Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1.
Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center, 725 N. Wolfe Street, 406 WBSB, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21205-2185
Moringa oleifera, or the horseradish tree, is a pan-tropical species that is known by such regional names as benzolive, drumstick tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, mulangay, nébéday, saijhan, and sajna. Over the past two decades, many reports have appeared in mainstream scientific journals describing its nutritional and medicinal properties. Its utility as a non-food product has also been extensively described, but will not be discussed herein, (e.g. lumber, charcoal, fencing, water clarification, lubricating oil). As with many reports of the nutritional or medicinal value of a natural product, there are an alarming number of purveyors of “healthful” food who are now promoting M. oleifera as a panacea. While much of this recent enthusiasm indeed appears to be justified, it is critical to separate rigorous scientific evidence from anecdote. Those who charge a premium for products containing Moringa spp. must be held to a high standard. Those who promote the cultivation and use of Moringa spp. in regions where hope is in short supply must be provided with the best available evidence, so as not to raise false hopes and to encourage the most fruitful use of scarce research capital. It is the purpose of this series of brief reviews to: (a) critically evaluate the published scientific evidence on M. oleifera, (b) highlight claims from the traditional and tribal medicinal lore and from non-peer reviewed sources that would benefit from further, rigorous scientific evaluation, and (c) suggest directions for future clinical research that could be carried out by local investigators in developing regions.
This is the first of four planned papers on the nutritional, therapeutic, and prophylactic properties of Moringa oleifera. In this introductory paper, the scientific evidence for health effects are summarized in tabular format, and the strength of evidence is discussed in very general terms. A second paper will address a select few uses of Moringa in greater detail than they can be dealt with in the context of this paper. A third paper will probe the phytochemical components of Moringa in more depth. A fourth paper will lay out a number of suggested research projects that can be initiated at a very small scale and with very limited resources, in geographic regions which are suitable for Moringa cultivation and utilization. In advance of this fourth paper in the series, the author solicits suggestions and will gladly acknowledge contributions that are incorporated into the final manuscript. It is the intent and hope of the journal’s editors that such a network of small-scale, locally executed investigations might be successfully woven into a greater fabric which will have enhanced scientific power over similar small studies conducted and reported in isolation. Such an approach will have the added benefit that statistically sound planning, peer review, and multi-center coordination brings to a scientific investigation.
The following paper is intended to be useful for both scientific and lay audiences. Since various terms used herein are likely not familiar to the lay reader, nor are many of the references readily available to either scientific or lay audiences, we encourage active on-line dialog between readers and both the author and the journal staff. Both will attempt to answer questions and to direct readers to the experts in an open and public manner.
Copyright: ©2005 Jed W. Fahey
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Contact: Jed W. Fahey
Received: September 15, 2005
Accepted: November 20, 2005
Published: December 1, 2005
Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of a monogeneric family, the Moringaceae, that is native to the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. This rapidly-growing tree (also known as the horseradish tree, drumstick tree, benzolive tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, moonga, mulangay, nébéday, saijhan, sajna or Ben oil tree), was utilized by the ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians; it is now widely cultivated and has become naturalized in many locations in the tropics. It is a perennial softwood tree with timber of low quality, but which for centuries has been advocated for traditional medicinal and industrial uses. It is already an important crop in India, Ethiopia, the Philippines and the Sudan, and is being grown in West, East and South Africa, tropical Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Florida and the Pacific Islands. All parts of the Moringa tree are edible and have long been consumed by humans. According to Fuglie (47) the many uses for Moringa include: alley cropping (biomass production), animal forage (leaves and treated seed-cake), biogas (from leaves), domestic cleaning agent (crushed leaves), blue dye (wood), fencing (living trees), fertilizer (seed-cake), foliar nutrient (juice expressed from the leaves), green manure (from leaves), gum (from tree trunks), honey- and sugar cane juice-clarifier (powdered seeds), honey (flower nectar), medicine (all plant parts), ornamental plantings, biopesticide (soil incorporation of leaves to prevent seedling damping off), pulp (wood), rope (bark), tannin for tanning hides (bark and gum), water purification (powdered seeds). Moringa seed oil (yield 30-40% by weight), also known as Ben oil, is a sweet non-sticking, non-drying oil that resists rancidity. It has been used in salads, for fine machine lubrication, and in the manu-facture of perfume and hair care products (158). In the West, one of the best known uses for Moringa is the use of powdered seeds to flocculate contaminants and purify drinking water (11,50,113), but the seeds are also eaten green, roasted, powdered and steeped for tea or used in curries (50). This tree has in recent times been advocated as an outstanding indigenous source of highly digestible protein, Ca, Fe, Vitamin C, and carotenoids suitable for utilization in many of the so-called “developing” regions of the world where undernourishment is a major concern.
