Malunggay as food supplement, prevention and cureWhat is Malunggay or Moringa oleifera?
Moringa oleifera Lam is the most widely cultivated species of the monogeneric family Moringaceae (order Brassicales), that includes 13 species of trees and shrubs distributed in sub-Himalayan ranges of India, Sri Lanka, North Eastern and South Western Africa, Madagascar and Arabia. Today it has become naturalized in many locations in the tropics and is widely cultivated in Africa, Ceylon, Thailand, Burma, Singapore, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malabar, Malaysia and the Philippines (Fahey, 2005).
Moringa oleifera is considered one of the world’s most useful trees, as almost every part of the tree can be used for food, or has some other beneficial property. In the tropics it is used as foliage for livestock. It is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses. The Moringa oleifera plants is absolutely power-packed with nutrients and minerals, including Calcium, Chloride, Chromium, Copper, Flourine, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Osidum, Selenium, Sulfur and Zinc, Vitamins A, B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folic Acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin E.
What are the medicinal uses of Moringa?
According to Fahey, J.W. (2005), the known medicinal uses/effects of all the parts of Moringa tree are:
Anti-Bacterial • Infection • Urinary Tract Infection • Epstein-Bar Virus (EBV) • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) • HIV AIDS • Helminthes • Trypanosomes • Bronchitis • External sores/Ulcers • Fever • Hepatic • Anti-Tumor • Prostate • Radio Protective • Anti-Anemic • Anti-Hypertensive • Diabetes/Hypogclycemia • Diuretic • Hypocholestemia • Thyroid • Hepatorenal • Colitis • Diarrhea • Dysentry • Ulcer/Gastritis • Rheumatism • Arthritis • Headache • Antioxidant • Carotenoids • Energy • Iron Deficiency • Protein, Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency • Lactation Enhancer • Antiseptic • Catarrh • Lactation • Scurvy and Tonic • Dental Caries/Toothache • Common cold • Snakebite • Scorpion bite • Digestive • Epilepsy • Hysteria • Antinutrietional factors • Abortifacient • • Birth control • Asthma • Cardiotonic • Flatulence • Anti-spasmodic • Rubefacient • Vesicant • Gout • Hepatamegaly • Low back/Kidney pain • Splenomegaly • Syphilis • Typhoid • Earache • Throat infection • Anthelmintic • Skin cancer • Joint pain • Warts • Goitrogen
What are the nutritional values of Moringa leaves?
Nutritional analyses indicate that Moringa leaves contain a wealth of essential, disease-preventing nutrients. They even contain all of the essential amino acids, which is unusual for a plant source. Since the dried/powdered leaves are concentrated, they contain higher amounts of many of these nutrients, except vitamin C.
All Eight Essential Amino Acids
Here is a list of the complete range of naturally occurring amino acids found in Moringa and a brief explanation of why our bodies require them:
* ISOLEUCINE builds proteins and enzymes and it provides ingredients used to create other essential biochemical components in your body, some of which promote energy and stimulate the brain to keep you alert.
* LEUCINE works with isoleucine to build proteins and enzymes which enhance your body’s energy and alertness.
* LYSINE insures your body absorbs the right amount of calcium. It also helps form collagen used in your bone cartilage and connective tissues. And lysine aids in the production of antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Recent studies have shown lysine improves the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth.
* METHIONINE primarily supplies sulfur to your body. It is known to prevent hair, skin, and nail problems while lowering cholesterol levels as it increases your liver’s production of lecithin. Methionine reduces liver fat and protects the kidneys, which reduces bladder irritation.
* PHENYLALAINE produces the chemical needed to transmit signals between your nerve cells and your brain. It can help keep you alert, reduce your hunger pains, plus improve your memory and your mood.
* THREONINE is an important part of collagen, elastin, and enamel proteins. Not only does it assist metabolism, threonine helps prevent fat build-up in the liverwhile boosting your body’s digestive and intestinal tracts.
* TRYPTOHYAN supports your immune system, alleviates insomnia, reduces anxiety, depression, and the symptoms of migraine headaches. It also isbeneficial in decreasing the risk of artery and heart spasms as it works with lysine to reduce cholesterol levels.
* VALINE is important in promoting a sharp mind, coordinated muscles, and a calm mood.
Ten Non-Essential Amino Acids
These non-essential amino acids, which can be manufactured by your body with the help of proper nutrition, are also found abundantly in Moringa:
* ALANINE is important when it comes to building energy in your muscle tissue, brain, and central nervous system. It strengthens your immune system by producing antibodies. Alanine also helps in the healthy metabolism of sugars and organic acids in your body.
