Moringa is a small tree native to tropical Asia, naturalized and cultivated in many tropical countries.
It is a fairly drought-resistant tree, easy to grow, very common in India, all over South-East Asia, the Philippines, Africa.
It is also present in South America and the caribean region.
Its foliage little furnished but elegant, is decorative; many white flowers; the fruit is a long-lasting pod in the shape of a drumstick tree.
The flowers, young pods, twigs and leaves are edible after cooking.
The root's flavor is pungent and reminiscent of horseradish or large radish, the seeds give the oil of Ben, but it is also a plant commonly used in traditional medicine in India.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
All vegetative parts contain a glycoside which hydrolyzes at 100 ° C in the presence of water.
The foliage has a very interesting content in
• proteins : 8 to 9% of the wet weight, approximately 25% of the dry weight,
• vitamin A (almost 2000 micrograms per 100g),
• vitamin C (180 mg per 100 g) and vitamin B1 (220 micrograms per 100 g).
The leaves also contain a lot of calcium, iron and potassium
Remember that other foliage are also very interesting for their protein content, vitamins and minerals and their ease of cultivation, for example: amaranth (Amaranthus sp), polynesian cabbage (Hibiscus manihot), cassava (Manihot esculenta).
A study done in Thailand in 2007 shows that moringa contains antioxidant substances that lower blood lipid levels with anti-atheromatous properties.
Indeed, the administration for 12 weeks of a moringa extract in rabbits artificially fed to be hypercholesterolemic causes a drop in blood cholesterol level which is accompanied by a decrease of about 50 to 86% in the formation of Atheroma plaques.
An effect similar to that of synthetic statins.
A 2007 Japanese study shows that eating Moringa leaves improves diabetes in naturally diabetic rats.
The active compounds appear to be very ubiquitous in plants: derivatives of quercetol, kaemferol, rutin and certain phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid).
The essential oil of leaves and the hydro-alcoholic extract (70% ethanol) of seeds are active on common dermatophytes.
A Chinese study of 2005 confirms the antifungal power of some Moringa extracts against Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Epidermophyton xoccosum and Microsporum canis.
On the other hand, the hydroalcoholic leaf extract is practically not antifungal.
The methanolic extract of the leaves produces in the mouse a slight hypothermia which potentiates the effects of barbiturates.
It is a depressant of the central nervous system which, in animals, causes a certain motor incoordination, with loss of muscle tone (muscle relaxant), reduction of activity and curiosity (foraging, test of labyrinth).
For some authors, this depressive effect of CNS associated with hypothermia is similar to that of reserpine or chlorpromazine.
The seeds contain 15 to 35% of a light yellow, odorless edible oil (BEN OIL)with a mild flavor that has the particularity of being very fluid.
It seems that some African populations have traditionally used crushed moringa seed to purify drinking water.
The cakes resulting from the extraction of the oil can also be used to clarify and purify the water.
It is now known that it is the proteins of the moringa seed which serve to clarify the turbid waters by coagulation and that a very particular fraction, the "FLO" polypeptide has in addition a very powerful antibacterial action.
This moringa extract is as effective and less expensive than the aluminum salts used to clarify and purify water.
The antimicrobial peptide "FLO" is the object of studies: improvement of the antimicrobial power, production by genetic engineering.
The fresh or dry leaves are an excellent dietary supplement particularly recommended for children for its high content of assimilable proteins.
Infant formula formulas (local cereals, palm oil, peanut seeds, iodized and fluorinated salt) have been developed in Africa containing 10 to 20% Moringa leaf powder.
In Asia the leaves and young pods are a popular traditional food (short cooking like spinach or green beans).
Regular consumption of Moringa oleifera leaves is recommended in cases of mild type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and atheroma.
In traditional medicine almost all parts of the tree are used.
Lightly heated leaves are a treatment for "flu-like" fevers.
Cooked, (like spinach or cabbage)they are nutritious, as we have seen, and "refreshing", slightly analgesic (muscular pains, rheumatic).
The aqueous extract is considered anti-fertilizer.
The juice of fresh leaves, crumpled leaves or crushed roots are repulsive and serve:
• as sinapisms in bronchopulmonary affections,
• as anti-neuralgic, bark and crushed leaves applied on the head (migraine, headache, facial neuralgia) or on any painful area,
• to suppress or reduce milk secretion, in friction on the breasts.
One could consider including the methanolic extract of leaves in phytomedicines to treat cases of anxiety with agitation, and perhaps also to calm some migraine pain.
Ben oil (oil of seed), is consumed in India and has long been used in watchmaking to lubricate springs and wheels and in perfumery to fix perfumes by maceration or enfleurage.
Clarification and purification of water
Example 1: Spray 50 grams of Moringa oleifera seeds for one liter of fresh water to be treated. Leave in contact for 30 minutes, shaking occasionally and filter.
Example 2: First prepare a suspension of 2 teaspoons of dried moringa seed powder in 1/4 liter of clear or boiled water, mix well, filter. Add the filtrate to 20 liters of water to be treated by stirring the water for ten minutes, then let stand.
Note that another moringa, Moringa stenopetala, native to Ethiopia, has similar properties: nutritional, dietary, pharmacological and can also be used to purify drinking water.
A TROPICAL MEDICINAL TREE
Moringa is a tropical tree whose foliage and young fruits are edible after cooking, their content of assimilable protein is particularly interesting in infant nutrition.
Seeds contain Ben oil, very fluid and used in watchmaking and perfumery
as well as proteins used to clarify and purify drinking water.
Leaf sap is revulsive and can be used as antineuralgic sinapism.
Some extracts have a soothing, tranquilizing action
but are not yet marketed in Europe.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel