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Uses of Drumstick Tree
Traditionally people have discovered a vast array of uses for Moringa. This knowledge existed in many different parts of the world—Africa, Latin America, South America, India, Indonesia, and many island nations. Moringa has been used in Nutrition, Disease Prevention, Fertilizer, Erosion Control, Water Purification, Cosmetics, Textile Printing, Insecticide, Fungicide, Lubricants, Tanning Leather, Dye, Fiber Products, Fences, Ornamentation & Shade, Wind Barrier, Condiment, etc.
Moringa has been imparting multi-dimensional benefits from each of its parts. The leaves, flowers, seed pods, mature seeds and moringa seed oil are edible components of the tree and finds culinary use. Leaves are eaten as greens, in salads, in vegetable curries, as pickles and for seasoning. The immature seed pods of moringa tree popular as drumsticks are used in various delicacies. Moringa leaves are a great alternative to meat attributing to the high protein content especially for the vegetarians. Moringa contains extremely vital amino acids – aregenine and histidine which are required for infant growth and considered boon for fighting malnutrition.
Nutritional value of Moringa
Moringa is often touted as “the most nutrient dense material on earth” and the claims are quite true. Nutritional analysis has shown that Moringa leaves contain larger amounts of several important nutrients than the common foods often associated with these nutrients. On gram-for-gram comparison of nutritional data, morgina leaves have
- 7times the Vitamin C of Oranges
- 4times the Vitamin A of Carrots
- 4times the Calcium of Milk
- 3times the Potassium of Bananas
- 2times the Protein of Yogurt
Moringa leaves contain various vitamins (including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C), minerals (including calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc), proteins, antioxidants, and other benefits. Moringa leaves provide amino acids which are rare in vegetarian diet and often found in meat. Moringa provides protein – argenine and histidine, which are required for infant growth and extremely valuable food source in various countries having problems of undernourishment.
Dried moringa leaf powder are considered to be more potent than fresh leaves. Increase in the nutritional value is seen when delicate moringa leaves are dired carefully under shade.
Health Benefits of Moringa
In ancient medicinal science Ayurveda, moringa (also known as shigru) is valued for its impressive range of therapeutic usage. Various parts of moringa including leaves, roots, seed, bark, fruit, flowers and immature pods act as cardiac and circulatory stimulants, possess antitumor, antipyretic, antidepressant, antiepileptic, antiinflammatory, antiulcer, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive, cholesterol lowering, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and antifungal activities. A recent paper published by John Hopkins institute mentions health benefits of various parts of moringa, some of the health benefits of Moringa are listed below:
Moringa for healthy skin
Moringa has potential benefits in cosmetic applications. Some proteins have been found which have anti stress action on hair and skin. Cytokinin found in moringa has anti aging properties. Moringa has high content of Zeatin which has anti oxidant and anti aging properties too. It helps body replace cells faster and thus providing young skin. Oil is somewhat dangerous if taken internally, but is applied externally for skin diseases.
Using Moringa seed oil for good hair
Just like coconut oil, moringa seed oil has been appreciated for hair growth since long. With antioxidant properties, it protects hare from pollution and environmental damage. With conditioning effect on scalp, it stimulates hare growth.
Anti microbial properties of Moringa
Moringa leaves, root and gum show anti bacterial properties. It is seen effective against wide range of bacteria. A research study on potential of moringa leaves and its extracts show that it contains various bio components which have anti bacterial properties which are highly comparable to antibiotic ampliclox and suggest presence of broad spectrum of bio active substances. Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences published a study which found that Moringa seed and leaf extracts killed Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter aerogenes bacteria. Moringa leaves extract is looked upon by pharmaceuticals companies as promising antimicrobial agent and having potential pharma applications. Moringa herb is also effective on infection by herpes virus.
Moringa is Mother’s Best Friend
Moringa leaves and extract are considered to be Galactagogues and help promote and establish lactation in nursing mothers. Because of the same it is called mothers best friend in Phillipines. Intake of moringa few days postpartum or after delivery to induce lactation. The lactation enhancing effects of Moringa leaves as evidenced by increased levels of maternal serum prolactin, which is important hormone in initiation of lactation.
Moringa is rich source of calcium
Calcium is one of the essential minerals required by body and is important for the growth, maintenance, and reproduction of the human body. Various body functions including blood coagulation, transmission of nerve impulses, functioning of muscles, hormone secretion, enzyme reaction and other body functions are governed by calcium. Women during their lifetime suffer from calcium loss and are prone to disease osteoporosis. Moringa is said to be richest source of Calcium and contains over 4 times more Calcium than milk. Thus health benefits of moringa leaves include promoting strong bones, prevention of osteoporosis and proper body function.
Anti Inflammatory properties of Moringa
Moringa has been used in Ayurveda for treatment on Arthritis and Gout. It was believed that Moringa Leaf Powder reduce inflammations and pain caused by these conditions. Research shows that extract of Moringa roots has significant anti-inflammatory /antiarthritic and analgesic activity. It was found that moringa roots extract produced analgesia in mice similar morphine. In 2008 the Faculty of Medicine Health Sciences of the Putra University in Malaysia published a research confirming Anti-Inflammatory properties of moringa. It is also because of this anti inflammatory properties of Moringa extracts, it is considered beneficial in the treatment of edema.
