The Moringa Solution to Worldwide Malnutrition
Looking at the abundance in the number of different vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as the high concentration of many of these nutrients it is easy to understand why Moringa has been said to prevent 300 diseases.
Moringa is the sole genus in the owering plant family Moringaceae. The genus Moringa in turn is made up of 13 species. The species most common, and which is the main subject of this website. The species called "Moringa Oleifera." Moringa Oleifera is found in many tropical and subtropical regions. Moringa can be grown in the even the harshest and driest of soils, where barely anything else will grow. In fact, one of the nicknames of Moringa is "never die" due to its incredible ability to survive harsh weather and even drought.
Dr. Martin Price did a great job in his book "The Moringa Tree" in reporting the results of the administration of Moringa in various so-called "developing nations," especially the great work done by Lowell F. Fuglia in Senegal. Below are a few quotes from his book on the efficacy of Moringa in combating malnutrition, and in providing nourishment to children and breast feeding mothers.
"Successful treatment of malnourished children has
been well documented. Interviews with men and
women who have made Moringa a regular part of
their diets point out that they have a keen awareness
of improvements in their health and energy.
health post, the pharmacy is now selling Moringa leaf
mothers with malnourished children."
The John Hopkins School Research on Moringa
Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D. , Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences produced a very important research paper titled: "Moringa Oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1." In this seminal work, they began the process of sifting through the scientific work on Moringa, as well as the traditional and anecdotal evidence for Moringa's nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic properties.
In doing this, they found that much of the scientific evidence is beginning to support much of the traditional and anecdotal information. I will first present some of the traditional information on the use of Moringa in treating various diseases and maladies. Following are quotes as well as a chart given in the John Hopkins research paper on the scientific evidence regarding Moringa's nutritional value, as well as its medicinal properties.
"… the nutritional properties of Moringa are now so well known that there seems to be little doubt of the substantial health benefit to be realised by consumption of Moringa leaf powder in situations where starvation is imminent."
(Jed W. Fahey, 2005)
Rhamnose & Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds produced by plants through interaction with the sun.
Phytochemicals and 6 Carbon Sugar Rhamnose: An examination of the phytochemicals of Moringa species affords the opportunity to examine a range of fairly unique compounds. In particular, this plant family is rich in compounds containing the simple sugar, rhamnose, and it is rich in a fairly unique group of compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. For example, specific components of Moringa preparations that have been reported to have hypotensive, anticancer, and antibacterial activity include 4-(4'-O-acetyl--L-rhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, 4-(-Lrhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, niazi mycin, pterygospermin ], benzyl isothiocyanate, and 4-(-L'Rhamnopyranosyl Oxy) benzyl glucosinolate . While these compounds are relatively unique to the Moringa family, it is also rich in a number of vitamins and minerals as well as other more commonly recognized phytochemicals such as the carotenoids (including -carotene or pro-vitamin A).
Antibacterial & Antifungal
Moringa preparations have been cited in the scientific literature as having antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic activities, as well as having considerable efficacy in water purification by occlusion, sedimentation, antibiosis and even reduction of Schistosome cercariae titer.
Subsequent elegant and very thorough work, published in 1964 as a PhD thesis by Bennie Badgett (a student of the well known chemist Martin Ettlinger), identified a number of glycosylated derivatives of benzyl isothiocyanate (e.g. compounds containing the 6-carbon simple sugar, rhamnose) . The identity of these compounds was not available in the refereed scientific literature until "re-discovered" 15 years later by Kjaer and co-workers. Seminal reports on the antibiotic activity of the primary rhamnosyl ated compound then followed, from U Eilert and colleagues in Braunschweig, Germany. They reisolated and confirmed the identity of 4-(-L-rhamnopyranosyl benzyloxy) benzyl glucosinolate and its cognate isothiocyanate and verified the activity of the latter compound against a wide range of bacteria and fungi.
This is clearly the area in which the preponderance of evidence - both classical scientific and extensive anecdotal evidence - is overwhelming. The scientific evidence has now been available for over 50 years, although much of it is completely unknown to western scientists. H. pylori is an omnipresent pathogen of human beings in medically underserved areas of the world, and amongst the poorest of poor populations worldwide. It is a major cause of gastritis, and of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and it is a major risk factor for gastric cancer (having been classified as a carcinogen by the W.H.O. in 1993). Cultures of H. pylori, it turned out, were extraordinarily susceptible too, and to a number of other isothiocyanates. These compounds had antibiotic activity against H. pylori at concentrations up to 1000-fold lower than those which had been used in earlier studies against a wide range of bacteria and fungi. The extension of this nding to human H. pylori infection is now being pursued in the clinic, and the prototypical isothiocyanate has already demonstrated some efficacy in pilot studies. (Jed W. Fahey, 2005)
Since Moringa species have long been recognized by folk medicine practitioners as having value in tumour therapy, we examined compounds for their cancer preventive potential. Recently, these compounds were shown to be potent inhibitors of phorbol ester (TPA) -induced Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation in lymphoblastoid (Burkitt's lymphoma) cells. In one of these studies, they also inhibited tumour promotion in a mouse two-stage DMBA-TPA tumour model.
In an even more recent study, Bharali and colleagues have examined skin tumour prevention following ingestion of drumstick (Moringa seedpod) extracts. In this mouse model, which included appropriate positive and negative controls, a dramatic reduction in skin papillomas was demonstrated. Thus, traditional practice has long suggested that cancer prevention and therapy may be achievable with native plants. (Jed W. Fahey, 2005)
"…antibiosis and cancer prevention as just two examples of areas of Moringa research for which the existing scientific evidence appears to be particularly strong."
(Jed W. Fahey, 2005)
Malnutrition & Disease
Many people, believe it or not, are not fully aware of the connection between malnutrition and disease. The body intrinsically has the ability to both prevent disease as well as ght disease as long as it has the nutrients it needs to do this work. The body, its organs and its immune system need certain nutrients in certain amounts in order to function properly.
If the body does not have these nutrients, it full and most ecient functioning is deteriorated and even loss. For instance, many children in the so-called "developing nations" suer from night blindness and other eye diseases and aictions simply because they do not get enough vitamin A. Due to the high vitamin A content of Moringa, this could be alleviated by mixing a few tablespoons of Moringa into the food of these children. Many disease and aictions aecting millions of people, especially children around the world due to nutrient poor diets can be alleviated by just adding Moringa leaf powder to their foods.
"…In many cases, published in-vitro (cultured cells) and in-vivo (animal) trials do provide a degree of mechanistic support for some of the claims that have sprung from the traditional medicine lore. For example, numerous studies now point to the elevation of a variety of detoxication and antioxidant enzymes and biomarkers as a result of treatment with Moringa or with phytochemicals isolated from Moringa."
(Jed W. Fahey, 2005)