Moringa trees have been used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers. Three non-governmental organizations in particular—Trees for Life, Church World Service and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization—have advocated Moringa as “natural nutrition for the tropics.” Leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder for many months without refrigeration, and reportedly without loss of nutritional value. Moringa is especially promising as a food source in the tropics because the tree is in full leaf at the end of the dry season when other foods are typically scarce.
A large number of reports on the nutritional qualities of Moringa now exist in both the scientific and the popular literature. Any readers who are familiar with Moringa will recognize the oft-reproduced characterization made many years ago by the Trees for Life organization, that “ounce-for-ounce, Moringa leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas,” and that the protein quality of Moringa leaves rivals that of milk and eggs. These readers will also recognize the oral histories recorded by Lowell Fuglie in Senegal and throughout West Africa, who reports (and has extensively documented on video) countless instances of lifesaving nutritional rescue that are attributed to Moringa (47,48). In fact, the nutritional properties of Moringa are now so well known that there seems to be little doubt of the substantial health benefit to be realized by consumption of Moringa leaf powder in situations where starvation is imminent. Nonetheless, the outcomes of well controlled and well documented clinical studies are still clearly of great value.
In many cultures throughout the tropics, different-tiation between food and medicinal uses of plants (e.g. bark, fruit, leaves, nuts, seeds, tubers, roots, flowers), is very difficult since plant uses span both categories and this is deeply ingrained in the traditions and the fabric of the community (85). Thus, Table 1 in this review captures both nutritional and medicinal references as they relate to Moringa, whilst avoiding most of the better known agro-forestry and water purification applications of this plant. The interested reader is also directed to the very comprehensive reviews of the nutritional attributes of Moringa prepared by the NGOs mentioned earlier (in particular, see references 47,123,157).
Phytochemicals are, in the strictest sense of the word, chemicals produced by plants. Commonly, though, the word refers to only those chemicals which may have an impact on health, or on flavor, texture, smell, or color of the plants, but are not required by humans as essential nutrients. 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 (10,38). For example, specific components of Moringa preparations that have been reported to have hypo-tensive, anticancer, and antibacterial activity include 4-(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocy-anate [1], 4-(α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocy-anate [2], niazimicin [3], pterygospermin [4], benzyl isothiocyanate [5], and 4-(α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)
benzyl glucosinolate [6]. 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 β-carotene or pro-vitamin A). These attributes are all discussed extensively by Lowell Fuglie (47) and others, and will be the subject of a future review in this series.
Disease Treatment and Prevention

Figure 1. Structures of selected phytochemicals from Moringa spp.: 4-(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocyanate [1], 4-(-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocyanate [2], niazimicin [3], pterygospermin [4], benzyl isothiocyanate [5], and 4-(α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl glucosinolate [6]
The benefits for the treatment or prevention of disease or infection that may accrue from either dietary or topical administration of Moringa preparations (e.g. extracts, decoctions, poultices, creams, oils, emollients, salves, powders, porridges) are not quite so well known (116). Although the oral history here is also voluminous, it has been subject to much less intense scientific scrutiny, and it is useful to review the claims that have been made and to assess the quality of evidence available for the more well-documented claims. The readers of this review are encouraged to examine two recent papers that do an excellent job of contrasting the dilemma of balancing evidence from complementary and alternative medicine (e.g. traditional medicine, tribal lore, oral histories and anecdotes) with the burden of proof required in order to make sound scientific judgments on the efficacy of these traditional cures (138,154). Clearly much more research is justified, but just as clearly this will be a very fruitful field of endeavor for both basic and applied researchers over the next decade.
Widespread claims of the medicinal effectiveness of various Moringa tree preparations have encouraged the author and his colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University to further investigate some of these possibilities. A plethora of traditional medicine refer-ences attest to its curative power, and scientific validation of these popular uses is developing to support at least some of the claims. Moringa preparations have been cited in the scientific literature as having antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic activities, as well as having considerable efficacy in water purification by flocculation, sedimentation, antibiosis and even reduction of Schistosome cercariae titer (see Table 1). Unfortunately, many of these reports of efficacy in human beings are not supported by placebo controlled, randomized clinical trials, nor have they been published in high visibility journals. For example, on the surface a report published almost 25 years ago (141) appears to establish Moringa as a powerful cure for urinary tract infection, but it provides the reader with no source of comparison (no control subjects). Thus, to the extent to which this is antithetical to Western medicine, Moringa has not yet been and will not be embraced by Western-trained medical practitioners for either its medicinal or nutritional properties.

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 (39,40,76,131). I shall briefly introduce antibiosis and cancer prevention as just two examples of areas of Moringa research for which the existing scientific evidence appears to be particularly strong.
Antibiotic Activity. 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. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s a team from the University of Bombay (BR Das), Travancore University (PA Kurup), and the Department of Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (PLN Rao), identified a compound they called pterygospermin [4] a compound which they reported readily dissociated into two molecules of benzyl isothiocyanate [5] (23,24,25,26,77,78,79,80,81,108). Benzyl isothiocyanate was already understood at that time to have antimicrobial properties. This group not only identified pterygospermin, but performed extensive and elegant characterization of its mode of antimicrobial action in the mid 1950’s. (They identified the tree from which they isolated this substance as “Moringa pterygosperma,” now regarded as an archaic designation for “M. oleifera.”) Although others were to show that pterygospermin and extracts of the Moringa plants from which it was isolated were antibacterial against a variety of microbes, the identity of pterygospermin has since been challenged (34) as an artifact of isolation or structural determination.
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 glyosylated derivatives of benzyl isothiocyanate [5] (e.g. compounds containing the 6-carbon simple sugar, rhamnose) (8). The identity of these compounds was not available in the refereed scientific literature until “re-discovered” 15 years later by Kjaer and co-workers (73). Seminal reports on the antibiotic activity of the primary rhamnosylated compound then followed, from U Eilert and colleagues in Braunschweig, Germany (33,34). They re-isolated and confirmed the identity of 4-(α-L-rhamnopy-ranosyloxy)benzyl glucosinolate [6] and its cognate isothiocyanate [2] and verified the activity of the latter compound against a wide range of bacteria and fungi.
Extensive field reports and ecological studies (see Table 1) forming part of a rich traditional medicine history, claim efficacy of leaf, seed, root, bark, and flowers against a variety of dermal and internal infections. Unfortunately, many of the reports of antibiotic efficacy in humans are not supported by placebo controlled, randomized clinical trials. Again, in keeping with Western medical prejudices, practitioners may not be expected to embrace Moringa for its antibiotic properties. In this case, however, the in-vitro (bacterial cultures) and observational studies provide a very plausible mechanistic underpinning for the plethora of efficacy claims that have accumulated over the years (see Table 1).
Aware of the reported antibiotic activity of [2], [5], and other isothiocyanates and plants containing them, we undertook to determine whether some of them were also active as antibiotics against Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium was not discovered until the mid-1980’s, a discovery for which the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine was just awarded. 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 to [2], and to a number of other isothiocyanates (37,60). 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 finding to human H. pylori infection is now being pursued in the clinic, and the prototypical isothiocyanate has already demonstrated some efficacy in pilot studies (49,168). Cancer Prevention. Since Moringa species have long been recognized by folk medicine practitioners as having value in tumor therapy (61), we examined compounds [1] and [2] for their cancer preventive potential (39). Recently, [1] and the related compound [3] were shown to be potent inhibitors of phorbol ester.
