Known as “the miracle tree” or “the drumstick tree”, moringa olifera is native to North India and has been used for its medicinal properties for over 4,000 years. It is super-packed with nutrition with leaves that contain 7x the amount of vitamin C found in oranges, 4x the amount of calcium found in milk, 4x the vitamin A found in carrots, 3x the potassium found in bananas and 2x the protein found in yogurt.
In Europe and North America, dried moringa leaves are often sold as dietary supplements in powder or capsule form; however, much of the vitamin and mineral content is lost in this form, aside from the high vitamin C content. Many who live in developing and famine-prone nations rely on moringa oleifera as an essential source of nutrition. When you see just how densely fortified the plant is, you’ll understand why.
Moringa leaves contain 90 different nutrients, including 36 times more magnesium than eggs, 50 times more vitamin B3 than peanuts, 25 times more iron than spinach and 4 times more calcium than milk. The leaves are also a complete protein source that contain 18 amino acids and at least 46 essential antioxidants, including 272% of the US recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. In addition, the leaves are rich in quercetin, known for lowering blood pressure, and chlorogenic acid, which may help moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
Rich in B-vitamins + Minerals. The moringa greens and pods contain a solid amount of B-complex vitamins, such as folates, vitamin-B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acids. These vitamins work as co-enzymes in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. These greens are also one nature’s finest sources of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, manganeze, zinc, selenium and magnesium. (Yes, all of this exists in one source!)
Warrior Against Cancer. In addition to all of this, moringa oleifera is one of nature’s most powerful cancer fighters. Its leaves contain isothiocyanates, an antibacterial compound that helps your body fight against the bacteria responsible for gastric cancer, as well as an anti-cancer and anti-tumor compound called niaziminin.
In a recent study, moringa was shown to “greatly induce inhibited tumor cell growth and lower the level of internal reactive oxygen species in human lung cancer cells, as well as other several types of cancer cells.” This suggests that the treatment of cancer cells with moringa leaves significantly reduces cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Another study in which moringa was tested on breast and colorectal cancer cells found that “cell survival was low in both cell lines when treated with leaves and bark extracts. A striking reduction of 70-90% as well as cell motility was observed.“
The impressive moringa plant has been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of pancreatic, gastric, colorectal and breast cancer — thus definitely qualifying it as a superleaf.
Where to Find Moringa Oleifera. Fresh moringa pods and greens are found in markets year-round in the tropical and sub-tropical countries of South-East Asia, Philippines, Middle-Eastern, Africa, Caribbean, and in some Central American regions. In the US, the tree grows easily in the Southern states; however, only very few owners grow them in their backyards. Its US consumption is mainly driven by several thousand expatriated communities of Asian and African background who aim to include moringa in their diet.
Dry moringa leaf powder in bins can be found in some specialized stores. Moringa leaves have traditionally been an inexpensive green available in the farmers markets. However, fresh pods and seeds command good prices now, even in native Asian and African markets.
* Discover Kuli Kuli: To learn about the America’s leading source of moringa, check out Kuli Kuli, a company co-founded by Lisa Curtis, a former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa who launched it to help more women in the developing world use moringa as a tool to improve nutrition by eating it locally and earning a sustainable livelihood by selling moringa to the US market.
“Moringa Oleifera Helps Fight Cancer”, article in Daily Health Post.