Health Benefits Of Moringa Oleifera


Moringa Oleifera, often recognized as the "horseradish tree" or "drumstick tree", stands as a crucial arboreal crop thriving in the Himalayan expanse of South Asia within tropical and sub-tropical domains. Additional members of the Moringa genus flourish across Southeast Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean archipelagos, as well as Latin America. Within these indigenous areas, every component of this prized plant—ranging from its roots to its seeds—holds cultural significance and is ingested in traditional forms. A multitude of advantageous medicinal attributes have been ascribed to each plant part, with ongoing extensive research to further illuminate these qualities.

About moringa oleifera

The roots, leaves, and pods of this plant serve as nourishing vegetables. The bark, flowers, nuts, roots and leaves, every component bears advantageous properties when ingested, often in powdered form. The leaf powder is steeped for tea or used in traditional recipes. The seed oil is extracted for use, and the cake left from extraction is also used to purify water.

Traditionally, this rich plant was grown for maternal and child nutrition and to support household income. However, it was soon found that it also prevents soil erosion and windbreaks from an ecological standpoint. Extracted seed oil holds value for various applications, while the residual cake from extraction proves effective in water purification. 

Health benefits of moringa oleifera (MO)

Anti fibrotic

MO emerges as a guardian for our liver, shielding it from harm by its anti-fibrotic attributes. Fibrosis of the liver has been linked to cirrhosis and liver failure necessitating transplantation.1 Additionally, enzymes like aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase indicators of liver damage, have been proven to decrease with Moringa supplementation.2


MO plays a pivotal role in thwarting the development of stomach ulcers owing to its potent antioxidant impact. The process of oxidation contributes to the deterioration of the gastrointestinal lining, culminating in ulceration. Extract derived from MO showcases the ability to not only curtail ulcer formation but also regulate stomach acid secretion, offering a comprehensive approach to safeguarding gastric health.3


MO's seed extract, along with its leaves and extracts derived from both alcoholic and aqueous solutions, have undergone investigation for their effects on various cancer cell lines. This exploration stems from the presence of dynamic compounds such as nitriles, carbamates, and isothiocyanates, which exhibit inhibitory properties against factors fostering inflammation and the expression of cancer cells. For instance, a comparison of the ethanol extract of MO with an anti-cancer drug showed promising results in terms of blood cancer prevention.4 In addition, water-based extract has been proven to be effective against lung and liver cancer.5 A compound called niazimicin in the leaves also acts against the Epstein Barr Virus, which has been linked to several cancers.6 Apart from the targeted therapies, combination with other chemotherapy agents for enhanced results is beneficial.7 Incorporating MO as a nutraceutical within anti-cancer treatments proves advantageous in addressing the condition known as 'cancer cachexia,' characterized by cancer-associated weight loss and metabolic alterations.8


MO's constituents, including thiocarbamates and glycosides, wield an impact on the regulation of elevated blood pressure, a prevalent metabolic repercussion of contemporary living habits. Hypertension, associated with conditions affecting the heart and brain, finds a connection. The ingestion of MO leaves contributes to the reduction of both systolic (the higher blood pressure number) and diastolic (the lower blood pressure number) measurements. However, the precise dosage for achieving this effect remains to be determined.9

Cholesterol-lowering effects

Another major condition leading to heart disease is high cholesterol levels. In addition to its well-recognized antioxidant properties, MO harnesses the power of its phytosterol compounds to effectively lower cholesterol levels. These natural compounds play a pivotal role in impeding the absorption of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract.10


High blood sugar levels not only heighten vulnerability to various infections but also elevate the chances of heart disease and stroke. MO, recognized for its abundance of polyphenols and essential minerals, has garnered recognition as a natural anti-diabetic agent. A recent study conducted in India on individuals grappling with type 2 diabetes and overweight issues validated this concept. The study demonstrated improved control over glucose and cholesterol levels among the participants, affirming the proposed hypothesis.11 Leaf extracts with alcohol have three promising molecules- quercetin, chlorogenic acid and moringinine, which are known to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides) and glucose in animal models.12


Inflammation is an immune mechanism in response to outside stimuli, and it has been linked to various heart diseases, cancers and metabolic syndrome. Factors (like Nitric Oxide, Tumor necrosis factor-α and Interleukin-1β) that trigger a chain of inflammatory events in the body inhibited by MO fruit and root extracts.13,14 This means that MO could potentially benefit individuals suffering from autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.