Traditional Use Condition/Effecta Plant Partb Referencesc
(ANT) Antimicrobial / Biocidal LFSPRBGO 8, 13, 19, 24, 27, 31, 34, 64, 68, 100, 104, 114, 115, 126, 140, 151 160, 161, 162
Bacterial LFS 25, 26, 55, 63, 77 - 81, 149
Dental Caries/Toothache RBG 47
Infection LF 47
Syphilis G 47
Typhoid G 47
Urinary Tract Infection L 141
Fungal/ Mycoses O 111
Thrush 88, 111
Common cold FRB 47
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) L 104
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) L 84
HIV-AIDS L 1, 124
Warts S 47
Dranunculiasis (guinea-worm) 36
Helminths LFP 47
Schistosomes S 113
Trypanosomes LR 95
Other / Not Attributed to a Specific Pathogen
Bronchitis L 47
Earache G 47
External Sores/Ulcers LFRB 15
Fever LRGS 47
Hepatic L 6
Skin (Dermal) O S 15
Throat Infection F 47
Water treatment (general) S 11, 50, 75, 86, 169

Effect of fruits of Moringa oleifera on the lipid profile of normal and hypercholesterolaemic rabbits
Late Komal Mehtaa, R. Balaraman, , a, A. H. Aminb, P. A. Bafnaa and O. D. Gulatic
a Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Technology and Engineering, The M.S. University of Baroda,
Kalabhavan, Baroda 390 001, Gujarat, India
b Alembic Ltd., Baroda, Gujarat, India
c Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprises, Baroda 390 007, Gujarat, India
Received 17 November 2001;
accepted 12 February 2003. ;
Available online 2 April 2003.
Rabbits were fed Moringa oleifera (200 mg/kg/day, p.o.) or lovastatin (6 mg/kg/day, p.o.) in banana pulp along with standard laboratory diet and hypercholesterolaemic diet for 120 days. Moringa oleifera and lovastatin were found to lower the serum cholesterol, phospholipid, triglyceride, VLDL, LDL, cholesterol to phospholipid ratio and atherogenic index, but were found to increase the HDL ratio (HDL/HDL-total cholesterol) as compared to the corresponding control groups. Treatment with M. oleifera or lovastatin in normal rabbits decreased the HDL levels. However, HDL levels were significantly increased or decreased in M. oleifera- or lovastatin-treated hypercholesterolaemic rabbits, respectively. Lovastatin- or M. oleifera-treated hypercholesterolaemic rabbits showed decrease in lipid profile of liver, heart and aorta while similar treatment of normal animals did not produce significant reduction in heart. Moringa oleifera was found to increase the excretion of faecal cholesterol. Thus, the study demonstrates that M. oleifera possesses a hypolipidaemic effect.
Pharmacological properties of Moringa oleifera. 1: Preliminary screening for antimicrobial activity
Armando Caceresa, b, , Ofyluz Cabreraa, Ofelia Moralesb, Patricia Mollinedoa and
Patricia Mendiab
a Center for Mesoamerican Studies on Appropriate Technology (CEMAT). P.O. Box 1160,
Guatemala City, Guatemala
b Faculty of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of San Carlos (USAC), Guatemala City, Guatemala
Accepted 18 December 1990.
Available online 8 November 2002.
The antimicrobial activities of Moringa oleifera leaves, roots, bark and seeds were investigated in vitro against bacteria, yeast, dermatophytes and helminths pathogenic to man. By a disk-diffusion method, it was demonstrated that the fresh leaf juice and aqueous extracts from the seeds inhibit the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus and that extraction temperatures above 56°C inhibited this activity. No activity was demonstrated against four other pathogenic Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and Candida albicans. By a dilution method, no activity was demonstrated against six pathogenic dermatophytes. A method was standardized for studying the effect of aqueous extracts on Ascaris lumbricoides eggs, but no activity was exibited by any part of the tree in contrast to Chenopodium ambrosioides leaf extracts.
