Moringa is a tropical and subtropical plant mostly found in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a fast growing and drought resistance plant. The most common species of moringa is Moringa oleifera. It is also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree and benzolive tree. The moringa tree is found almost all the rural areas in Bangladesh. It is packed with different types of vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients. Every part of this tree has some medicinal benefits. For this reason sometimes it is called ‘panacea’. Most importantly, the disease preventing property of this tree make it very popular among the mass people. It contains fiber, protein, vitamin-C, vitamin-A, vitamin-E, vitamin-D, vitamin-K, vitamin-B1, B2, B3 and B6, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium etc. It also contains some important phytonutrients such as glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, moringine, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol, niazimicin, chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, lutein, phytosterols like stigmasterol, sitosterol and kampesterol etc. Moringa is said to provide 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach. This is why it is a natural Superfood. Now let’s have look on the medicinal benefits of moringa-
Uncontrolled cell growth is termed as cancer. It is caused by the reactive oxygen species (ROS) which is produced in the body due to free radical stress. Moringa contains anticancer compound such as glucosinolates, benzyl isothiocyanates, niazimicin that scavenge reactive oxygen species thus helps to prevent cancer.
Quercitin and some other phenolics helps to cure type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Diabetes leads to several complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and atheroscelorosis. Moringa can also mitigate these complications.
Boosts immune system
Moringa is rich in vitamin-C which is a mandatory component to boost immune system. Amid this pandemic, moringa can be an easily accessible and available vegetables to boost immune system.
Children deprived of breast milk are more likely to develop malnutrition. To initiate sufficient milk production a hormone namely estrogen is needed. Phytosterol act as a precursor for reproductive hormone production. Moringa is rich in phytosterol like stigmasterol, sitosterol and kampesterol which are precursors for hormones. These precursors increase estrogen production which in turn enhance breast milk production. Thus sufficient amount of milk is produced to fed the baby and prevent malnutrition.
Iron and folic is essential to prevent anaemia. Moringa is rich in these nutrients and one of the best supplement to prevent anemia especially in pregnant women.
Delay ageing process
Moringa tree contains cytokinin plant hormones called zeatins and dihyrozeatins. These compound delay the ageing process in human body.
Control blood pressure
Beta sitosterol, a plant sterol has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol thus reducing blood pressure.
Healthy liver and detoxification
Study suggests that chlorophyll improve liver function and helps the detoxification process of human body. Moringa contains an abundance of chlorophyll, which works synergistically with the other nutrients to help support healthy liver function. It also aid in the detoxification process of human body.
Lutein, a carotenoid present in moringa helps to improve eye health and reducing the risk of macular degeneration.
Strong and healthy bone
Moringa contains abundant calcium which is essential for the stronger and healthy bone. Sometime it also prevent osteoporosis.
All these nutritional and medicinal properties make it a ‘Miracle Tree’. So everyday should include moringa in their every day’s diet menu. It will help to boosts the immune system as well as keep them healthy. Thus we will be able fight against COVID-19.
Md Billal Hossen, MS student, Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Technology, Faculty of Biological Science, Islamic University, Bangladesh