(NaturalNews) The moringa tree is grown in southeast Asia and Africa as a source of food. Tall seed pods grow from the flowers of the moringa tree, giving moringa the nickname "drumstick tree." Moringa leaf is found in some superfood recipes because of its high calcium and potassium content. Moringa leaf tea is used specifically by midwives to increase breast milk production in lactating mothers. According to an Agriculture Business Week news article, moringa leaf has been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for years as an inexpensive health booster for poor countries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes moringa leaf for its high vitamin A, C, iron, and HDL cholesterol levels. The herb has been scientifically proven as an anti-bacterial agent, and as a way to improve glucose tolerance in diabetic rats. Moringa root bark has been clinically demonstrated to be an effective treatment for post-menopausal ovarian cancer, but should not be used by women of childbearing age.
Moringa leaf tincture kills certain bacterial strains in vitro
There is promising potential for both water- and alcohol-based moringa leaf tinctures to fight a variety of bacterial infections, according to a 2011 clinical study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. In this study, scientists soaked paper discs with several strengths of moringa leaf extract. While the moringa leaf tinctures could not kill Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, and Pseudonomas aeruginosa, moringa was found to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Aeromonas cavaie, and Enterococcus faecalis.
Moringa leaf may improve glucose tolerance in diabetics based on a clinical study involving rats
In a 2006 study performed at Tokyo University of Agriculture, moringa was fed to rats with diabetes in order to determine the effects of moringa leaf powder on glucose tolerance. The researchers noted "major" amounts of polyphenols in moringa, especially quercitin and rutin. After ingesting moringa powder, the rats showed a significant reduction in their blood glucose levels as compared to the control groups during a glucose tolerance test. The scientists concluded that moringa did have a positive effect on lowering glucose levels. They believe this is because of the quercitin content in moringa. While insulin levels were not monitored in this study, the researchers remarked that moringa leaf may have a positive effect on insulin secretion and action.
Moringa root bark kills ovarian cancer cells due to unique phytochemicals
Medscape General Medicine reported a study involving moringa root's effectiveness against post-menopausal epithelial ovarian cancer. This cancer is caused by a combination of failing ovaries and an over-productive pituitary gland. The only herb which has been clinically demonstrated to have a positive effect on female reproductive system cancer is moringa oleifera Lam, because it has both female hormonal and anti-tumor properties. Scientists chose to test moringa root bark because it contains two more alkaloid chemicals than does the rest of the plant. The researchers in this study believe it is these chemicals in the moringa root bark which affect sex hormones. Traditional herbal medicine bears this belief out.
Moringa root bark is not a "female tonic" herb. It should not be taken by women during their childbearing years, because it is an abortifacicant. The plant chemicals in moringa root cause the fertilized egg not to be able to attach to the lining of the uterine wall. Traditional literature indicates that moringa root was used as a permanent form of birth control. Moringa root bark can cause violent and potentially fatal uterine contractions. However, moringa leaf is a wonderful herb to help breastfeeding mothers produce more milk for their babies.
Pubmed.gov, "In vitro antibacterial effect of aqueous and ethanolic Moringa leaf extracts." J. R. Peixoto, et al. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine March 2011; 4(3): 201-4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21771453
Pubmed.gov, "Effects of Oral Administration of Moringa oleifera Lam on Glucose Tolerance in Goto-Kakizaki and Wistar Rats." N. Moussa, et al. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, May 2007; 40(3): 229-233. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2275769/