Super Green Wonders: The Health Benefits of Moringa
Can you imagine a connection between the mighty Chandragupta Maurya, who defeated the Macedonian general left in place by Alexander the Great, and an unassuming tree with delicate branches and feathery foliage? According to legend, the Ancient Mauryan warriors of India were fed an extract from moringa leaf that was said to give them more energy and strength while relieving them of the stress and pain of warfront. Let’s take a deeper look at this amazing species of flora and what makes it so powerful.
Moringa is native to the foothills of the Himalayas in north-western India. There are 13 varieties of moringa. The most common one is Moringa oleifera, popularly known as “miracle plant” because of its incredible nutritional and medical properties. This tree is considered a panacea; absolutely every part is edible– the leaves, roots, seedpods, seeds, and flowers. Even the bark, stem, resin and sap are considered to have healing properties and are used in traditional medicine.
Owing to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antidepressant and anti-diabetic properties, moringa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to treat and cure over 300 diseases. There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used it.
The various parts of this plant are rich in proteins and overflowing with vitamins A, B, C, D, and E and minerals including potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. It is a source of good cholesterol which is known to protect against cardiovascular diseases. It contains a whopping 92 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatory agents and 18 amino acids.
The numerous health benefits of eating Moringa includes boosting immunity, protecting the cardiovascular system and liver, treating cancer, fighting against bacterial diseases, making bones healthier, protecting against kidney disorders, reducing hypertension, improving eye health and treating a number of other conditions like stomach disorders, mood disorders, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and anaemia.
Moringa can be effective in preventing weight gain. Its high fibre content helps with efficient digestion, stimulates metabolism and converts food into energy, without being stored as fat.
The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant. They are often cooked like spinach and can be used in any dish including salads, sandwiches and lasagnas well as for making herbal tea. For long-term use and storage, moringa leaves are dried in shade and powdered. The powder can be used to make soups, sauces, smoothies and tea.
The long, slender seedpod called drumstick is a culinary vegetable stewed in curries and dishes like sambar, pickles and some non-vegetarian curries as well. Mature seeds are eaten like peas or roasted like nuts.
Remarkably, even the roots of the moringa have a culinary use – they are shredded to prepare a condiment, similar in flavor to horseradish, but it should be consumed in limited amounts.
Moringa flowers, fragrant with creamy white petals, are considered a delicacy in many cuisines. They are mixed in salads or fried and added to soups, pasta, pizza and omelettes. Moringa tea is prepared by allowing the flowers to steep in hot water for a few minutes and sweetening with honey. It has general health benefits and also boosts the immune system.
Moringa honey is the mono-floral honey collected by honey bees from the nectar of moringa flowers. It is a delicious, sweet, golden-brown honey with distinctive flavour, attributed with all the nutritional benefits of Moringa.
For an overall upgrade to your lifestyle, try incorporating some form of this miracle food in your diet – you can expect more energy and concentration, better immunity and deeper sleep, just for starters.
But there’s more! Moringa is not just for eating purposes. This may sound surprising, but the oil crushed from its seeds is widely used for skin and hair care. Keep an eye out for another post dedicated to its cosmetic benefits!
Blog Contributor: Gopika Chezhian