The Health Benefits of Moringa

Image Credit: YIM Hafiz/ Flickr

Is moringa (Moringa oleifera) good for you?

A booth at our farmers’ market is selling moringa. It is a nutrient based plant, exceptional supplementation. It is touted to be “nature’s perfect food.”. Opinions please.

Judy0520 / Originally asked on the NutritionFacts.org facebook page

Answer:

I had to look that one up! I assume they’re talking about Moringa oleifera. There are a few in vitro studies (meaning in a test tube or petri dish outside of the body) showing that leaf extracts may have antiproliferative effects on human cancer cells (as has been shown with cabbage and onion family vegetables–see my #1 anticancer vegetable video). And of course there have been nonhuman animal studies but I was unable to find any clinical studies (meaning done with actual people).

Based on nutrition analyses it appears to be quite nutritious, though: in comparison with other foods, various parts of Moringa oleifera have more iron than spinach (5.3-28.2 mg vs 2.7 mg in spinach), more vitamin C than oranges (120-220 mg vs 69.7 mg per orange), and more potassium than bananas (1324 mg  vs 422 mg per banana). The calcium content in the leaves of Moringa oleifera is also really high but I don’t know about the oxalate content. Bottom line: if it’s comparable in price to other healthy vegetables like broccoli I’d give it a try unless you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, as it has been noted to have antifertility and abortifacient properties.

Image credit: YIM Hafiz/ Flickr

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


37 responses to “Is moringa (Moringa oleifera) good for you?

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    1. Yes there is. I use moringa as my only suppliment to real raw fruits and vegis. If you want to see a Discovery Channel video clip of the moringa plant you can check out my wesite. ryanfalls.myzijastory.com

      1. Reply
        Solysail says:
        October 3rd, 2018 at 5:43 am
        I live in the Philippines. I grow this stuff all around my house. I have been eating the leaves for 30 years. At the age of 68 I feel like the oldest teenager in the world. I drop it in boiling water for 1min. Or add it to other veg in the last min. of cooking. Three times a week I walk into town (45mins.) Load up my backpack and walk home. My blood pressure is 120/65. I went to give blood to help a friend. I was refused…..they said my blood pressure was to low for my age. I said “you are just going by the average expected. I AM NOT AVERAGE I’M VEGAN.

        1. Yay! Vegan!! :D A guy i know walks 5 miles every morning in the summer, has for many years, and his bloodpressure it still really high. He’s not vegan…..

  1. It Has The ANTIFERTILITY AND ABORTIFACIENT Properties ONLY WHEN THE BARK AND THE ROOTS ARE MIXED…but When Referring To The Leaves, You Can’t Get Enough Of The Stuff, It Is Completely Safe And Effective!

  2. I’ve been eating it regularly for a few years; the leaves are easy to find frozen at filipino markets, and sometimes fresh (from Hawaii) though have been curious about definitive nutritional info. I found this so far:

    http://www.edlagman.com/moringa/moringa-fresh-leaf-vs-dried-leaf.pdf

    Other info:

    http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/MagicalMoringa
    http://easyayurveda.com/2012/12/06/moringa-benefits-medicinal-usage-complete-ayurveda-details/

  3. Rich Roll mentioned that “moringa” was in the smoothie he made Tim Van Orden on the October 5, 2014 podcast (Rich Roll Podcast). He is usually pretty reliable, I believe.

    1. Looks like it was an animal model, which doesn’t translate well into human populations. I do know other research on this tree if interested? Thanks for the post Maryanne!

        1. Hey Justin, I have some info on it, kinda a lot bear with me.

          There is an interesting video with clips from researcher Dr. Jed Fahey from Johns Hopkins about moringa tree

          Moringa is often referenced as the “miracle” tree because it’s known to grow extremely well, withstand erratic weather conditions, and produce leaves that contain many nutrients that children lack around the world. The research so far shows that the leaves are safe to consume and are rich in a variety of nutrients (i.e. iron, vitamin C, calcium, zinc). Though the tree is widely used throughout the world, there unfortunately has not been a lot of human studies done looking at the health benefits of the leaves and any potential components that may inhibit absorption of key micronutrients (i.e. phytic acid and oxalates) (see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3290775/). Since it is safe and there are reported benefits to using it, it definitely won’t hurt to try it! In fact worldwide it could be life saving. A student presented data on the use of the moringa tree for improving iron status in Ugandan children at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Research Day, winning an award of excellence (will post link journal link when available). Perhaps the recognition of this research may be important for further research so that better methods for utilizing this plant are established with childhood malnutrition concerns in mind? I think the thing about moringa is not that it is some “superfood”, but that it grows like a weed essentially and you can use so many parts of the plant, unlike other leafy greens.

