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Moringa for its many virtues

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Moringa is a tree native to India, and more specifically to the valleys of the southern Himalayas, also known as the “Miracle Tree”.

Among all its benefits, can this plant help you lose weight? Our investigation will reveal all the virtues of this tree.

Moringa Identity Card


Scientific name : moringa oleifera
Common Names : moringa, m’rum, tree horseradish, drum stick tree, miracle tree, tree of life.
Botanical classification : moringaceae family
Usual forms and preparations : dried or ground leaves in capsules or as a condiment, fruit, juice, seeds, oil.

Botanical description of Moringa

Moringa is a small tree from tropical Asia, now cultivated in many countries such as the Philippines, India, South America and even Africa.
Its foliage is sparse, but it produces multiple white flowers that turn into persistent, drum-rod-shaped pods.

moringa flowers

Moringa flowers

History of Moringa

Botanists and archaeologists have found traces of the use of this shrub as far back as 150 BC. This plant has been used for thousands of years to revitalize the body and promote overall health.

Since the 17th century, it has been classified as a vegetable, as its pods can be eaten cooked and harbor astonishing nutritional properties. Indeed, moringa derives its name “Tree of Life” from the fact that it contains all the nutrients necessary for life.

Traditional medicines, notably Chinese and Ayurvedic, have long recommended it as a superfood, as well as in medicinal preparations. It is reputed to be able to cure 300 diseases.

Composition and active ingredients

Moringa leaves are extremely rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins, present in far greater quantities than in most vegetables.

It contains :

  • 2 times more protein than yoghurt ;
  • 3 times more potassium than bananas;
  • 4 times more calcium than milk;
  • 7 times more vitamin C than oranges;
  • 4 times more vitamin A than carrots;
  • 8 essential amino acids;
  • Antioxidants and polyphenols.

Numerous studies have been carried out on the properties of this miracle tree:

Several scientific studies have revealed the presence of antioxidants in large quantities in the various parts of this plant.
Chlorogenic acid, rutin, quercetin glucoside and kaempferol rhamnoglucoside are all active substances present in moringa seeds and pods, and have powerful anti-free radical effects.

Researchers believe it could have a real positive impact on the oxidation of cells that cause cancer.
Here are the reports of two studies to be consulted:
Evaluation of the polyphenol content and antioxidant properties of methanol extracted from the leaves, stem, roots and bark of Moringa oleifera Lam :
(Source: Sunday E. Atawodi, Gabriel A. Idakwo, Beate Pfundstein; Rosowitha Haubner, Gerd Wurtele, Helmut Bartsch, and Robert W. Owen. Journal of Medicinal Food. June 2010, 13(3) : 710-716. doi : 10.1089/jmf.2009.0057)

andPolyphenolic content and antioxidant properties of Moringa oleifera leaf extracts and enzymatic activity of goat liver supplemented with Moringa oleifera leaves / sunflower meal :
(Source: Department of Livestock and Pasture Sciences, University of Fort Hare, P/Bag X 1314, Alice 5700, South Africa. Moyo B, Oyedemi S, Masika PJ, Muchenje V. Meat Sci. 2012 Aug; 91(4): 441-7. doi: 10.1016/j.metasci.2012.02.029. Epub 2012 Mar 5.)

Consumption of this tree’s leaves has been recognized for its ability to improve blood glucose levels in rats suffering from diabetes. In addition, it could nourish the body with vitamins E and D, which are known to be very low in diabetics.

It also has the capacity to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Scientific reports attesting to these facts: Alpha – glucosidase inhibitory activity and mechanisms of lipid-lowering Moringa oleifera leaf extract :
( Source: Adisakwattana S, Chanathong B. Program in Nutrition and Dietetics and The Medical Food Researchand Development Center, Department of Transfusion Medicine, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Jul; 15(7) : 803-8)

and Cholesterol-lowering effects of crude Moringa oleifera Lam leaf extract on a high-fat diet applied to Wistar rats :
(Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, volume 69, issue 1, January 2000, Pages 21-25. S. Ghasi, E. Nwobodo, J.O. Ofili. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria. Department of Physiology, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria. Department of Applied Biochemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria).

