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top 10 moringa medicinal uses

Moringa Medicinal Uses – The Top 10

There are many effective moringa medicinal uses. Much of moringa’s uses were based in folk medicine but what we are seeing today is that modern science is beginning to back up more and more of its traditional uses. Moringa is commonly called a “miracle tree” or “superfood” and for good reason. This incredible plant is absolutely packed with nutrients that make it great for a range of different health related things.

Moringa isn’t just some new “green” health trend that will come and go. It’s health related uses can be tracked back for thousands of years to the time of the Ancient Egyptians when moringa oil was used to protect their skin against the harsh climate. And in ancient India moringa was said to be able to cure over 300 diseases. Some people even believe that in the Bible (Rev 2:7;22:2,14) moringa is what is being talked about when “The Miracle Tree of Life” is referred to.

Moringa is no cure-all herb but it is pretty amazing. It is proven to treat everything asthma to cancer. And when I say “proven” I mean scientifically proven. Moringa’s leaves, oil, seeds, bark, and flowers have all been found to be pretty incredible with the properties they hold, but since just about every moringa product on the market is made from either moringa leaves or moringa oil, I’ll just be focusing on the uses of them here.

#1) Skin Healing Powers

One common medicinal use of moringa is for that of skin health and healing. As mentioned, using moringa oil for skin health dates back for thousands of years to the Ancient Egyptians. In modern times moringa is still used quite commonly for the benefits it has for your skin. It is used as a treatment for everything from wrinkles to acne to wound healing. And its not just moringa oil applied directly to the skin that gives benefits, but ingesting moringa powder as well.

There are more than one study out there that backs up the effectiveness of this use for moringa.

One study from 2013 I found studied a cream’s effectiveness when infused with moringa leaf extract. The study was performed in the winter when skin health is at its lowest point and the results after a 12 week period were that moringa help “significantly”  reduce the amount of “undesirable skin”.

Another experiment I found, titled Enhancement of human skin facial revitalization by moringa leaf…, showed that moringa has revitalization effects on the skin and supports anti-aging.

And these are just studies for every day skin health… but what if you get a cut or scrape… will moringa help your skin heal? The answer is yes it will.

There was a wound healing study I dug up online that was performed on rats with open wounds. The results showed that when moringa was administered to the test subjects their wound closure rate increased and the amount of scar tissue decreased. What is also rather interesting is that the actual strength of the skin increased as well. Pretty amazing stuff here.

And like I said, not just topical moringa products that help out your skin. While they will help out most directly, you can also get benefits for your skin from taking oral moringa supplements.

Why Moringa Is Effective

Moringa’s skin healing/health properties can largely be attributed to its antioxidant properties. This superfood contains over 46 antioxidants (courtesy of NaturalSociety.com) including very high amounts vitamins which serve as antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin C, just to name a few.

These antioxidants are responsible for preventing the oxidation of molecules in the body. You see when oxidation of molecules occurs in the body free-radicals are formed. Free-radicals are very unstable and damage all sorts of things. They are linked to early aging and in this case, undesirable or unhealthy skin.

Moringa also contains high amounts of the phytohormone Zeatin. Zeatin is involved in the cellular division process that plants use to grow and high amounts of this compound cause faster growth in plants. And the important thing about this that relates to the skin is that it has been found to have youth preserving/anti-aging effects on human skin when experimented with in-vivo (link to study).

So if you are looking for a “green” way to get better skin then moringa is a great choice. It is proven, time tested, and provides a heck of a lot more than just skin health benefits.

#2) Regulating Blood Pressure

Another effective medicinal use for moringa is regulating blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure and are looking for natural treatment then moringa is definitely something that is worth considering.

This isn’t just traditional use that has no proof of actually working. It has been backed by plenty of science as an effective natural treatment.

In a 2012 study moringa proved to reduce hypertension in test subjects, which were rats by the way… but nonetheless were still test subjects whose bodies are very similar to us humans. During the study the test subjects were injected with a compound that induced hypertension and when moringa extract was administered it reversed the effects.

And this isn’t the end of it. There are similar studies out there that show moringa to be effective for all sorts of blood pressure related problems.

Why It Works

The reason moringa is effective at reversing high blood pressure is due to many things. According to Examine.com it probably has some to do with the isothiocyanates and thiocarbamates that are present in moringa. It has been proven that molecules with a cyanide and sulfur group are able to lower blood pressure.

Moringa also has many other qualities that are proven to reduce BP such as high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C just to name a few.