Asthma, characterized by hypersensitivity, manifests as an excessive immune reaction to various triggers. This immune response is orchestrated by a molecule known as histamine. Elevated histamine levels initiate a sequence of events, leading to the emergence of asthma symptoms. Research has delved into the potential of Moringa Oleifera supplementation to manage this immune response, concurrently aiming to enhance lung functionality.15


MO, traditionally incorporated as a dietary supplement for pregnant and breastfeeding women, has undergone scrutiny for its effects in this context.  It was found that MO improved the haemoglobin status of pregnant women.16 This is due to its effect on receptors that control the uptake, transport and storage of iron in the body.17

Nutrients we can get from moringa oleifera (MO)

  • The herb's potent antioxidant characteristics emanate from its abundant reserves of Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds
  • The presence of rhamnose and sugar-containing molecules within this plant bestows it with anti-cancer capabilities. These compounds are believed to trigger the process of self-destruction among cancer cell lines, thus amplifying its anticancer effects
  • MO leaves stand as a remarkable reservoir of bioavailable iron and folate, substantiating their potential as a valuable daily dietary supplementation source. Alongside, these leaves boast notable quantities of potassium and protein, further accentuating their nutritional significance.
  • Carbamates have antibacterial properties
  • Phenols found in the leaves, scavenge the molecules that cause oxidative damage
  • Steroids found in roots have blood pressure-lowering effects18
Nutritional ContentNutritional valueComparison
Vitamin A4xCarrots
Vitamin C7xOranges

Nutritional contents of MO leaves in relative value.


Nutritional value of MO. MO pods, MO fresh (raw) leaves and dried MO leaf powder contain the following per 100 grams of edible portion:MO PodsMO LeavesMO Leaf Powder
Moisture (%)86.975.07.5
Protein (g)2.56.727.1
Fat (g)
Carbohydrate (g)3.713.438.2
Fibre (g)4.80.919.2
Minerals (g)2.02.3
Ca (mg)30.0440.02,003.0
Mg (mg)24.024.0368.0
P (mg)110.070.0204.0
K (mg)259.0259.01,324.0
Cu (mg)
Fe (mg)5.3728.2
S (mg)137.0137.0870.0
Oxalic acid (mg)10.0101.00.0
Vitamin A – B carotene (mg)0.16.816.3
Vitamin B -choline (mg)423.0423.0
Vitamin B1 -thiamin (mg)
Vitamin B2 -riboflavin (mg)0.070.0520.5
Vitamin B3 -nicotinic acid (mg)
Vitamin C -ascorbic acid (mg)120220.017.3
Vitamin E -tocopherol acetate (mg)113.0
Arginine (g/16g N)
Histidine (g/16g N)
Lysine (g/16g N)
Tryptophan (g/16g N)
Phenylalanine (g/16g N)
Methionine (g/16g N)
Threonine (g/16g N)
Leucine (g/16g N)
Isoleucine (g/16g N)
Valine (g/16g N)


Ways to include MO in our health

MO leaves

  • Can be made into a delicious korma to be eaten with steamed rice
  • Can be added to a pesto sauce to enhance nutrition
  • Boiled leaves turn into a brownish colour. These can be mixed with spices and coarsely ground to use as a marinade
  • Nebedaye (Senegalese) leaf sauce can be prepared and drunk alone or eaten with millet

Dried leaf powder 

  • Made by drying in the shade retains most of the nutritional content. This can be stored in a sealed container
  • Breakfast porridge made with millet or fonio can be supplemented with MO


  • Can be steeped to make tea
  • Can be boiled and seasoned to be used as salad toppings


Need to be cut into 3-5cm length blocks and boiled with lentils and spices. This is a curry made in India and is known as sambar.


Scrape the pod for seeds and wash them. Cook like green peas and have them with millet.


Pickles are usually made of MO roots in India and are known as Sohanjana ki mooli ka achaar. The bark is washed and scraped off since it contains some toxic alkaloids. Then, the root flesh is pickled in spices, salt and vinegar.

The above recipes are the traditional ways of consuming MO- from Africa and India. Nowadays, several variations in technique such as air fryer and baking recipes are available.

For instance:

  • Energy balls made with seed mix, dried fruits and one heaped tablespoon of MO leaf powder
  • Cakes made with ½ cup MO powder for every 2-3 cups of flour. Chocolate cakes mask MO well
  • Pancakes made with about 1-2 tablespoons of MO powder
  • Half a teaspoon added to your morning mocha latte or regular coffee. This needs to be whipped as the powder is insoluble if the milk is added directly on top of it

How much is enough?

The leaves and root paste were traditionally consumed on an empty stomach as an effective contraceptive method after each menstrual cycle. Indeed, inhibition of uterine lining has been observed at doses of 600mg/kg, indicating that supplementation in pregnancy might need tighter regulation of dose.

Generally, taking the leaf extract at over 3000mg/kg body weight (supra- supra-supplementation doses) is said to be toxic to our genes and can affect our biological profile.19

How much is the recommended daily allowance (RDA)?

  • Infants- one tablespoon three times a day (around 25g)
  • Child aged 1-3= 100g per day
  • Women (pregnant and breastfeeding)- six tablespoons per day

Adult recommendations vary according to the specific deficiency and more information on that can be found on this link.


Beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, MO offers robust advantages as a supplement for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children. Backed by thorough research into its bioactive attributes, this plant is deemed safe for daily consumption. Modern cooking methods have simplified the integration of this superfood into our daily meals, making it a worthwhile exploration for all. 


