What Is Moringa? Top 5 Moringa Health Benefits

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There’s something so inviting about the name moringa. Maybe it’s just me, but the plant name is close enough to the word “morning” to conjure images in my mind of sunshine and a brilliant blue sky. I doubt the name is derived from the word “morning”, but it’s a nice thought nonetheless.  Moringa Oleifera is the botanical name of the plant.

Often referred to as the “tree of life” or the “miracle tree”, moringa has been sharing the limelight recently with a host of other incredible herbal remedies. Like with most plants, this shrub is not a newly-made discovery. Hundreds of years ago, the Egyptians used moringa oil to protect their skin from sun damage, the Romans and Greeks extracted the plant oil for skin lotions and perfumes and the Indians were well-aware of the plant’s remedial properties. In ayurvedic medicine, the plant was believed to prevent as many as 300 diseases! So, what exactly is this plant all about?

What Is Moringa? Moringa Seeds Explained

Close up of leaves on moringa tree.

Moringa tree.

The moringa tree is native to southwest India and is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions. Moringa oleifera is the most popularly used plant species in the moringa plant family. The plant is also known as horseradish tree. This is because of the root’s bitter taste similar to horseradish). It’s also called drumstick tree because of the tree’s long and slender triangular pods. Finally, you might also see it listed as ben oil tree and benzoil tree.

You extract the seeds from the green pods growing on the moringa tree’s branches. The seeds are used for oil extraction or consumed cooked or roasted. They are jampacked with nutrients and boast countless benefits, including promoting heart health and brain health, supporting liver functioning, boosting the immune system, and improving overall health. You can use this oil topically to moisturize the skin and slow the signs of skin aging.

Top 5 Moringa Health Benefits Explained

Moringa boasts numerous health benefits and uses. Almost every part of the tree is edible and serves a purpose – the seeds, leaves, flowers and the pods. The plant is low in fat and rich in nutrients and minerals including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamins A, C and B vitamins.

1. Rich In Antioxidants

Moringa contains a rich amount of disease-fighting antioxidants. Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body that can cause a variety of issues. You really can’t get enough of these in your body as your body is constantly facing free-radical damage. Part of what makes moringa a superfood is its impressively high antioxidant content. 

2. Lowers Cholesterol

Research has shown that moringa may lower cholesterol levels in the body. This can help prevent heart disease which is associated with high levels of cholesterol.

3. Regulates Blood Pressure Levels

Moringa may lower blood pressure levels, helping to prevent diabetes and heart disease. One of the main reasons for this is that moringa contains two heart-healthy compounds that work to regulate pressure levels. Isothiocyanate and niaziminin stop arteries from thickening which is a contributing factor of high blood pressure.  

4. Aids Weight Loss

Woman with arms spread out

Moringa may aid weight loss.

You can use moringa to reap its wonderful weight loss benefits. It purportedly speeds up metabolism helping to digest food and get rid of fats and waste quicker.

If you are trying to lose weight, moringa weight loss might be the answer. Moringa is full of nutrients that energize and curb cravings. The plant is rich in calcium, proteins, vitamins A and C, and fibers which help digestion and reduce fat absorption.

5. Bone Health

The calcium and phosphorus content in moringa keep bones healthy and strong. It’s also high in anti-inflammatories which help to treat conditions affecting the bones, such as arthritis.

Moringa Oil Explained

Hand holding essential oil dropper on peach background.

Moringa oil dropper.

The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks knew what they were doing when they utilized the seed’s oil for cosmetic purposes. Moringa is rich in antioxidants, specifically zeatin, that slow skin aging, delaying and preventing wrinkles. It also purifies the skin making it great for acne-prone skin to prevent blackheads and spots. But that’s not all. Moringa oil serves as an antiseptic working to heal blemishes, cuts, and rashes and purifies and moisturizes the scalp, promoting hair growth.

Dreaming of softer, smoother, glowing skin? It may be worth locating a bottle of this cold press extracted carrier oil.

Moringa Capsules & Moringa Powder Explored

Moringa is a powerhouse of antioxidants and rich in vitamins C, A and E, protein, and a variety of other nutrients. This plant is a valuable health supplement, and that comes as no surprise. But which kind of supplement should you use? Supplements appear in seed, capsule, and powder form. 

You grind the dried leaves into powder, and then make them into capsules. The only difference between the two is the extra step of putting the powder into a capsule. They both contain the same nutrients; however, it is easier to consume more powder than capsules, making this powder a an efficient way to receive more nutrients from a single dosage. One tablespoon of powder is equivalent to several capsules.

Moringa Tea Benefits Explained

Hands holding tea.

Woman drinking tea.

You don’t have to consume the powder on its own – that’s boring! There are so many delicious recipes using moringa. You can also add the powder to your own recipes. Some people prefer to maximize the benefits of this superfood through tea and to be honest, it might be the easiest, most hassle-free way to do so.

Generally speaking, tea is a great way to gain the benefits of any plant. When it comes specifically to moringa, moringa tea benefits your antioxidant intake, lowers blood sugar levels, boost heart health, and can also work to aid weight loss. 

Moringa Extract Side Effects Explained

Other than the root of the tree, moringa is generally considered safe to take. Avoid consuming the tree’s root, since it may contain a dangerous toxic substance. There is not enough research about the side effects of this particular superfood. Consuming high doses may cause an upset stomach. Do not take this type of supplement if you’re expecting or nursing; at least not without a professional’s recommendation.

Moringa Vs Matcha: Which Is Best?

Birds eye view of two tea cups with green liquid.

Moringa and matcha tea.

So, we’ve answered the question “what is moringa powder?”, but what about the difference between moringa and matcha? Despite the fact that they are very different superfoods, there is some overlap and therefore understandable confusion between the two. Both of these superfoods are rich in antioxidants. However, if you’re looking to gain essential vitamins including vitamins A and C, moringa might be a better option. In fact, it also contains more calcium and iron than matcha which could be a deciding factor for many.

Nevertheless, the two are pretty much interchangeable in terms of their uses. That being said, matcha powder has a more pleasant flavor than moringa powder, which happens to be one of the reasons why matcha powder gets so much of the limelight.

Conclusion

So, that’s it – the lowdown on the seeds, leaves, powder, capsules, and oil. It is said that Alexander the Great’s downfall began with moringa-fed warriors. Alexander the Great created the largest empire in the world when he was just 29 years old. But his conquest was interrupted when he encountered the ancient Maurian warriors of India. The fierce warriors reportedly obtained their strength from the tea they drank every day when they were on the war front. The tea energized the soldiers to the point that they hardly needed to sleep and rarely got sick. In addition to providing them with strength, moringa relieved their stress and pain during the war.

If it worked for our ancestors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the plant has been doing wonders for so many people today. The medical field seems to be shifting back toward natural remedies. We are rediscovering godsends that have probably been around since creation. Isn’t it amazing that there are so many unique, life-giving plants growing all over the world? And every plant contains unique healing powers and its own variety of health-boosting nutrients. Moringa is as valuable as they come.

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