Sahijan, Shigru, Moringa, Drumstick are few vernacular names of a common but the most underutilized medicinal tree Moringa oleifera. The most common name of this tree, Moringa is derived from Tamil word murunggai or Malayalam word muringa. It is indigenous to the sub-Himalayas of India and now naturalized to various tropical and subtropical regions of the world viz. Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Philippines, Cambodia, and the Caribbean islands.
In India the pods are mainly used as vegetable. The leaves are occasionally eaten. But the fact is leaves are far more nutritious, healthy, easily available compared to pods. They are good source of proteins, beta-carotene, amino acids, various phenolic and other phytochemicals (alkaloids, anthraquinone, coumarins, falvones, phenols, quininesand and tannins).
Countries like Senegal, Benin, Zimbabwe etc, are using Moringa leaves for programmes to fight malnutrition. The dried leaves powder is given to children and malnourished population to cure anemia, vitamin deficiency and boosting health. The dried leaves powder is sprinkled to every meal to enhance nutrition. The dried leaves are without water content and are high in iron, calcium, beta-carotene and vitamin C.
Perhaps in India, many people may not believe the nutritional benefits of leaves. But the fact is Moringa leaves can be affordable and effective option to fight prevalent malnutrition and diseases.
Moringa is a fast growing tree and can be easily grown. It propagates through seeds and cuttings. You can even grow it in containers and use its leaves.
Scientific name: Moringa oleifera, Moringa pterygosperma Gaertn
Vernacular names of moringa
- Sanskrit: Shigru, Sahijan
- Assamese, Bengali: Sajina, Sajna
- English: Horse Radish Tree, Drum-stick Tree
- Gujrati: Saragavo
- Hindi: Sahajan
- Kannada: Neegge, Nugge Kand Chakke
- Malayalam: Muringa
- Marathi: Sevaga, Segat Sala
- Oriya: Sajina
- Punjabi: Sohanjana
- Tamil: Murungai
- Telugu: Munaga, Mulaga
- Urdu: Sohanjana, Sahajan
- Common names: benzolive tree, drumstick tree, horse-radish tree, kelor tree, mother’s best friend, never die tree, mlonge, moonga, mulangay
Moringa is a time-tested medicine. Moringa Leaves contain amino acids viz. Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Serine and Glycine. These are excellent source of iron, hence recommended during pregnancy. The leaves increase semen. These expel worms and relieve constipation. Leaves are good for eyes and improves vision and increases breast milk production. Moringa leaves reduces blood pressure and are useful in hypertension.
Moringa leaves Nutrition and Benefits
Moringa leaves and Moringa pods are highly nutritious. They contain large amounts of vitamins, proteins and minerals. You may not believe the fact in some parts of Africa, Moringa leaf powder is given to malnourished children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers as a food supplement. This works as miracle and helps to improve their general health. This improves their body immunity to fight repetitive infectious diseases. Its leaves, pods, and flowers all are edible. When leaves nutrition compared gram-for-gram from other food items, they give more than seven times the vitamin C found in oranges, 10 times the vitamin A found in carrots, 17 times the calcium found in milk, nine times the protein found in yogurt, 15 times the potassium found in bananas and 25 times the iron found in spinach. Read more about eating moringa leaves.
The leaves are eaten as vegetable. Medicinally boiled leaves reduces body heat and cures eye diseases and indigestion. The flowers increases fertility in males by increasing sperm production.
100 grams of leaves (Percent of RDA)
100 grams of Pods (Percent of RDA)
0.378 micrograms (47%)
4 micrograms (1%)
0.257 mg (22%)
0.0530 mg (5%)
0. 66 mg (55%)
0.074 mg (6%)
2.2 mg (15%)
0.620 mg (4%)
0.125 mg (3%)
0.794 mg acid (16%)
1.2 mg (92%)
0.120 mg (9%)
40 micrograms (10%)
44 micrograms (11%)
51.7 mg (62%)
141.0 mg (170%)
185 mg (19%)
30 mg (3%)
Iron.36 mg (3%)
4.00 mg (31%)
0.36 mg (3%)
147 mg (41%)
45 mg (13%)
0.36 mg (17%)
0.259 mg (12%)
112 mg (16%)
50 mg (7%)
337 mg (7%)
461 mg (10%)
9 mg (1%)
42 mg (3%)
0.6 mg (6%)
0.45 mg (5%)
Source FDA Database for nutrition US
Ayurvedic Uses of Moringa
In Ayurveda, Shigru or Moringa is used for time immemorial to treat wide variety of diseases. Its roots, bark, leaves, seeds and flowers are used therapeutically.
The roots are bitter and acrid. They have thermogenic, digestive, gas preventing, anti-parasitic, constipating, pain relieving, inflammation reducing, emmenagogue, sudorific, urine production stimulating, ophthalmic, cough relieving, haematinic, stones preventing, alexipharmic, stimulant and vesicant/cause blistering properties.
Roots are used in vitiation of Vata/wind and Kapaha/mucous dosha.
The bark is acrid, bitter, thermogenic, abortifacient, antifungal and cardiac and circulatory stimulant. Bark is indicated in ascites, ringworm and diseases due to vitiation of Vata and Kapha dosha.
The leaves reduces inflammation, relieves pain, kills parasites. They contains many minerals and vitamins and are particularly rich in vitamins A and C. They are useful in scurvy, wounds, tumours, inflammations and parasitic infestation.