Article Outline Correspondence to: Armando Cáceres, Center for Mesoamerican Studies on Appropriate Technology (CEMAT), P.O. Box 1160, , Guatemala City, , Guatemala.
Moringa oleifera in the treatment of bronchial asthma Antiasthmatic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam: A clinical study.(Research Article)(Clinical report)
Indian Journal of Pharmacology
| January 01, 2008 | Agrawal, Babita; Mehta, Anita | Copyright
Byline: Babita. Agrawal, Anita. Mehta
The present study was carried out to investigate the efficacy and safety of seed kernels of Moringa oleifera in the treatment of bronchial asthma. Twenty patients of either sex with mild-to-moderate asthma were given finely powdered dried seed kernels in dose of 3 g for 3 weeks. The clinical efficacy with respect to symptoms and respiratory functions were assessed using a spirometer prior to and at the end of the treatment. Hematological parameters were not changed markedly by treatment with M. oleifera . However, the majority of patients showed a significant increase in hemoglobin (Hb) values and Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was significantly reduced. Significant improvement was also observed in symptom score and severity of asthmatic attacks. Treatment with the drug for 3 weeks produced significant improvement in forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in one second, and peak expiratory flow rate values by 32.97 [+ or -] 6.03%, 30.05 [+ or -] 8.12%, and 32.09 [+ or -] 11.75%, respectively, in asthmatic subjects. Improvement was also observed in % predicted values. None of the patients showed any adverse effects with M. oleifera . The results of the present study suggest the usefulness of M. oleifera seed kernel in patients of bronchial asthma.
Bronchial asthma is a syndrome, characterized by increased responsiveness of trachea and bronchi to various stimuli and manifested by acute, recurrent, and chronic attacks of widespread narrowing of airways. Clinically, asthma is expressed by airway obstruction that involves inflammation of the pulmonary airways and bronchial hyperresponsiveness that is usually reversible.[sup] [1] The past decade has witnessed phenomenal increases in the incidences of asthma, asthma-related deaths, and hospitalization. Existing classes of antiasthmatic agents offer a limited variety of action that can be combined in a complementary and additive manner.
Studies of the anticancer potential of plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 May 13;99(1):21-30. Costa-Lotufo LV, Khan MT, Ather A, Wilke DV, Jimenez PC, Pessoa C, de Moraes ME, de Moraes MO. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza Rua Cel Nunes de Melo 1127, Caixa Postal-3157, 60430-270 Fortaleza Ce, Brazil. The present study evaluated the anticancer potential of 11 plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine. The extracts were tested for cytotoxicity using the brine shrimp lethality assay, sea urchin eggs assay, hemolysis assay and MTT assay using tumor cell lines. The extract of Oroxylum indicum showed the highest toxicity on all tumor cell lines tested, with an IC(50) of 19.6 microg/ml for CEM, 14.2 microg/ml for HL-60, 17.2 microg/ml for B-16 and 32.5 microg/ml for HCT-8. On the sea urchin eggs, it inhibited the progression of cell cycle since the frist cleavage (IC(50)=13.5 microg/ml). The extract of Aegle marmelos exhibited toxicity on all used assays, but in a lower potency than Oroxylum indicum. In conclusion, among all tested extracts, only the extracts of Oroxylum indicum, Moringa oleifera and Aegles marmelos could be considered as potential sources of anticancer compounds. Further studies are necessary for chemical characterization of the active principles and more extensive biological evaluations.

Nutritional, Medicinal and Other Merits of Moringa.
Moringa leaves are an excellent source of protein, that is to say, they contain all the essential amino-acids including the sulphur-containing ones methionine and cystine, which are often in short supply. They are also rich in vitamins A, B-complex and C as well as many minerals. They are exceptionally high in calcium and iron. Ask any Philippino if they would like to eat some Malunggay, their name for Moringa. They love the leaves and pods in their cuisine and especially served with chicken. Move over spinach because here's something rich in iron that tastes better - Moringa!
