In a nutshell : It is a natural food supplement that contributes to general health and well-being ; it is also considered a superfood. Consumed as a fresh vegetable and as a medicinal plant in many countries, moringa oleifera leaves are a very rich source of various minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and of vegetable protein. They also have a detoxifying effect, help to maintain low levels of blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol and strengthen the immune system. Ground into a powder, they become a concentrate of nutrients which can easily be added to anyone’s diet to increase its nutritional value.
The rest of this article will give more details on :
- the virtues of moringa oleifera leaf powder
- the nutrients of moringa oleifera leaf powder
If you want to know how to add moringa oleifera powder to your diet, we have another article that you can read here. We also have some recipes with moringa powder on our blog. If you want to buy some, we have premium quality and organic moringa powder on our online store.
More about the virtues of moringa oleifera leaf powder
Originally, moringa oleifera has been well known in many southern countries as a nutritious food and as a medicinal plant for centuries. Its leaf powder is also well-spread in some of these countries, such as Thailand, where it is sold in drug stores as a natural medicine and food supplement. It has also been used by some NGOs in Africa within programs against malnutrition.
In the west, moringa leaf powder is used as a food supplement and is frequently cited as a “superfood” (a nutrient-rich food considered to be beneficial to health and well-being). Indeed, with its various essentials nutrients and its detoxifying and antioxidant effect, moringa powder is an interesting addition to any diet. It has the double benefit to provide various essential nutrients and to have many positive impacts on general health.
Scientific experiments on this plant are lead throughout the world in researches against different health issues, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, for example. However, as far as we are concerned, moringa oleifera leaf powder has to be seen as a natural food supplement or as a superfood, but not as a medical treatment. We will also mention its medicinal properties, while insisting on the fact that it is not a medicine and that it does not, in any case, replace a doctor’s opinion or a medical treatment.
Moringa and general health
Taking moringa oleifera leaf powder on a regular basis gives to the body a great deal of essential nutrients and of antioxidants, while helping the body to eliminate toxins, thanks to its detoxifying and diuretic effect. In this way, it contributes to the general health of the body ; good functioning of organs, good digestion, improved blood circulation, strengthening of the immune system… It helps increase the energy without caffeine, quick-burning sugars nor nervous system stimulation. In short, including moringa oleifera to your daily diet can help you to positively influence you health, energy and well-being!
Moringa and balanced, healthy diet
Moringa powder can help those who can’t always have a balanced diet, due to a lack of time or any other reasons, and whose body can be lacking of some nutrients. It is an easy way to add nutritional value to a dish or a drink, and thus to complete and improve one’s daily diet. It is a vegetable source of proteins as well that can benefit vegetarians or vegans. It can also help breast-feeding mothers to increase their milk production.
Moringa, sugar and diabetes
Moringa oleifera leaves positively affect sugar levels in the body. It has been proved that eating them lowers the blood sugar level within three hours. It is an easy and natural way to act against today’s diet, often too rich in sugar, and to prevent the possible health issues that can come from it. Of course, even if taking moringa oleifera leaf powder does help to balance and maintain a low blood sugar level, it does not help against very large amounts of sugar ; a teaspoon of moringa does not “cancel” a bunch of candies!
Moringa oleifera leaves are used in some folk medicines to treat diabetes and related health issues. Several scientific researches were made on rats with type 2 diabetes with very good results. Eating moringa oleifera leaf powder does not, in any case, stand in for a medical treatment, however it can be a healthy and natural “plus” for people affected by diabetes.
Moringa, fatty acids and cardiovascular system
Several researches have shown the beneficial effects of moringa oleifera leaves on the cardiovascular system : lowering and stabilisation of high blood pressure, lowering of cholesterol, lowering of lipid level in the blood, loss of body and heart’s weight, heart and blood system stimulation, anti atherosclerosis effect (acting against the clogging of arteries). It is used in phytotherapy in India to lower obese patients’ cholesterol level.
Moringa, stress and nervous system
Testimonies describe beneficial effects of a regular intake of moringa oleifera leaf powder for people suffering of stress and/or lack of sleep, by helping to appease the nervous system and deepening sleep. Those effects have been scientifically studied and proved using moringa oleifera root extracts, but not leaves.
Moringa and ulcer
Testimonies tell us that moringa oleifera leaf powder can heal stomach ulcer. Scientific experiments showed that it can heal gastric lesions caused by acidity as well as preventing the development of gastric and duodenum ulcers.
Moringa and cancer
Experiments indicate that moringa oleifera leaf powder can be a beneficial factor within the prevention of cancer, a beneficial addition within a medical cancer treatment, and a help in putting up with chemotherapy. Some of its constituents, such as niazimicin, have been proved to have anti-cancer properties and are still under study. Reminder : it does not, in any case, replace a doctor’s opinion nor a medical treatment.