The seeds are acrid, bitter, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, purgative, antipyretic and ophthalmic. They are useful indicated in swelling, intermittent fever, eye diseases and nerve pain.
Medicinal uses of Moringa
Moringa has swelling reducing, anti-tumour, anti-cancer, antibiotic and abortifacient properties. It has blood pressure lowering, anti-spasmodic, anti-tumour, cholesterol lowering, urine production stimulating, blood sugar lowering, anti-cancer properties. The leaves extract is given to treat hyperthyroidism and as an anti-Herpes Simplex Virus medicine. Below is given few therapeutic uses of Moringa. Various parts of Moringa are non-toxic and safe to use. They all are edible and used both internally and externally.
Arthritis, joint pain, gout
The leaves are used in combination with black pepper and mango-ginger/curcuma amada. Moringa leaves (200g) are ground and boiled in water till a paste is prepared. This paste is mixed with mango-ginger and black pepper (each 100g). This prepared mixed paste is applied externally on painful joints.
Abscess is a condition in which pus is accumulated in a body tissue causing redness, pain, warmth, and swelling that when pressed feels like it is fluid filled. In such condition, 25 ml juice of roots with1 gm honey, twice a day is given. Another remedy is to drink 14-2 ml of moringa bark decoction with Hingu and rock salt.
In intestinal parasite, 1-2 grams of seed powder with water twice a day is given.
In parasitic infestation, the decoction of bark is given with honey.
Erysipel is an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection, characterized by large raised red patches on the skin. Ayurvedic term for this condition is Visarpa. In this condition, the bark paste is applied externally.
Herpes zoster or shingles
Herpes zoster or shingles is a viral disease characterized by a painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body (left or right), often in a stripe.
In this condition, hot paste of Moringa bark, is mixed with bark of Goolar and Jamum and applied on affected body parts.
Prepare paste of Moringa leaves and mix in curd. Take regularly.
Breathing problems, hiccups
Prepare decoction of leaves and drink few times a day.
The traditional remedy is to make decoction of root peels and drinking it three times a day.
The leaves decoction 100 ml with sugar taken 2 times a day helps to develop appetite.
As a tonic
Moringa leaves oral intake is highly beneficial for overall health. It should be given to growing children for strong bones and optimum growth. It also purifies body and cures malnutrition. The leaves juice, chutney or powder can be taken as tonic.
In pregnancy and breastfeeding, moringa leaves oral intake provides adequate iron, calcium, vitamin A, C and B group vitamins.
Dosage of Moringa for medicinal purpose: Leaf—10-20 ml juice;root bark—2-5 g powder;stem bark—2-5 g powder;seed—5-10 g powder;50-100 ml decoction.
Other health benefits of Moringa
Moringa leaves are highly nutritious and contains several phytochemicals. Phytochemical are bioactive compounds that are found in plants. These active substance protects plant from various diseases and due to presence of such compounds, the plants are useful in preventing and curing ailments. Moringa leaves contain Tannin, Alkaloids, Phytosterols, Triterpenoids, Flavonoids, Saponins, Cardiac Glycoside, Hydroxyanthraquinone, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Amino acid, Fixed Oils and Fats.
Many researches are being done on Moringa leaves to ascertain its therapeutic potential. Surprisingly all such study confirms its immense medicinal properties and supports its traditional uses.
Following is given such medicinal properties that are confirmed by researches.
Moringa leaves are good for heart. They reduces elevated blood pressure.
The leaves are hypolipidemic. They decreases level of lipids in blood. In simple terms lipids are fatty acids and high lipid level in blood implies high amount of cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in blood. Moringa leaves reduces the lipid.
Moringa leaves reduces blood glucose.
Moringa leaves lowers serum triglyceride level and serum cholesterol level.
Researches recommends use of Moringa leaves as supplement in the treatment of different heart related complications due high lipids circulating in body.
The leaves are also recommended for as preventive measure for heart diseases.
Moringa leaves consumption is also beneficial in diabetes. In one such study, two group of people were formed. One group (of 30 people) with normal fasting blood sugar levels (60-120 mg/dl) and another group (13 people) with high blood sugar, fasting blood sugar levels (>120 mg/dl). Both groups were administered Moringa leaves tea. The tea was prepared using dried leaves. One tablespoon of leaves was mixed into a cup of hot water and brewed for 5 minutes and each respondent drank one cup of tea. Results showed that blood sugar levels of people in the normal group were not significantly changed 2 hours after taking the tea. However, for hyperglycaemic individuals, the blood sugar levels significantly dropped after 2 hours. On basis of this study, it can inferred that for managing diabetes and minimising its complication Moringa leaves tea can be an easy and affordable option.
Moringa leaves are tonic. They cures deficiency of iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. For children these are food supplement that helps in better health and growth.
Moringa leaves have strong radical scavenging and antioxidant activity due to which they protect body against several chronic diseases.
Moringa is a non-toxic tree. The leaves can be taken orally for a long time without any fear. These are used in India for hundreds of year. It is a time-tested medicine mentioned in various Ayurvedic treatise. You may include Moringa in your regular diet in form of vegetable, chutney, dry powder or tea. It not only improves health, protects against diseases but also has ability to treat diseases.