Moringa has the capacity to protect the liver and kidneys and promote their good health. Its oil is used to treat liver disorders. Here again, research is available: Protective role of Moringa oleifera ( Sajina ) seeds on arsenic-induced hepatocellular degeneration in female albino rats.
(Source: Chattopadhyay S., Maiti S., Maji G., Deb B., Pan B., Ghosh D. Department of Bio-Medical Laboratory Science and Management, UGC Innovative Department, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, 721 102 West Bengal, India. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Aug; 142(2): 200-12. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8761-7. Epub 2010 Jul. 27),

and The protective effect of Moringa oleifera leaves against gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rabbits :
(Source: Ouédraogo M., Lamien-Sanou A., Ramdé N., Ouédraogo AS., Ouédraogo M., Zongo SP., Goumbri O., Duez P., Guissou PI. Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Health Sciences Faculty, University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2013 Mar; 65(3): 335-9. doi : 10.1016/j.etp.2011.11.006. Epub 2011 Dec 23).

It has also been recognized for its antifungal and antibiotic properties. It has the ability to naturally inhibit the proliferation of micro-organisms. The seeds are commonly used to fight infections.

Finally, moringa, rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc, helps regulate and normalize blood pressure, reducing the risk of hypertension.

The crushed seeds are also used to clarify and purify water, making it completely safe to drink, particularly in arid and impoverished areas where access to drinking water is problematic and a source of disease.

Can Moringa help with weight loss?

To date, there are no studies showing moringa to have slimming properties. However, as this plant is low in fat and very rich in nutrients, it can be used as a substitute for many foods.

It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B3, which the body needs to convert food into energy. Its consumption could potentially increase metabolism. Studies are needed to scientifically validate these specific properties.

However, studies have shown that the benzylamine present in moringa reduces weight gain by stimulating lipolysis. Mice fed a high-fat diet and ingesting benzylamine from moringa gained less weight than mice that received no supplementation.

A study report is available supporting this thesis is available via this link: Chronic administration of benzylamine in drinking water improves glucose tolerance, reduces body weight gain and blood cholesterol levels in mice on a high-fat diet
(Source: Iffiù-Soltész Z., Wanecq E., Lomba A., Portillo MP., Pellati F., Szöko E., Bour S., Woodley J., Milagro FI., Alfredo Martinez J., Valet P., Carpéné C. INSERM, U858, Institut de Médecine Moléculaire de Rangueil, IFR 150, Toulouse, France. Pharmacol Res. 2010 Apr; 61(4) : 355-63. doi : 10.1016/j.phrs.2009.12.014. Epub 2010 Jan 4).

Moringa dosage

There are no studies specifying the optimal dosage of moringa for humans. Studies on rats use an aqueous extract of moringa leaves, at 150-200 mg per kilo of body weight, taken orally.

Studies currently underway in humans use either a 500mg leaf extract or 3g of seeds. It is therefore advisable to follow these same dosages to ensure you get the full benefits.

Precautions, adverse effects and interactions of Moringa

At normal doses, moringa does not appear to have any harmful effects on health.

However, an overdose (3 to 4 times the dose) can cause genotoxic damage, i.e. compromise the physical integrity and/or functioning of the human genome, and thus have dangerous effects on various organs.

Pregnant women are strongly advised not to consume moringa root or root bark, as this may present a risk of miscarriage.

Moringa, a Global Health Ally

Moringa is definitely a plant with health benefits, and can be used in many situations to improve or preserve the body’s overall state of well-being and resistance.

And although it has not yet been shown to have any specific slimming properties in humans, moringa seems to be an interesting support for a low-calorie diet, providing the body with all the nutrients it needs to function optimally and limit fat storage.

Last updated on 1 March 2024.
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