Studies on rats have shown that moringa oleifera leaves can have a positive action in regulating hyperthyroidism.
Studies have proved that consuming moringa oleifera leaves can have protective effects on the liver.
Various part of the tree, including the leaves, have been proved to have antibiotic and anti-fungus properties against some bacteria and fungus. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
More about the nutrients of moringa oleifera leaf powder
We can find so many pieces of information about the nutritive values of moringa oleifera leaf powder on the web, that it is easy to lose track ! The range can go from a few vitamins to impressively long lists of nutrients (so much that we wonder if some really exist…!)
Actually, it is true that nutrients and their quantity will vary between two powders ; because of the soil, the climate, the quality of drying and of the packaging, etc…
Be careful as well with assertions such as “contains 7 times more vitamin C than oranges”, etc… They do not justify their data, vary from an article to another, and are not consistent with proportions. They usually compare 100g of moringa powder with 100g of some food : If it is not uncommon to eat 100g of oranges with one serving, it is something else to consume 100g of moringa powder at once (on top of being discouraged!).
Moreover, moringa oleifera leaf powder should not and can not be the basis of a balanced, healthy diet ; varied and fresh products should. Still, it is a natural and beneficial way to add nutritional value to any diet very easily, and thus to complete and improve it. It has the upside to insure the intake of many different nutrients essential to your health in good quantities through only one food.
Here are more details on the nutrients contained in moringa oleifera leaf powder :
Moringa oleifera leaf powder contains vitamins A, B2, B3, and C. It sometime contains as well vitamins B1 and E (probably according to the quality of the powder).
Moringa oleifera leaf powder contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron and sulphur. It sometimes contains as well manganese, selenium and zinc (probably according to the quality of the powder).
Amino acids and vegetable proteins
Moringa oleifera leaf powder contains all the essential amino acids in important quantities, which makes it a good source of vegetable protein.
Amino acids are molecules that play an essential role in the formation of proteins in the body. There are essential amino acids (the body can not synthesise them, they have to be provided through food), semi-essential (necessary only for new born babies) and non essential (synthesised by the body from other amino acids, vitamins and carbohydrates). Moreover, each amino acid plays a particular role and therefore has its own importance.
Amino acids are present both in vegetable and animal proteins ; however, the richest food in amino acids is from animal origin. Some plants are rich in amino acids as well but usually not of all the essential ones ; that is why it is important to match them with a complementary plant, in order to have enough of every amino acids (we can think of traditional culinary combinations that have this purpose, such as rice-lentils in India, corn-beans in the Andes, etc…).
Moringa oleifera leaves are part of these plants which are particularly rich in many natural antioxidants ; they contain vitamins A, C and E, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, sulphur, magnesium and many phytochemical compounds.
Antioxidants inhibit destructive effects of free radicals and therefore give protection against infections and degenerative diseases. They are often described as anti-aging and anti-cancer agents, but several researches on their effects on health have different results when synthetic food complement are involved. However, results all agree on the fact that daily intakes of natural antioxidants through fruits, vegetables and plants are highly beneficial to health.
Omega 3 et omega 6
Moringa oleifera leaves are rich in α-linolenic acid, or omega 3 ALA (omega 3 from vegetable source). They also contain in lesser quantity some linoleic acid, or a type of omega 6.
Omega 3 and 6 are fatty acids which are essentials to the good functioning and health of the human body ; however, their dosage have to be balanced, otherwise the opposite effect happens and the risks of obesity and cardiovascular diseases increase. The ideal ratio is five omega 6 for one omega 3, but in our societies, the ratio varies from ten to thirty omega 6 for one omega 3!
In moringa oleifera leaves, there is far more omega 3 than omega 6 ; therefore it is a good way to favourably balance the ratio between omega 3 and 6.
For more details on the quantities of nutrients contained in moringa oleifera leaf powder, we created this chart compiling two sources of information. The first source is from Lowell J. Fuglie’s book, one of the first to have used moringa oleifera powder in Africa. We chose this source as a reference, since it is the most widely used and is often taken up in serious books ans articles. The second one is a study by Mélanie Broin, for which she collected a vast range of data and calculated their average values. We chose it as a valuable comparative source to Fuglie’s data, allowing to picture the actual variations that can exist between different powders. Those are due to the quality of the soil, the climate, the drying and conditioning of the powder, fertilizers, etc…
Fuglie's study : Analyses were conducted by Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association and were sponsored by CWS and the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester. Broin's study : Sponsored by the Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et rurale (CTA) ACP-UE.