The leaves, flowers, pods, roots, bark of stems and roots, gum, seeds and oil are all used to help with a long list of ailments and health problems such as: diabetes, scurvy, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, headache, earache, toothache, skin rashes and abrasions, wounds, ulcers, bronchitis, anaemia, sore throats, rheumatism, lower back pain, liver and spleen problems, kidney pain, asthma, gout, lumbago, epilepsy, rabies, prostate and bladder problems, warts, tumours, tuberculosis and more. This sounds like a cure for everything except death. Apart from traditional medicine, clinical trials on animals have demonstrated some of these claims.
In Senegal, successful human trials provide dramatic proof. Fuglie says: "Because of
Moringa's accessibility, malnourished children have recovered much more quickly than
under classic treatments which obliged their parents to purchase what is, for them,
expensive items like cooking oil, sugar and milk powder. All health practitioners trained
during the pilot project have since abandoned the classic approach in favour of
Moringa." At a clinic in Senegal, according to the interview held with a French nurse, as shown on Lowell’s video tape, he regularly takes the flowers as a tea to effectively control his own diabetic sugar levels. He has planted the tree all around the clinic for its health benefits.

In Haiti they take these flowers as a remedy for the common cold! Just some examples from the considerable scientific research may be reassuring. Studies on the Anti-ulcer Activities of Moringa oleifera Leaf Extract on Gastric Ulcer Models in Rats
from the Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 1995: "Significant protective actions in
acetylsalicylic acid, serotonin and indomethacin induced lesions in experimental rats. A
significant enhancement of the healing process in chronic gastric lesions was also observed."

Studies on the Anti-inflammatory and Wound Healing Properties of Moringa oleifera from the Kasturba Medical College, Karnataka, India, 1993 compared with Bilva demonstrated that "Moringa and Bilva both showed acute anti-inflammatory action... It could be concluded that Moringa would be the better choice for promoting healing." The List of research papers and their findings is quite extensive, but these experiments are quoted only to allay cynicism, build confidence and encourage participation by serious minded people. A hormonal Moringa growth spray improves yields in any other crop. Among other astonishing things about Moringa is a fertility factor. Cattle have markedly more twin births with Moringa in the feed. There is an aphrodisiac property in almost all parts of the plant.
Dr. J. P. Sutherland, in research conducted at the University of Leicester, U.K., concluded that: "M. oleifera is a truly multipurpose tree" and "an ideal tree for inclusion within reforestation, crop diversification and poverty and hunger alleviation programmes.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2010;11(3):627-32.
Nutritive evaluation and effect of Moringa oleifera pod on clastogenic potential in the mouse.
Promkum C, Kupradinun P, Tuntipopipat S, Butryee C.
Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Moringa oleifera Lam (horseradish tree; tender pod or fruits) has been consumed as a vegetable and utilized as a major ingredient of healthy Thai cuisine. Previous studies have shown that M. oleifera pod extracts act as bifunctional inducers along with displaying antioxidant properties and also inhibiting skin papillomagenesis in mice. This study was aimed to determine the nutritive value, and clastogenic and anticlastogenic potentials of M. oleifera pod. The nutritive value was determined according to AOAC methods. The clastogenic and anticlastogenic potentials were determined using the in vivo erythrocyte micronucleus assay in the mouse. Eighty male mice were fed semi-purified diets containing 1.5%, 3.0% and 6.0% of ground freeze-dried boiled M. oleifera pod (bMO) for 2 weeks prior to administration of both direct-acting (mitomycin C, MMC) and indirect-acting (7, 12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene, DMBA), clastogens. Blood samples were collected at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h, dropped on acridine orange-coated slides, and then counted for reticulocytes both with and without micronuclei by fluorescence microscopy. The nutritive value of 100 g bMO consisted of: moisture content, 8.2 g; protein, 19.2 g; fat, 3.9 g; carbohydrate (dietary fiber included), 60.5 g; dietary fiber, 37.5 g; ash, 8.1 g and energy, 354 kcal. Freeze-dried boiled M. oleifera had no clastogenic activity in the mouse while it possessed anticlastogenic activity against both direct and indirect-acting clastogens. Freeze-dried boiled M. oleifera pod at 1.5%, 3.0% and 6.0% in the diets decreased the number of micronucleated peripheral reticulocytes (MNRETs) induced by both MMC and DMBA. However, the effect was statistically significant in the dose dependent manner only in the MMC-treated group. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that bMO has no clastogenicity and possesses anticlastogenic potential against clastogens, and particularly a direct-acting clastogen in the mouse.
