The Benefits and Uses of Moringa
Posted on 20 March 2015 by Leonie Satori
Used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, the plentiful Moringa oleifera tree provides medicinal and nutritional benefits from almost every aspect of the plant. Native to the sub-Himalayan range and commonly cultivated in India and Burma, Moringa is becoming increasingly popular as a medicinal plant and now grown in other parts of the world.
Moringa, or Shigru as it is known in Ayurvedic medicine produces substantial spinach-like leaves that can be used in curries, drank as a tea or dried and ground into a powder to consume as a nutritious plant based food. It is in these leaves that much of the nutrition is contained, including good amounts of proteins, calcium, iron and vitamin A. Other parts of the plant are used as food or medicine for various purposes, the pods of the tree are a delicious vegetable that can be prepared with rice or other vegetables, the root of the tree is used in cooking similarly to horseradish and the seeds of the plant are used to make a an oil which was traditionally used to apply for symptoms of rheumatism or gout. The flowers, fruit and bark have also been used traditionally and throughout history for various health conditions.
In Australia, unless you are fortunate enough to have a Moringa tree (commonly known as a Drumstick tree) growing in your yard, most of us only have access to the moringa oil, leaves and the powdered leaf. Western herbal medicine recognises Moringa oleifera leaf powder for its benefit for the cardiovascular system, among many other qualities it is known as a circulatory stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial and antifungal. The combined and numerous qualities of this herb makes it an ideal medicinal food to be included for those with chronic health conditions associated with the indulgent Western lifestyle including type two diabetes, high blood pressure and numerous digestive and inflammatory conditions.
The superior nutritional breakdown of this herb and the mild and palatable taste of this herb also make it an ideal medicinal food to be added to the diet for those with low energy, for vegetarians and also as traditionally used, for nursing mothers.
At Sundala Health we have dried organic moringa leaf in our herbal dispensary, while this is great used as a tea, personally I prefer to eat the herb as part of a meal, have a look at my recipe for Spicy Lentil Curry with Moringa Leaf for some ideas for how to use the dried leaf in cooking. We also stock organic moringa powder, this almost sweet smelling green powder slides easily into green smoothies and can also be used to give a good protein and calcium boost to dishes like guacamole. In fact, the more I think about this wonderful herb, the more ways that I come across to use this herb, either as a dried leaf or powder in foods and cooking. If you have any recipes for using moringa leaf or powder in meals or cooking I would love to read about them.
Please note, that some documentation suggests that this herb may not be suitable for use during pregnancy – check with a qualified herbalist before including this herb in your diet.
As always, consult a Naturopath or Medical Herbalist before using herbs to ensure that an herbal preparation is suitable for your health needs.