Also Known As
Arango, Árbol de las Perlas, Behen, Ben Ailé, Ben Nut Tree, Ben Oléifère, Benzolive, Canéficier de l’Inde, Chinto Borrego, Clarifier Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Indian Horseradish, Jacinto, Kelor Tree, Malunggay, Marango, Mlonge, Moringa oleifera, Moringa pterygosperma, Moringe de Ceylan, Mulangay, Murungakai, Narango, Nebeday, Paraíso Blanco, Perla de la India, Pois Quénique, Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna, San Jacinto, Shagara al Rauwaq, Shigru, Terebinto.
Traditional Use and Health Benefits
Virtually every part of the Moringa tree is claimed to have a benefit whether ingested or used as a topical treatment. Many colloquial local names have been given to this tree to illustrate its multi-purpose qualities in assisting the body in one way or another. Many cultures use the seed, bark, leaf and root for their nutritional and health giving chemical properties. Below are a few of these uses.
Moringa has been used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic Medicine where it is used as a tonic and for detoxification. The primary properties of Moringa leaf in Ayruveda are that it has a pungent, bitter taste with a virtue of heating the body. Ayurvedic texts lists Moringa as having an action which cleanses the liver, improves the spleen, removes toxins from the blood, strengthens the heart, helps in the burning of fat and regulates cholesterol. Through the Middle East, Haiti, and parts of Africa traditional uses of the leaves, flowers and bark range from; rubbing the leaves on the temples to ease a headache, treating stomach disorders with seed oil and Moringa flower tea for a cold remedy.
Moringa leaf is one of the foods that is being used in Africa to help remedy malnourishment due to its very high nutritional content and because the tree itself flourishes in hotter climates. The leaves have a very high protein value in addition to containing a host of Vitamin B complexes including Vitamin B12. Protein and B Vitamins are notable for helping sustained energy levels in addition to keeping bone and muscles vigorous. Moringa leaves could be of interest to athletes and bodybuilders as a supplement because of the protein and B Vitamin content but also because it is low in fat, salt and sugars. Along with the B Vitamins Moringa holds large amounts of Vitamin A, E, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Iron. Both vitamins A & E have antioxidant properties which help keep the immune system, skin and eyes healthy. The high mineral content assists in keeping the bones, nervous system, teeth, blood pressure of the body in good health. All of these constituents combined translates into Moringa being an excellent ingredient that can be utilized by anyone to supplement an already healthy diet.
Folklore and History
Probably the first mention of Moringa in world literature comes from the Ayurvedic text the Charaka Samhita dated to approximately 800 BC. Even though this might be the first written evidence, it is thought that the history of Moringa use stretches much further back to the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks before spreading into Roman society. Archaeological evidence has discovered two ancient sites where Moringa was found. At one of these sites, the Egyptian tomb of Nubian Prince Maiherpri (dated from 1550-1292BC); the discovery of sealed pots of Moringa oil attests to the importance of Moringa as a relatively expensive product used by royalty and other prosperous Egyptian members of society. The other site of importance is Qasr Ibrim at Lake Nasser, also in Egypt, where traces of Moringa fruits were unearthed. According to academics the Moringa tree has been used for a large number of reasons throughout history. Some of these uses include domestic cleaning agents from the juices of the leaves, blue dye created from the bark, fertilizer created from the seed-cake, tannin from the bark and gum for the tanning of animal hides, green manure from the leaves, tree gum from the trunks of the trees and, of course, medicine.
Moringa’s benefits derive from the plant’s high concentration of bio-available nutrients. It has high levels of Vitamin A (beta carotene – ten times the vitamin A of carrots), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherol) and Vitamin K. Dried Moringa leaves also contain high levels of the minerals Calcium (17 times the calcium of milk), Magnesium, Potassium (15 times the potassium of bananas), and Iron (25 times the iron of spinach).
Dried Moringa Leaf also holds plenty of Protein (nine times the protein of yogurt) of which Amino Acids are the building blocks. The following Amino Acids can be found in dried Moringa Leaf Powder: ISOLEUCINE builds proteins and enzymes and it provides ingredients utilized to create other essential biochemical components in the body. LEUCINE works together with isoleucine to produce proteins and enzymes which improve the body’s energy and alertness. LYSINE ensures your body absorbs the correct amount of calcium. METHIONINE primarily supplies sulphur to your body. PHENYLALAINE produces the chemical needed to transmit signals between nerve cells and the brain. THREONINE is an important part of collagen, elastin, and enamel proteins. TRYPTOPHAN supports the immune system, alleviates insomnia, and reduces anxiety, depression, and the indications of migraine headaches. VALINE is critical in promoting a sharp mind, coordinated muscles, and a calm mood.
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