Potassium helps lower sodium levels in the blood. And we all know that sodium is the enemy if you are battling against high blood pressure. What potassium does is helps your body get rid of the excess sodium that is in the blood by excreting it in the urine. And moringa just happens to be an amazing source of potassium. Moringa will give you about 3X or more the potassium than bananas (pound for pound), which are well known for having a lot of this mineral.

Magnesium is another mineral that can help you out with high BP. It is shown to have a soothing or relaxing effect on blood vessels leads to decreased blood pressure. Moringa is also a decent source of this but nothing special. A normal 2g serving of moringa powder will provide you with about 10.5mg of magnesium, which works out to be 2.5 – 3.5% of an adult’s RDA. Nothing much but its still something.

And vitamin C is something else that will help with BP and moringa contains a lot. If you were to compare moringa’s vitamin C levels to oranges you would find that moringa powder has about 5X the amount per weight. This vitamin has been linked to lower BP but the reasons it is effective are something that not much information exists on. However, it is notable that Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists say that if people would consume more vitamin C there would be a lot less strokes happening.

While there is more to be known, the bottom line here is that moringa is proven to lower blood pressure and is a great choice for doing so because of the numerous other benefits it brings to the table.

#3) A Natural Antibacterial

Of the many uses moringa has, using it as an antibacterial agent is yet another. In rural areas of Africa moringa is used for this purpose due to lack of man-made medicine, because it is traditional, and for other reasons. While this may seem like another ineffective folk medicine that has no scientific basis, it actually does..

There are all sorts of studies that prove moringa to have antibacterial properties from its leaves, to its bark, to its seed pods. Whether you are taking moringa powder or using moringa oil for skin health, you will be able to harness some of these germ killing powers.

There is no shortage of studies here. One 2009 study tested moringa leaf juice extract against four different types of human pathogenic bacteria. The results showed that moringa demonstrated antibacterial activity by inhibiting all four types that were studied. In this study it was even suggested that moringa be studied more closely because the antibacterial agents it contains could be used to create new and better pharmaceuticals.

In another study I found moringa extract was tested against several other pathogenic bacteria including E. coli, which everyone seems to be aware of from the many E. coli outbreaks that have come from foods. Here the researchers found that moringa exhibited antibacterial effects on wound and enteric (intestinal) pathogens.

And there are more where these come from. The research backing up moringa’s ability to fight off and kill germs is a lot.

Why Moringa Kills Germs

There is still a lot unknown about why moringa is such a good antibacterial. There are so many different compounds that it contains and often times these work together in combination to bring many of the benefits moringa has for us.

However, moringa does contain Niaziminin and Niazinin, which are 2 phytochemicals that this activity can be at least partly attributed to. These 2 phytochemicals have also been shown to have tumor and cancer preventing effects which I will get into next.

It is also worth noting that moringa displays antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic activity which is closely related to its antibacterial activity.

So if you want a natural way to protect yourself from the next E. coli outbreak that Chipotle lets happen or from parasites that could potentially ruin your next tropical vacation then moringa is one of the good choices out there for you. While man made medications can be more powerful, moringa is an excellent healthy way to go.

#4) Protection From Cancer

Of all the medicinal uses that moringa has this has got to be one of the most impressive. That’s not to say that any of the others are not impressive… but being able to use moringa as a natural treatment and/or preventative for cancer is something that might even be difficult to believe. But it is true.

I have found numerous studies on this subject. I think one of the best out there is this one where the power of moringa was tested against breast and colorectal cancers, which are the number 1 & 2 deadliest cancers for women by the way. The results from this study showed that cell colony formation was reduced by a whopping 70-90% along with an increase in apoptotic cells, which basically means that the test subject’s bodies were able to kill off more potentially harmful cells (cancer cells) when taking moringa.

Why Moringa Beats Up On Cancer

There are a number of ways that moringa is able to treat cancer.

It has been shown to interfere with the signaling pathway that goes in in the body to promote cancer cell proliferation, which results in less cancer cells being formed. The obstruction of this pathway that hinders cancer cell increase is thought to mainly be due to the presence of eugenol, which targets E2F1/survivin in cancer cells, D-allose, and others.

Eugenol has been studied a lot and there is plenty of research to back up its anti-cancer activity. Another study from BMC Cancer showed that eugenol lead to increased apoptosis of breast cancer cells through E2/F1 and survivin as well. And basically what this all means is that eugenol helped to increase the body’s ability to kill off harmful cells, and in this case breast cancer cells.