* ARGININE has been shown in studies to cause the release of the growth hormones considered crucial for optimal muscle growth and tissue repair. It also improves immune responses to bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells while promoting the healing of your body’s wounds.
* ASPARTIC ACID helps rid your body of ammonia created by cellular waste. When the ammonia enters your circulatory system it can act as a highly toxic substance which can damage your central nervous system. Recent studies have also shown that aspartic acid may decrease fatigue and increase endurance.
* CYSTINE functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution. It can help slow the aging process, deactivate free radicals, and neutralize toxins. It also aids in protein synthesis and presents cellular change. It is necessary for the formation of new skin cells, which aids in the recovery from burns and surgical operations.
* GLUTAMIC ACID is food for the brain. It improves mental capacities, helps speed the healing of ulcers, reduces fatigue, and curbs your sugar cravings.
* GLYCINE promotes the release of oxygen required in the cell-making process. It is also important in the manufacturing of hormones responsible for a strong immune system.
* HISTIDINE is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, ulcers, and anemia. A lack of histidine may lead to poor hearing.
* SERINE is important in storing glucose in the liver and muscles. Its antibodies help strengthen your body’s immune system. Plus, it synthesizes fatty acid sheaths around nerve fibers.
* PROLINE is extremely important for the proper function of your joints and tendons. It also helps maintain and strengthen heart muscles.
* TRYROSINE transmits nerve impulses to your brain. It helps overcome depression; improves memory; increases mental alertness; plus promotes the healthy functioning of the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands.
Is Chlorophyll present in Moringa?
Chlorophyll, the green pigment of plants, is an alkalinizing compound found in plants that helps offset the acidifying effect of the typical high-fat, high-protein Western diet. Because chlorophyll is not known to be an essential nutrient, a “deficiency” does not exist. People who do not eat plenty of green foods lack chlorophyll in their diets.
“Chlorophyll is involved in the most important chemical reaction on earth, photosynthesis. Our lives would not be possible without it. Chlorophyll is the master chemical at the base of all of our food supply and oxygen production.
Chlorophyll, often referred to as “the blood of plants”, is closely related to hemoglobin - the red pigment of red blood cells responsible for oxygen transport in many animals. The main difference between the two molecules is the metallic element in the center. In human blood hemoglobin consists of iron, while in chlorophyll, the metallic element is magnesium. Some people believe that this resemblance helps the chlorophyll to be better absorbed and used to “build up” blood and fight anemia. Some scientists and nutritionists do not believe it is absorbed internally (to reach the blood) but rather that it may act locally to support the health of the mouth, stomach and intestinal tract.
In either case, there is much evidence that chlorophyll could cure or ease acute infection of the respiratory tract and sinuses, chronic ulcers, and bad breath; it also accelerates wound healing and has been shown in animal studies to nullify the cancer-inducing effects of a variety of environmental (including food) toxins. Other studies have shown that chlorophyll supports liver function and detoxification of the body.
Moringa is one of the very few foods that contain chlorophyll together with so many other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins, beneficial fats), and has a great taste. Dark green vegetables and herbs like Romaine lettuce, spinach, or parsley are excellent sources of chlorophyll, but they do not provide many of the other nutrients of Moringa.”
by Monica Marcu, Pharmagologist
Do Moringa leaves have any negative side effects?
Moringa leaves have not been found to be toxic. Very extensive health and safety studies conducted at the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Centre in Ghana determined that Moringa leaf powder has no toxic elements. Absolutely no adverse side effects from even the most concentrated Moringa diet were observed.
Is it safe to feed pregnant women and infants with Moringa leaf powder?
In 1997-98, Alternative Action for African Development (AGADA) and Church World Service tested the ability of Moringa leaf powder to prevent or cure malnutrition in pregnant or breast-feeding women and their children in southwestern Senegal. Malnutrition was a major problem in this area,
with more than 600 malnourished infants treated every year. During the test, doctors, nurses, and midwives were trained in preparing and using Moringa leaf powder for treating malnutrition. Village women were also trained in the preparation and use of Moringa leaf powder in foods.
This test found the following effects to be common among subjects taking Moringa leaf powder:
* Children maintained or increased their weight and improved overall health.
* Pregnant women recovered from anemia and had babies with higher birth weights.
* Breast-feeding women increased their production of milk.