating properties. It enhances the fairness of skin by balancing the natural skin color and tone. A paste made from moringa leaves beautifies the skin and can be used as a face mask.
28. The ben oil which is extracted from moringa seeds is used to soften and soothe baby’s’ skin.
29. Moringa seed extract is used in protective creams and has the ability to provide protection against cigarette smoke and heavy metal pollution.
30. It is a powerful cleaning agent and moringa seed powder is used as an active ingredient in deep cleansing creams and lotions. It protects the skin from adhering pollution and smog.
[ Read: Benefits Of Buckwheat ]
Nutritional Value Of Moringa:
The most amazing fact about moringa is that it is a storehouse of nutrients and medicinal chemicals. The various parts of this plant are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron and protein. It contains a plethora of phytonutrients, eight essential amino acids and other powerful disease fighting antioxidants. According to the Ayurveda, moringa comprises of around 539 compounds capable of preventing 300 diseases. Moringa contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 different antioxidants which make it a powerhouse of nutrition. The table given below provides a gist of the nutritional value of this wonderful plant.
|Nutrient||Dried leaves||Fresh leaves|
|Vitamin A||6.78 mg||18.9 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.06 mg||2.64 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.05 mg||20.5 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.8 mg||8.2 mg|
|Vitamin C||220 mg||17.3 mg|
|Calcium||440 mg||2,003 mg|
|Calories||92 cal||205 cal|
|Carbohydrates||12.5 g||38.2 g|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.57 mg|
|Fat||1.70 g||2.3 g|
|Fiber||0.90 g||19.2 g|
|Iron||0.85 mg||28.2 mg|
|Magnesium||42 mg||368 mg|
|Phosphorus||70 mg||204 mg|
|Potassium||259 mg||1,324 mg|
|Zinc||0.16 mg||3.29 mg|
Moringa leaves are a storehouse of nutrients. They contain seven times more potassium than bananas and twice the amount of protein as that contained in milk. Milk is considered to be an important source of calcium, but moringa leaves contain four times more calcium than milk. They contain four times more vitamin A or beta carotene than carrots. Moringa powder which is prepared by grinding the dried leaves of moringa contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges, 25 times the amount of iron in spinach, 36 times the amount of magnesium in eggs, 50 times more vitamin B3 than peanuts and 50 times more vitamin B2 than bananas.
Moringa leaves compared to common foods
|Nutrient||Moringa Leaves||Other Foods|
|Vitamin A||6780 mcg||Carrots: 1890 mcg|
|Vitamin C||220 mg||Oranges: 30 mg|
|Calcium||440 mg||Cow’s milk: 120 mg|
|Potassium||259 mg||Bananas: 88 mg|
|Protein||6.7 gm||Cow’s milk: 3.2 gm|
Values per 100gm. edible portion
In addition to these nutrients, moringa leaves contains all the essential amino acids needed for growth and development of the body.
Amino Acid Content of Moringa Leaves:
|Nutrient||Dried leaves||Fresh leaves|
|Arginine||406.6 mg||1,325 mg|
|Histidine||149.8 mg||613 mg|
|Isoleucine||299.6 mg||825 mg|
|Leucine||492.2 mg||1,950 mg|
|Lysine||342.4 mg||1,325 mg|
|Methionine||117.7 mg||350 mg|
|Phenylalinine||310.3 mg||1,388 mg|
|Threonine||117.7 mg||1,188 mg|
|Tryptophan||107 mg||425 mg|
|Valine||374.5 mg||1,063 mg|
All values are per 100 grams of edible portion.
Looking at the benefits of Moringa , it is imperative to include it in our diets and daily regime. With its antioxidant, purifying and detox properties it is the skin’s best friend. Always do a patch test before applying any new product on your skin like ben oil and the paste of moringa leaves. Moringa is an easy and delicious way to reap the benefits.
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