Moringa, also known as the ‘drumstick tree', is being widely promoted as a superfood nowadays because of its rich nutritional profile. Let’s take a look at moringa’s benefits, uses, and Ayurvedic applications.
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 sahijanin Ayurveda. Other common names for moringa are horseradish tree and ben oil tree.
The botanical name of moringa is Moringa oleifera and it's a part of the Moringaceae family.
Moringa leaves and immature pods are extensively used in South Indian dishes like sambar and chutney (a type of freshly prepared sauce).
Besides these dishes, 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.
Even moringa seeds make for a delicious fried snack. Various parts of the moringa tree are edible but regional uses of moringa vary.
Moringa is also used for water purification. Cationic proteins with low molecular weight (MOCP) have been extracted from moringa seeds.
These proteins are very useful in water purification because of their potent antimicrobial and coagulant properties.1
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.
First of all, 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).
However, the tree can easily tolerate excess temperature, up to 48 °C (approximately 120 °F) and frost in the winter, and a wide variety of soil conditions although it grows best in ample sunlight and heat.
It cannot grow in waterlogged soil or a freezing environment. Moringa can be grown by direct seeding or cuttings. This plant grows faster and requires minimal care.
You can go ahead and plant this tree if your surrounding environment is favorable for its growth.
Sanskrit Synonyms of Moringa With Meanings 2
Rasa or taste: Katu or pungent, tikta or bitter.
Guna or qualities: Laghu or light, rooksha or dry, theekshana or sharp or piercing in nature.
Viryaor potency: Ushna or hot
Vipakaor taste conversion after digestion: Katu or pungent
Effect on dosha: It is Kapha dosha shamak and Vata dosha shamak. This means it pacifies excessive Kapha and Vata doshas.
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.
Read More: Vata Dosha Characteristics
Parts Used Of Moringa 4
Moringa Dosage As Per Ayurvedic Medical Texts
Popular Ayurvedic Formulations Containing Moringa 5
According to the classical Ayurvedic medical text Dravyaguna Vijnana,there are two main varieties of moringa.
The botanical name of the red variety of moringa is Moringa concanensis Nimmo. Its flowers are pinkish-yellow in color.
Besides these varieties, a blue variety of moringa had been also mentioned in the Ayurvedic medical text called Raj Nighantu.
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.
Read More: Pitta Dosha Symptoms
Moringa oleifera is attributed to the presence of functional bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, phytosterols, natural sugars, vitamins, minerals, and organic acids.
Moringa seed oil (yield 30–40 % w/w), also known as “Ben oil”, is used for the production of biodiesel, because of the high content of monounsaturated fatty acids in the form of oleic acid.1
The foliage of Moringa oleifera has been established as a rich source of phenolics and glucosinolates, minerals, tocopherols, carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, ascorbic acid, and folate.1
Studies revealed that leaf of moringa oleifera has a total of 35 compounds.
The important compounds isolated were n-hexadecanoic acid, tetradecanoic acid, cis-vaccenic acid, octadecanoic acid, palmitoyl chloride, beta-l-rhamnofuranoside, 5-O-acetyl-thio-octyl, gamma-sitosterol, and pregna-7- diene-3-ol-20-one.
E-lutein was found to be the most abundant carotenoid found in foliage.7
The stem of moringa oleifera contains alkaloids like moringine and moringinine, 4-hydroxymellein, octacosanoic acid, and β-sitosterol. 7
Whole gum exudate of the plant contains l-rhamnose, d-glucuronic acid, l-arabinose, d-mannose, d-xylose, and d-galactose.
Another important constituent present in gum is leucodelphinidin-3-O-B-D-galactopuranosy (1->4)-O-B-D-glucopyranoside. 7
The plant radical contains 4-(α-l-rhamnopyranosyloxy)-benzyl glucosinolate and benzyl glucosinolate. 7
Spirochin and anthonine found in roots show bactericidal activity.
Beta-sitosterone, vanillin, 4-hydroxymellein, β-sitosterol, and octacosanoic acid are found in the peduncle of the plant, and its crust is composed of 4-(α-l-rhamnopyranosyloxy)-benzyl glucosinolate.7
Flowers contain sucrose, amino acids, alkaloids, and flavonoids, such as rhamnetin, isoquercitrin, and kaempferitrin. 7
Whole pods contain isothiocyanate, thiocarbamates, nitrile, O-[2′-hydroxy-3′-(2′′-heptenyloxy)]-propyl undecanoate, methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate, and O-ethyl-4-[(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)-benzyl] carbamate. 7
Fruits contain cytokines, whereas seeds contain high concentrations of benzyl glucosinolate, 4-(α-l-rhamnopyranosyloxy)-benzyl glucosinolate, 4-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, 4-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy) phenyl acetonitrile, and O-ethyl-4-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl carbamate. 7
|Fresh leaves (value/100 gm edible portion)||Dried leaves (value/24 gm edible portion)|
|Calories||92 cal||49 cal|
|Protein||6.70 gm||6.5 gm|
|Fat||1.70 gm||0.55 gm|
|Carbohydrates||12.5 gm||9.2 gm|
|Carotene (Vitamin A)||6.78 mg||4.54 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.06 mg||0.63 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.05 mg||4.92 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.8 mg||1.97 mg|
|Vitamin C||220 mg||4.15 mg|
|Calcium||440 mg||480.72 mg|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.14 mg|
|Fiber||0.90 gm||4.61 gm|
|Iron||0.85 mg||6.77 mg|
|Magnesium||42 mg||88.32 mg|
|Phosphorus||70 mg||48.96 mg|
|Potassium||0.26 gm||0.32 gm|
|Zinc||0.16 mg||0.79 mg|
|Essential amino acids|
|Histidine||149.8 mg||147.12 mg|
|Isoleucine||299.6 mg||198 mg|
|Leucine||492.2 mg||468 mg|
|Lysine||342.4 mg||318 mg|
|Methionine + Cysteine||117.7 mg||84 mg|
|Phenylalanine Tyrosine||310.3 mg||333.12 mg|
|Threonine||117.7 mg||285.12 mg|
|Tryptophan||107 mg||102 mg|
|Valine||374.5 mg||255.12 mg|
It is always advised to use moringa supplements only after discussing them with your Ayurvedic practitioner or general physician.
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