Moringa oleifera is a multi-purpose herbal plant used as human food and an alternative for medicinal purposes worldwide. Moleifera contains essential amino acids, carotenoids in leaves, and components with nutraceutical properties, supporting the idea of using this plant as a nutritional supplement or constituent in food preparation (See Ref. N° 1).
It has 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach (See Ref. N° 1)
Moringa nutritives features
Every part of Moringa oleifera is a storehouse of important nutrients and antinutrients. The leaves of M. oleifera are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. Vitamins like beta-carotene of vitamin A, vitamin B such as folic acid, pyridoxine and nicotinic acid, vitamin C, D and E also present in M. oleifera (See Ref. N° 2).
Phytochemicals such as tannins, sterols, terpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids and reducing sugar present along with anti-cancerous agents like glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, glycoside compounds and glycerol octadecanoate. Moringa leaves also have a low calorific value and can be used in the diet of the obese. The pods are fibrous and are valuable to treat digestive problems and thwart colon cancer.
A research shows that immature pods contain around 46.78% fiber and around 20.66% protein content. Pods have 30% of amino acid content, the leaves have 44% and flowers have 31%. The immature pods and flowers showed similar amounts of palmitic, linolenic, linoleic and oleic acids. Moringa has lot of minerals that are essential for growth and development among which, calcium is considered as one of the important minerals for human growth (See Ref. N° 2).
An overdose of moringa may cause high accumulation of iron. High iron can cause gastrointestinal distress and hemochromatosis. Hence, a daily dose of 70 g of moringa is suggested to be good and prevents over accumulation of nutrients (See Ref. N° 2).
Moringa: properties and benefits
Further studies for the mechanism of action and constituents of the Moringa plant may provide incredible capabilities to develop pharmacological products. The further studies should emphasis on probable mode of action of the isolates and possible structural-activity relationship as the chemical constituents of Moringa oleifera are very well investigated and documented (See Ref. N° 2).
How to consume the Moringa Oleifera?
The fresh leaves can be used in both stews and salads. If the leaves are crushed and strained, you can make a green juice, slightly spicy like radishes. The juice can also be made by diluting moringa powder in water. The dried leaves can also be used for cooking. They are used like bay leaf or other condiments, hydrating during cooking and providing a slight spicy flavor. They work well with recipes for meat, chicken, and stews with potatoes and vegetables. The flowers are also sweet and pleasant on the palate.
The fruit, similar to green beans, contains its seeds, similar to chickpeas that can be eaten. The roots are similar to carrots but spicy. Finally, the oil that is extracted from the seeds is rich in unsaturated acids and can be used to enrich salads or add to stews.
One of the most popular ways to take this plant is the preparation of moringa infusion or tea, usually sweetened with honey. Making moringa tea is an easy task. With 2 g of dried leaf, (or a tablespoon of powdered leaf) it is enough to make an infusion that will be ready after about seven minutes. It is recommended as in other infusions to do it covered. Then strain, sweeten and consume.