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  • Discover The Miraculous Benefits of Moringa: Ayurvedic Insights

    Discover The Miraculous Benefits of Moringa: Ayurvedic Insights

    The Ayurveda Experience August 18, 2023

    Moringa, also known as the ‘drumstick tree', is widely promoted as a superfood because of its rich nutritional profile. In the present world, natural products occupy a significant position in the market since they provide additional health benefits over and above what conventional nutrients do. Moringa oleifera is one such tree with remarkable nutritional and medicinal qualities. It is a rich source of macro and micronutrients as well as additional bioactive compounds that are essential for the body's normal function and the prevention of particular illnesses. 

    Even though moringa has only recently gained popularity as a superfood, it has been a part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine for ages and is still considered a key ingredient in many Ayurvedic preparations. 

    Many cultures throughout the world have used moringa as part of traditional home remedies. 

    Moringa is known as shigru, shobhanjan, or sahijan in Ayurveda. Other common names for moringa are horseradish tree and ben oil tree. Let's delve into the intriguing world of benefits that the miracle tree, moringa is revered for, in the ancient texts of Ayurveda! 

    Moringa a miracle tree1 

    The moringa tree grows swiftly and can be propagated through seed or branch cuttings. The tree leaves are magnificent, even though they grow rapidly on poor soil. Additionally, the tree can survive in hot, dry areas and is drought resistant. This tree's edible parts, which include its leaves, fruits, flowers, and immature pods, are used in many tropical and subtropical nations' traditional meals. Due to the numerous vital phytochemicals that are found in moringa's leaves, pods, and seeds, it has a high nutritional value. 

    Moringa leaves are a good source of natural antioxidants and are an excellent source of carotene, protein, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Moringa is revered for its use in the treatment of malnutrition. It is in fact claimed to contain 17 times more calcium than milk, twice as much vitamin A as carrots, nine times as much iron as spinach, four times as much fiber as oats, and four times as much potassium as bananas. Also, moringa's easy cultivation makes it a long-term solution to malnutrition. What's more interesting is that not only the leaves but almost every part of the moringa plant has its own nutritional value. 

    Moringa across various cultures2 

    In the ancient world, moringa held immense value and was utilized in various fascinating ways. During the era of the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, the seeds of moringa were treasured for their ability to yield edible oil. These resourceful civilizations understood the potential locked within these tiny seeds and skillfully extracted the oil for an array of purposes. 
    In the realm of ancient India, moringa took on a different role altogether. Legends speak of Maurian warriors who were fortified with the power of Moringa leaf extract on the front lines of battle. This extract was believed to bestow upon them enhanced stamina and strength, granting them an edge over their adversaries. The leaf extract became a secret weapon, providing these brave soldiers with an extra boost in their quest for victory.  

    Importance in daily life1 

    1. Protein, commonly referred to as a "building block unit," is a crucial macronutrient for the human body. Protein comprises both essential and non-essential amino acids. While the body may synthesize the non-essential amino acids, the essential amino acids must be obtained from food sources that may include eggs, chicken, fish, and red meat, among others. According to the American Dietetic Association and the Dieticians of Canada, those who engage in regular physical activities require 1.3 g-1.7 g protein per kg of body weight to strengthen their body muscles. It may present a challenge for vegetarians to look for a source of protein because the majority of plant-derived proteins lack the entire essential amino acid balance. In that situation, moringa leaf powder could be an excellent substitute for the supply of protein and amino acids. 
    2. The animal body needs a variety of micronutrients in addition to macronutrients to stay alive. When acting as a carrier or taking part in the breakdown of macronutrients, these micronutrients are crucial for the body. Vitamins are essential since they aid in the energy processing of the animal body. Moringa oleifera contains vitamins such vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. As a result, processed foods made from Moringa or Moringa leaf powder may be a good source of vitamins. Aside from vitamins, Moringa contains a variety of minerals that are necessary for physiological growth. Dried Moringa powder is an excellent source of calcium, which is one of the most crucial elements. It has 17 times the calcium of milk.  
    3. Moringa tree can be thought of as a wonderful source of antioxidants because it has a higher production capacity than typical plant-derived sources. Moringa leaf powder can provide protection from oxidative stress due to its antioxidant capabilities. 
    4. Research has found that moringa is crucial for managing diabetes. Moringa leaves have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels within minutes of consumption.
    5. Moringa leaves and immature pods are extensively used in South Indian dishes like sambar and chutney (a type of freshly prepared sauce). Calcium is one of the minerals found in moringa that are necessary for growth and development. The powdered moringa leaves contain even more calcium than milk. In comparison to beetroot and spinach, it also contains a huge amount of iron, making it a potential alternate source for the treatment of anemia. In relation to oranges, carrots, yoghurt, and bananas, it also includes vitamin C, vitamin A, protein, and potassium. Zinc is necessary for DNA and RNA production, as well as for the healthy development of sperm cells. The zinc requirement for the day is also met by moringa3

