Originating from Nepal but now found predominantly in the world’s tropical and sub-tropical regions, moringa (Moringa oleifera) is a fast-growing tree capable of withstanding periods of extreme dryness. Numerous parts of the tree are edible, including the roots, leaves, seeds and flowers.
For thousands of years, moringa has been a feature of Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine, which uses phytotherapy, dietetics, aromatherapy, massage and yoga to rebalance the mind and body. According to Ayurvedic tradition, this plant may help to combat more than 300 health problems.
Studies have also shown its extensive use as a medicinal plant in Nigeria (1). In the various world regions where it grows, moringa is also widely used as a seasoning, vegetable or source of plant protein.
For several years now, moringa has been the subject of a growing number of scientific studies, aimed in particular at identifying its nutritional properties.
According to one carried out in 2011, the dried leaves of moringa contain minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. 17 fatty acids have also been identified, α-linolenic acid (44.57%) having the highest value, followed by heneicosanoic acid (14.41%), g-linolenic acid (0.20%), palmitoleic acid (0.17%) and capric acid (0.07%). It also contains proteins, vitamins, β-carotene, amino acids, and various phenol compounds(2).
In fact, for several years, the World Health Organization and the movement Engineers Without Borders have been supporting programmes designed to promote the cultivation of moringa in areas of Africa affected by malnutrition (3-4).
The plant could turn out to be an important resource for the future, not only because of its significant ability to survive dry periods, but also because of its now widely-recognised and exploited nutritional qualities.
Finally, a number of studies are underway to evaluate moringa’s therapeutic potential. According to one such study: “In addition to its water-purifying powers and high nutritional value, Moringa oleiferais very important for its medicinal value”(5).
Moringa is recognised in particular for helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels(6-7), a property that’s particularly useful over the festive or post-festive period. This is a time when we tend to eat more high-fat, high-sugar foods and consume more alcohol, all of which have a significant effect on our blood sugar levels.
To gain maximum benefit from moringa’s effects, choose a high-quality supplement, made from organically-grown leaves, such as the product Organic Moringa leaf Extract.
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