The moringa leaves have been shown to have some of the most anti-cancer properties when compared to other parts of the plant such as its bark and seed pods. This is good because nearly all of the moringa supplements that are available on the market are made from moringa leaves, such as moringa powder.

 #5) Effective Against Diabetes

According to WebMD there is still no cure for diabetes…. However, there are ways to treat diabetes to help lessen negative effects that it has. Moringa happens to be one of these treatments and there is plenty of science to back up its effectiveness in this regard.

The disease of diabetes comes in many different forms. However, they stem from problems with the hormone called insulin. Insulin is released to help the body store & use both fat and sugar. Diabetics have low insulin levels for one reason or another and in severe cases have no insulin production at all.

One way to measure diabetes is by measuring blood glucose. Because insulin is responsible for regulating glucose levels in the blood, levels of this can be measured to basically see the severity of diabetes someone has.

In one study (link here) that I found to be pretty fascinating, moringa extract was found to decrease blood glucose levels by up to 69.2%. This study looked at the effect of moringa on normal animals and animals with diabetes. Moringa was shown to decrease the blood glucose levels in all test subjects but the decrease was the most significant for those with severe cases of diabetes.

And there are plenty more studies done in this area. Another study from the Journal of Diabetes titled Evaluation of antidiabetic and antioxidant activity of Moringa… found that when moringa was administered to test subjects with diabetes the progression of this disease was reduced and that it showed “significant” anti-diabetic activity.

Why Is Moringa Effective for Diabetes Treatment?

As with just about everything, the reason moringa is effective at treating this particular problem is probably due to a variety of different compounds that it contains. But one in particular that I found does have hypoglycemic effects is a protein isolate that is found in moringa leaves.

There was a study that was performed in 2017 that measured the effects that this protein isolate had blood glucose levels. The results were significant to say the least. The isolate reduced levels of blood glucose by up to 66.4% just 5 hours after administration (study here).

Vitamin A is something else that moringa contains a heck of a lot of, which is also a known treatment for the disease. And when I say “a lot” I mean it. Moringa powder can have as much as 10X the amount of vitamin A than carrots, which are well known for this vitamin.

There are other reasons why its an effective treatment for diabetes, much of which I’m not even going to get into. The bottom line is that it does work.

Its always nice to see traditional medicines that have been used for hundreds and even thousands of years that turn out to actually do what they have been said to do long before modern science.

#6) Cholesterol Regulation

Everyone wants cholesterol, but just not the bad kind. HDL is the good kind whereas LDL is the bad kind that will increase chances of strokes, heart attacks, etc. LDL cholesterol builds up in your arteries and makes it more difficult for blood to flow properly. Of course you are never going to be able to eliminate HDL but you can get it under control and maintain healthy levels of it.

Cholesterol and diabetes, which I just talked about above, are actually related. Diabetes tends to lower the good HDL cholesterol and raise the bad LDL cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels.

Moringa is one of the better natural treatments for cholesterol regulation out there and it has actually been used as a traditional cardiotonic medicine (to help the heart contract stronger) in Thailand for a long time.

The best treatment there is would probably be to just eat healthier so you aren’t taking in all the bad cholesterol from foods, but if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices when it comes to eating, then supplementing moringa is a good choice.

A study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacol showed that when moringa extract was administered to hypercholesterol-fed rabbits over a period of 12 weeks, the cholesterol levels were significantly reduced to a level of 50. In this time plaque formation in the arteries was also reduced due to the moringa extract.

And another study (link to study) showed that moringa actually increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This will in turn lower LDL cholesterol levels and decrease chances of related diseases.

The results of these studies show that using moringa as a treatment for high cholesterol is comparable to the drug simvastatin, which is specifically used to do such.

Curious As To How Moringa Regulates Cholesterol?

At least some of moringa’s ability to regulate cholesterol levels can be attributed to PUFAs. And I know you are probably wondering what the heck PUFA’s are. Well, it stands for “polyunsaturated fatty acids” and these include linoleic acid, linolenic acid and oleic acid. And moringa’s oil happens to have as much as 76% PUFA.

Another reason why moringa might be so effective is its fiber content. Moringa is extremely high in fiber. This fiber can bind cholesterol in the digestive system and take it right out of the body.

#7) Anti-Viral Treatment

Going along with moringa being an anti-bacterial, which I discussed in #3, moringa also has some pretty incredible antiviral activity that makes it a good choice among natural medications in this area.