    Besides these benefits, moringa leaves, flowers, and immature pods are also used for culinary purposes in different parts of the world. Its roots are also considered edible in some countries.Moringa can be used in making curries, vegetable soups, lentil soups, and sauces. It can be used as an independent vegetable or mixed with other vegetables. It can also be used for making sandwiches, bakery goods, and bread. 

    The moringa seeds even make for a delicious fried snack.  

    1. Moringa is also used for water purification. Cationic proteins with low molecular weight (MOCP) have been extracted from moringa These proteins are very useful in water purification because of their potent antimicrobial and coagulant properties.4

    Botanical properties of moringa5 

    The moringa tree is a fast-growing deciduous, perennial that grows to a height between 20-40 feet. Its stem is brittle with a whitish-grey bark. The tree has fragile branches. Its leaves are built feathery (foliage of tripinnate leaves) with opposite, ovate leaflets. 

    Flowers are yellowish white in color and have a fragrant odor. The fruit is a hanging three-sided brown capsule. Its size can vary between 8-18 inches. 

    Fruits bear dark brown or white globular seeds. The seeds have three whitish papery wings. 

    Many people grow this wonderful tree as fencing and around their homes. If you are interested in planting this tree, here are some key pointers to keep in mind. 

    Planting a moringa tree 

    Moringa can withstand a variety of environmental conditions. In the shade, it can withstand extremely hot temperatures as well as a little frost. The drought-tolerant tree thrives in regions with yearly rainfall amounting between 250 to 1500 mm. Although it tolerates clay, it likes a sandy loam or clay-like soil with good drainage. Direct planting transplanting or using hard stem cuttings are all ways to plant moringa6. 

    Moringa is mainly grown in tropical, subtropical, and semiarid areas. The moringa tree grows best in the temperature range of 77 to 95 °F (approximately 25 to 35°C) and under direct sunlight. 

    The tree requires slightly acidic to alkaline soil (pH 5.0–9.0). 

    This plant grows quite fast and does not require a lot of care. 

    Ayurvedic properties of moringa2 

    Moringa is shown to have a katu and tikta rasa dominance. It also has a strong presence of the traits laghu (light), theekshna (sharp), and rooksh (dry). It primarily has a hot potency. Moringa works specifically to balance the Kapha and Vata doshas. Moringa has also been shown to increase a person's Pitta and rakta. 

    It pacifies excessive Kapha dosha due to its bitter taste, and light, dry, and sharp qualities. It pacifies Vata dosha due to its hot potency. 

    Moringa contraindications and precautions  

    Moringa increases Pitta dosha and vitiates blood. Using moringa is contraindicated in bleeding disorders and for people with a Pitta prakriti (prakriti means physical constitution). 

    Also, the excessive intake of moringa may lead to a burning sensation in the body and other symptoms caused by an aggravated Pitta dosha.  

    Risk Factors1 

    We all know that moringa is a nutritional miracle tree, but it also exhibits certain side effects: 

    (1) Pregnancy: Although moringa leaves alone are sufficient to meet the daily iron and calcium needs, it can occasionally possess antifertility characteristics.  

    (2) Although moringa leaves help the thyroid function, they can interfere with the use of other thyroid medications during treatment.  

    (3) Diabetic medications: While moringa leaves efficiently lower blood sugar, they can result in too-low blood sugar levels.  

    (4) Blood pressure: Although moringa is used to lower blood pressure, using it with other blood pressure-lowering medications could cause your blood pressure to drop too drastically. 

    References 

    1. Moringa oleifera is a Prominent Source of Nutrients with Potential Health Benefits (hindawi.com)
    2. (PDF) Pharmacological aspects of Sigru (Moringa Oleifera Lam.) in view of Ayurveda (researchgate.net)
    3. Moringa Tree, Gift of Nature: a Review on Nutritional and Industrial Potential | SpringerLink
    4. Microsoft Word - Amagloh and Benangdoc (allaboutmoringa.info)
    5. a-study-of-shigrumoringa-oleifera-lam-in-various-nighantu--review_October_2020_7730462115_4101147.pdf (worldwidejournals.com)
    6. (PDF) Moringa: The herbal gold to combat malnutrition (researchgate.net)

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