You may have seen it on “The View” or “Dr. Oz.” Or, maybe you’ve caught an article or heard about this new “miracle” from a friend. What is it exactly? Moringa Oleifera is a plant, native to the foothills of the Himalayas and is used for its medicinal and nutritional properties.
It’s grown in some countries because of its amazing ability to retain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it has mostly gotten its media coverage for being proclaimed a very successful weight loss aid and energy booster.
Additional benefits may include:
- Relief for anxiety and depression
- Evening out blood sugar
- Improved immune function
- Improved digestion
- Lowering blood pressure
- Treating stomach ulcers
- Lessening joint pain
- Lessening asthma symptoms
- Decreasing fluid retention
- Fighting bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections
The leaf itself can be eaten like a salad or cooked, and stores very well. There are even smoothie recipes! In the U.S. it is most commonly sold in capsules or powders. As Moringa is an over the counter supplement, you can find it in health foods stores, vitamin shops and of course, the internet.
Moringa is a dark green food, which can cause your blood to thicken. If you are taking blood-thinning medication or are pregnant you should consult your health care practitioner before taking Moringa, and start with a low dosage.
Some other side effects include:
According to WebMD, it is important to avoid eating the Moringa root or its extracts, as these contain a toxic substance that can cause serious harm such as paralysis or death. So, if you do decide to start taking Moringa supplements, be sure that it is the leaf.
Another interesting thought is that Moringa potentially helps promote the production of glutathione within our bodies (1) we create. We need it for both liver and toxic metal detoxification. Glutathione can sometimes be inhibited by taking acetaminophen (better known as Tylenol), but a study shows that Moringa may help prevent this. (2)
Being in San Francisco I would love to try the Moringa leaf in a salad or even juiced! But it looks like the only way to get it here is as a capsule, dried tea, or powder. Unless you’re working with an experienced health professional, it’s best to stick to teas unless you have access to it fresh!
Contributed by: Heather DiMambro, Certified Nutrition Consultant
1. Bharali R, Tabassum J, Azad MR. Chemomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera, Lam, on hepatic carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. Apr-Jun 2003;4(2):131-139.
2. Fakurazi S, Hairuszah I, Nanthini U. Moringa oleifera Lam prevents acetaminophen induced liver injury through restoration of glutathione level. Food Chem Toxicol. Aug 2008;46(8):2611-2615.
Image: Plants of Hawaii, Image 070207-4337 from http://www.hear.org/starr/plants/images/image/?q=070207-4337