Viruses can be very difficult to stop. They sneak their ways into our cells and use the protection of the cells to thrive. Man-made medications can do amazing things but there are almost always unwanted side effects at least to some degree. That is why moringa, being a natural choice, seems to be growing in popularity among researchers and victims of viruses.

There are a couple studies that I want to point out when comes to documented proof of moringa’s anti-viral activity. The first being one that tested several different plant extracts against foot and mouth virus diseases. In this study there were 3 plants that were looked at, two of which proved to be effective, moringa and Azadirachta indica. Moringa’s antiviral activity is quoted as being “potent” (link to study here).

Another similar study tested 20 different plants that are commonly used for medicinal means in Thailand, moringa being one of them. This study tested these plants’ antiviral activity against the Herpes Virus (HSV-1) in mice. Moringa was one of just a few plants to show strength against the virus. It delayed skin lesions caused by Herpes and prolonged the life of the infected test subjects.

The Antiviral Side of Moringa

Moringa seems to protect the body against a variety of viruses that are out there, including the notorious HIV. But what is it about moringa that gives it these antiviral properties?….well… there are a number of things at work here.

The phytochemicals that moringa contains seem to play a large role here. Niaziminin, in particular, is one such phytochemical that has been shown in studies to protect against viruses such as Epstein bar virus (RNA virus).

Flavonoids are also more than likely responsible for some of this amazing activity. They are extremely high in antioxidants which are known to help kill off viruses in the body. And then of course moringa is also filled with many other antioxidants (46 total) that will help in the same way.

#8) Remedy for Inflammation…Arthritis, Asthma, etc.

There are a lot of different conditions that can be classified in the inflammatory category. Two in particular that are extremely common and that moringa has been proven to treat include arthritis and asthma.

Arthritis and other forms of joint pain are all to common. Arthritis is most common for those that are elderly, but you might be surprised the number of people in their 20’s that are walking around with this condition. Arthritis is extremely common worldwide and just to give you a percentage to think about here.. roughly 23% of all adults in the US suffer from it (courtesy of CDC.gov).

Luckily, most cases of arthritis aren’t all that serious. They can be treated so that you can still go about your day. There are over 100 different types of arthritis out there but they all are basically the same thing…. joint inflammation which causes joint pain and stiffness.

Moringa just so happens to have anti-inflammatory properties that are proven to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma. I have read over several blog posts by individuals who swear by moringa a cure, not to mention how moringa has been used as traditional anti-inflammatory for long time.  Even on WebMD they list arthritis and asthma treatment as one of moringa’s effective uses.

But is there any real proof of this? Well of course there is. If you know me then you know I like to back up my points with science.

One study on arthritis that caught my eye you can take a look at here if you would like. But I’ll summarize it for you if you don’t care to. The study was performed on animals, rats in particular. And basically what they did was used the amount of time the rats spent licking or biting their inflamed paws as a measure of how bad the inflammation was. When the rats were given moringa extract to treat their condition the amount of expressed discomfort decreased significantly.

And when it comes to moringa & asthma there is also an abundance of proof. I mentioned a study in another post (here) I wrote about this that showed supplementing just 3g of moringa per day can really have positive effects for those with asthma. The study was performed on people and in it the asthma patients’ breathing strength and volume increase due to moringa’s ability to treat this inflammatory condition.

All the studies out there are all pretty unanimously conclusive on moringa’s ability as an anti-inflammatory agent.

 The Anti-Inflammatory Agents at Work

So now you should be wondering how moringa is able to treat inflammatory problems such as arthritis and asthma.

Well a 2015 study shows that moringa supplementation suppresses inflammatory markets such as NO production and prostaglandin E2. At the same time it also decreases production of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that come from cells which promote inflammation.

Moringa’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to isothiocyanates, flavonoids, and other polyphenols that it contains, among other things. Flavonoids are well known for their ability to treat inflammation and have been shown to work for all kinds of such conditions ranging from arthritis to asthma and everything in between.

So the takeway here is that moringa works for conditions stemming from inflammation pretty darn good. The study that I mentioned above that was performed on asthma patients had them only take 3g of moringa per day. This is pretty much the normal serving size for most of the moringa powder supplements that are available.

#9) Metabolism Health Through Thyroid Hormone Regulation

Number 9 that I’m including on this list is how moringa can help with thyroid hormone regulation which can have a number of positive effects on your body, one of the most notable being a healthy metabolism.