Anti oxidant properties of Moringa
Research on antioxidant properties have confirmed its potential health benefits. Phenols present in leaves helps reduce free radicals from body. Further moringa seed powder showed reduction in tissue arsenic concentration, thus providing protection from oxidative stress. Research has also found affirmative results on anti oxidant properties and its ability to prevent Alzheimer’s diseases and other neurodegenerative disorders. Because of its antioxidant properties it helps prevent damage to key organs of body including heart, liver, eyes and skin.
Effective on gastric ulcer
Moringa juice or moringa leaves tea is considered effective on gastric ulcers. Studies have confirmed effectiveness of moringa leaf and fruit extract on symptoms of gastric and duodenal ulcers and inflammation. It has been the same reason why use of moringa leaves has been used by Ayurveda in treating ulcers and digestive tract disorders.
Keeping Liver healthy with Moringa
Common causes of liver disease are infection and damange due to hepatoxins. Moringa tea and moringa juice has been considered having curative effects on liver disorders. Research shows that moringa helps in removal of hepatoxins from the body and reverse the damage by these hepatoxins. Moringa has been considered effective on hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty degeneration of the liver, and the metabolic liver disease due to alcohol and drug use.
Benefits of Moringa on Asthma
Finely powdered dried moringa seed kernels show benefits on bronchial asthma. Moringa reduces severity and symptoms of asthama and encourages proper functioning of lungs. Extracts of moringa seeds further possess anti-allergic qualities and are inhibitory action against hypersensitivity and other allergic diseases.
Healthy nervous system by Moringa
Moringa root and bark are considered good for our nervous system. It has a sooting effect on our nervous system. Its stimulating action constricts blood vessel and elevates blood pressure.
Control Diabetes with Moringa
Moringa exerts protective effects against various diabetic forms. Research has confirmed antidiabetic activity of moringa pod extracts. Intake of moringa has demonstrated reduction of blood glucose, urine sugar and urine proteins in the diabetic people.
Prevent Cancer with Moringa
Moringa extract shows presence of phenolic compounds and other phytonutrients which have anticancer properties. Research have confirmed presence of these bio active substances and health benefits of moringa in preventing cancers and other tumors.
Moringa to take care of Cardiovascular health
Moringa is considered to be good for heart, mainly because of its antioxidant properties and other health benefits. Regular consumption of moringa can help reduce damage of heart tissue. Moringa also helps in regulate blood pressure. Moringa leaf extracts is good remedy for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in the body.
Quick Healing of wound by Moringa
Research has found that extract of moringa leaves has wound healing potential. This can be attributed to its coagulating properties of moringa leaves and seed
Antifertility and abortifacient property of Moringa
Moringa root has antiprogestational properties and exert estrogenic activity and is beneficial in the prevention of implantation in the body. It is reported to induce alterations in the normal uterine histoarchitecture resulting in anti fertility.
Diuretic and antiurolithiatic property of Moringa
Traditionally powdered gum of Moringa has been used as cure on painful and burning urination. Moringa leaves, flowers, gums, roots and seeds show diuretic activity. It also helps reduce oxalates in body resulting in kidney stones.
Apart from above health benefits of moringa, with powerhouse of various good nutrients it helps in healthy well being.
Other non medicinal but useful uses of moringa
Narration of health benefits of moringa doesn’t end here. It is used in so many other uses and provides tremendous value.
- Livestock meal – Seek cake is excellent additive for livestock meal. Moringa fodder is considered as protein supplement and promotes milk production in cow.
- Biodiesel – Quality Biodiesel can be derived from Moringa seed oil and considered as substitute for petroleum or biodiesel from Jatropa.
- Coagulant and water purification properties – Moringa seeds are one of the best natural coagulants for water treatment. They are also helpful reducing turbidity from water. Preliminary investigations show that use of Moringa seed can be used for softening of hard water.
- Moringa trees are often used in cross cropping. Extracts from moringa leaves contain plant growth enhancer. Moringa seed oil is used as bio pesticide and helps improving the resistance of plants towards pests and diseases.
- Tannins present in moringa seed oil are used in tanning of leather and dyeing of woold.
- Moringa seed oil also known as Ben oil, is a sweet non-sticking, non-drying oil that resists rancidity. It has been used for fine machine lubrication, and in the manufacture of perfume and hair care products
- Root of moringal tree is an excellent substitute for Horseradish. Pound leaves are used for scrubbing utensils and for cleaning walls
- Moringa bark offers fiber which is used for making mats, paper. It also yields blue dye and bark can be used for tanning.
Potential Side effects of Moringa
Moringa leaves, fruit, and seeds might be safe when eaten as food. However, any over dose should be avoided especially root and seed oil. Some parts of tree contain toxins which may cause paralysis and death. Moringa being abortifacient should be avoided by pregnant women. Though use of moringa is done for enhancing lactation, caution shall be taken while intake by nursing mothers.