          The problem is I cannot find it here in the U.S. where I live and and pills and powders are no where near the same as the fresh plant. I would not suggest supplementing it. Hope that helps!

          Best,
          Joseph

          1. We planted these trees in our villages in subsaharan Africa when I was working with the Peace Corps. I added moringa powder (pounded from dried leaves) to my oatmeal. My neighbors made a “tea” from the powder as you would prepare matcha by whisking until you have a foam (though it is obviously totally different nutritionally and tastes nothing like matcha).

            I have found moringa powder at Whole Foods and Lazy Acres here in Long Beach, California now that I am back home and I use it in my morning green smoothie.

            There is a grove in Sherman Oaks, California where you can purchase moringa products and even a tree for yourself!

            1. Hi all, we are a sustainable moringa plantation manager in Central America. Contact us (julio@esentium.com) or visit our site (www.esentium.com) if you’d like more information on moringa or want to purchase moringa products. Cheers!

          2. May i suggest you look at or google Eric Plott you will also find him on facebook he has all the best moringa in you country tell him i sent you

  4. Hi all, we are a sustainable moringa plantation manager in Central America. Contact us (julio@esentium.com) or visit our site (www.esentium.com) if you’d like more information on moringa or want to purchase moringa products. Cheers!

  5. I’ve been taking Moringa Leaf for a couple of months. A recent urine test suddenly showed many oxalate crystals in my urine, which I haven’t had in 10 years. Can we find out if Moringa is high in oxalate?

  6. Though native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas, the Moringa can now be found growing in many different countries, bringing health, nutrition, vitality and beauty to diverse populations from Asia and Africa all the way to the western world. While it is still not found in most regular grocery stores.
    https://www.moringasource.com/

    1. I found no studies specifically investigating Addison’s Disease and use of Moringa. I do think the comment by Moderator Joseph Gonzales is fairly clear why you might want to avoid using supplements of the above. (Perhaps you’ve already read this?) Again, while the plant seems to have promise, supplements have problems associated with them.

  7. Dr. Greger

    I am a huge fan of your work. I found this review that outlines most of the animal and human trial data on Moringa.

  8. I’d give it a try unless you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, as it has been noted to have antifertility and abortifacient properties.

    Moringa plants is basically a staple in the Philippines.Pregnant Filipino women always eat malunggay (moringa) leaves to increase production of breast milk.

    1. So it is of key benefit in populations of starving children AND posesses anti-conception properties. Convenient. Almost like it was planned….

  9. In India, pregnant women are given cooked moringa leaves and fruit (vegetable) to consume, as it is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and folic acid. So I’m not sure where the theory that moringa leaves are antifertility comes from. May be from some other parts of the plant, but not from the leaves and fruit.

  10. I live in the Philippines. I grow this stuff all around my house. I have been eating the leaves for 30 years. At the age of 68 I feel like the oldest teenager in the world. I drop it in boiling water for 1min. Or add it to other veg in the last min. of cooking. Three times a week I walk into town (45mins.) Load up my backpack and walk home. My blood pressure is 120/65. I went to give blood to help a friend. I was refused…..they said my blood pressure was to low for my age. I said “you are just going by the average expected. I AM NOT AVERAGE I’M VEGAN.

  11. I was at a recent VegiFest locally. Moringa was being sold at several booths. Hopefully, the research and safety profile will catch up to the hype eventually. Until then, I personally, am staying away! Consumer Lab, an organization that frequently tests products for lead, cadmium and other contaminants hasn’t tested it either.

  12. I would appreciate any updates on Moringa. We need some real tests to clear up the mixed info on the web. It might be great, but the info put out by suppliers is suspect.

  13. (Im not a native speaker, forgive my English): In regard to the oxalate content, I found this article: Oxalates in some Indian green leafy vegetables. DOI: 10.1080/09637480701791176
    It appears to have a similar (even higher) calcium bounding capacity to spinach, but since the calcium content is much higher there might still be enough calcium left to be absorbed. Plus Moringa “did not contain detectable levels of soluble oxalate, which means that they will not contribute to kidney stone formation if eaten in larger amounts in the diet or interfere with calcium from other foods”.

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