There was a great quote I came across from EveryDayHealth.com that says “If your metabolism is a revved engine, thyroid hormone is the gas”. The hormone that your thyroids produce play an important part in your metabolism. If you have hypothyroidism this means that your body does not produce enough of this hormone and a decreased metabolism is one of the results. And vice versa, if you have hyperthyroidism this means that your thyroid is overactive and producing too much hormone, which leads to increased metabolism, weight loss, anxiety, tremors, etc.

So the thyroid produces the thyroid hormone, which then regulates the metabolism, and moringa can help to regulate the amount of this hormone being produced so that you keep your metabolism nice and healthy.

According to this study that was performed in 2000, moringa extract administered at low concentrations is effective at treating hyperthyroidism. So this would be good for those that have overactive thyroids. And something else worth noting is that moringa was found to be effective at hormone regulation in females test subjects but not males.

Going along with its benefits to the thyroid, moringa is also used in other countries as a treatment for goiter, which comes from irregular thyroid hormone production.

How Moringa Helps Out The Thyroid

Not that you need to know this, but moringa is shown to effect the conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (triiodothyronine). Now how it does this is another question.

One thing that is sure to have an effect on the thyroid hormone is the level of antioxidants that moringa possesses. As I’ve said numerous times, moringa has 46 different antioxidants, which is a heck of a lot. The reason this is important is because both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have been linked to oxidative stress which antioxidants can reduce.

So according to studies done on antioxidants and the thyroid hormone, moringa should be beneficial to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. I know I only mentioned one study that proved its effectiveness against hyperthyroidism but there is more research that needs to be done in this area.

Anyway… if you experience nervousness, excessive sweating, have an irregular heartbeat, anxiety, etc, then you may be suffering from hyperthyroidism. There are a lot of people out there that have this and don’t even know it.

Moringa is not only proven in science to treat this condition but I have also read reviews of people that have started supplementing moringa for this very reason and saw results from it.

#10) E.D. Treatment

Erectile dysfunction is something that comes with age. According to a study by the Cleveland Clinic, about 40% of men over the age of 40 suffer from this and 70% of those that are over 70 years old. Its effects can destroy self confidence and in some cases relationships. This is an embarrassing problem that no man wants yet well over half of the population will experience at some point.

Lack of blood flow is the cause of ED and this lack of blood flow can be caused by a number of different things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and others. Oxidative stress is also something that is linked to decreased male sex function.

As you already know if you actually read this post thus far, moringa is proven to help regulate blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and it contains a bunch of antioxidants to combat oxidative stress. So you know that it is a potential treatment for ED.

Surprisingly, I was actually able to find a study that was on exactly this…. Titled: Moringa oleifera extract enhances sexual performance. The hypothesis of the study was that moringa would increase sexual performance because of its antioxidants. And it proved to do exactly this. It decreased oxidative stress and with that decrease came an increase in sexual performance.

The Reason Moringa Is an Aphrodisiac 

There really isn’t all that much information in this particular area but moringa has been used for aphrodisiac purposes in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. We know that some of its effectiveness comes from its ability to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and stop oxidative damage, but who knows what other reasons there might be for its effectiveness.

Seeds from moringa trees are sold in Eastern countries as traditional virility drugs. But you don’t have to get the seeds. Taking moringa powder supplements (made from moringa leaves) should give very similar effects.

Summary.. Moringa = One Heck of a Natural Medicine

Moringa is one heck of a natural medicine. As I mentioned in the very beginning, traditional Indian medicine claims that moringa can treat/cure over 300 different diseases. I’m not really sure how accurate this number really is but who knows…. maybe it is actually true. After all, many of moringa’s traditional uses in folk medicine are turning out to be backed by scientific research.

There is good reason to add moringa to your diet. The 10 medicinal uses that I went over above are just a fraction of the many uses it is effective for.

Natural medicines are back in style in the modern age and moringa is at the top of the list. If you are going to buy moringa one piece of advice I have for you is to not just go out and buy any moringa that is out there. Buy from a trusted source. There is a difference between quality moringa that is grown in a healthy environment and moringa that is not. You might have to spend a few extra bucks but its better to be safe than sorry.

About the Author Kyle

Kyle is an avid health enthusiast that believes in nature as a cure-all. When he's not drinking spirulina smoothies or dealing with the horrible aftertaste of stevia, he is probably working out, researching healthy herbs, or dealing with hand cramps he gets from writing articles like this.

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2 comments
Elaine Smith says December 5, 2017

I found the information very interesting. I never knew moringa had so many great uses. You did a fantastic job!

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    Kyle says December 7, 2017

    Thank you Elaine. I’m glad you liked it!

    Reply
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