  1. Bataller R, Brenner DA. Liver fibrosis. J Clin Invest [Internet]. 2005 Feb 1 [cited 2023 Mar 7];115(2):209–18. Available from:
  2. Asgari-Kafrani A, Fazilati M, Nazem H. Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of aerial parts of Moringa oleifera in prevention of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Wistar rats. South African Journal of Botany [Internet]. 2020 Mar 1 [cited 2023 Mar 7];129:82–90. Available from:
  3. Verma V, Singh N, Saxena P, Singh R. Anti-ulcer and antioxidant activity of moringa oleifera (Lam) leaves against aspirin and ethanol induced gastric ulcer in rats. In 2012 [cited 2023 Mar 7]. Available from:
  4. Akanni EO, Adedeji AL, Adedosu OT, Olaniran OI, Oloke JK. Chemopreventive and anti-leukemic effects of ethanol extracts of moringa oleifera leaves on wistar rats bearing benzene induced leukemia. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 7];15(6):563–8. Available from:
  5. Jung IL, Lee JH, Kang SC. A potential oral anticancer drug candidate, Moringa oleifera leaf extract, induces the apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Oncology Letters [Internet]. 2015 Sep 1 [cited 2023 Mar 7];10(3):1597–604. Available from: 
  6. Guevara AP, Vargas C, Sakurai H, Fujiwara Y, Hashimoto K, Maoka T, et al. An antitumor promoter from Moringa oleifera Lam. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis [Internet]. 1999 Apr 6 [cited 2023 Mar 7];440(2):181–8. Available from:
  7. Karim NAA, Ibrahim MD, Kntayya SB, Rukayadi Y, Hamid HA, Razis AFA. Moringa oleifera lam targeting chemoprevention. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention [Internet]. 2016 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Mar 7];17(8):3675–86. Available from:
  8. Protective role of Moringa oleifera leaf-based diet on protein-energy malnutrition induced skeletal muscle degeneration. Available from:  
  9. Chan Sun M, Ruhomally ZB, Boojhawon R, Neergheen-Bhujun VS. Consumption of moringa oleifera lam leaves lowers postprandial blood pressure. J Am Coll Nutr. 2020 Jan;39(1):54–62.
  10. Faizi S, Siddiqui BS, Saleem R, Siddiqui S, Aftab K, Gilani A ul H. Isolation and structure elucidation of new nitrile and mustard oil glycosides from moringa oleifera and their effect on blood pressure. J Nat Prod [Internet]. 1994 Sep [cited 2023 Mar 7];57(9):1256–61. Available from:
  11. Kumar PK, Mandapaka RT. Effect of moringa oleifera on blood glucose, ldl levels in types ii diabetic obese people. Innov. J. Med. Health Sci. 2013;3:23-5.
  12. Ali FT, Hassan NS, Abdrabou RR. Potential activity of Moringa oleifera leaf extract and some active ingredients against diabetes in rats. Int J Sci Eng Res. 2015 May;6(5):1490.
  13. Cheenpracha S, Park EJ, Yoshida WY, Barit C, Wall M, Pezzuto JM, et al. Potential anti-inflammatory phenolic glycosides from the medicinal plant Moringa oleifera fruits. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry [Internet]. 2010 Sep 1 [cited 2023 Mar 8];18(17):6598–602. Available from:
  14. Sashidhara KV, Rosaiah JN, Tyagi E, Shukla R, Raghubir R, Rajendran SM. Rare dipeptide and urea derivatives from roots of Moringa oleifera as potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive agents. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Internet]. 2009 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Mar 8];44(1):432–6. Available from:
  15. Agrawal B, Mehta A. Antiasthmatic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam: A clinical study. Indian Journal of Pharmacology [Internet]. 2008 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Mar 8];40(1):28. Available from:;year=2008;volume=40;issue=1;spage=28;epage=31;aulast=Agrawal;type=0
  16. Manggul MS, Hidayanty H, Arifuddin S, Ahmad M, Hadju V, Usman AN. Biscuits containing Moringa oleifera leaves flour improve conditions of anemia in pregnant women. Gac Sanit. 2021;35 Suppl 2:S191–5.
  17. Saini RK, Manoj P, Shetty NP, Srinivasan K, Giridhar P. Dietary iron supplements and Moringa oleifera leaves influence the liver hepcidin messenger RNA expression and biochemical indices of iron status in rats. Nutr Res. 2014 Jul;34(7):630–8.
  18. Liu R, Liu J, Huang Q, Liu S, Jiang Y. moringa oleifera : a systematic review of its botany, traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicity. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology [Internet]. 2022 Mar 3 [cited 2023 Mar 8];74(3):296–320. Available from: 
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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Tejal Parmar

Dr. Tejal Parmar is a physician with a flair for medical writing working in the oncology emergency department. Having worked in both rural and urban clinical setting, as well as in the non-clinical role as a Medical Science Liaison, she can write while striking a delicate balance in scientific accuracy and plain language. She is currently working for her medical registration to practise in the UK.

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