J Appl Phycol. 2010 Aug;22(4):503-510. Epub 2009 Nov 27.
Anti-cyanobacterial activity of Moringa oleifera seeds.
Lürling M, Beekman W.
Aquatic Ecology & Water Quality Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Filtrates from crushed Moringa oleifera seeds were tested for their effects on growth and Photosystem II efficiency of the common bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa. M. aeruginosa populations exhibited good growth in controls and treatments with 4- and 8-mg crushed Moringa seeds per liter, having similar growth rates of 0.50 (+/-0.01) per day. In exposures of 20- to 160-mg crushed Moringa seeds L(-1), growth rates were negative and on average -0.23 (+/-0.05) .day(-1). Presumably, in the higher doses of 20- to 160-mg crushed seeds per liter, the cyanobacteria died, which was supported by a rapid drop in the Photosystem II efficiency (Phi(PSII)), while the Phi(PSII) was high and unaffected in 0, 4, and 8 mg L(-1). High-density populations of M. aeruginosa (chlorophyll-a concentrations of approximately 270 microg L(-1)) were reduced to very low levels within 2 weeks of exposure to >/=80-mg crushed seeds per liter. At the highest dosage of 160 mg L(-1), the Phi(PSII) dropped to zero rapidly and remained nil during the course of the experiment (14 days). Hence, under laboratory conditions, a complete wipeout of the bloom could be achieved. This is the first study that yielded evidence for cyanobactericidal activity of filtrate from crushed Moringa seeds, suggesting that Moringa seed extracts might have a potential as an effect-oriented measure lessening cyanobacterial nuisance.
PMID: 20676212 [PubMed]PMCID: PMC2898099Free PMC Article
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Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2010 May-Jun;52(3):129-32.
Antibacterial effect (in vitro) of Moringa oleifera and Annona muricata against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
Viera GH, Mourão JA, Angelo AM, Costa RA, Vieira RH.
Laboratory of Microbiology, State University of Vale do Acaraú, Sobral, Ceará, Brazil.
Antibacterial effects of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of seeds of moringa (Moringa oleifera) and pods of soursop (Annona muricata) in the concentration of 1:5 and 1:10 in volumes 50, 100, 150 and 200 microL were examined against Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli (isolated from the organism and the aquatic environment) and Salmonella Enteritidis. Antibacterial activity (inhibition halo > 13 mm) against S. aureus, V. cholerae and E. coli isolated from the whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannmaei, was detected in aqueous and ethanolic extracts of moringa. E. coli isolated from tilapiafish, Oreochromis niloticus, was sensitive to the ethanolic extract of moringa. The aqueous extracts of soursop showed an antibacterial effect against S. aureus and V. cholerae, but the antibacterial activity by the ethanol extracts of this plant was not demonstrated.
PMID: 20602021 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE
Ecol Food Nutr. 2009 May 1;48(3):212-225.
Adoption of Moringa oleifera to combat under-nutrition viewed through the lens of the "Diffusion of Innovations" theory.
Thurber MD, Fahey JW.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Human Nutrition.
Moringa oleifera, an edible tree found worldwide in the dry tropics, is increasingly being used for nutritional supplementation. Its nutrient-dense leaves are high in protein quality, leading to its widespread use by doctors, healers, nutritionists and community leaders, to treat under-nutrition and a variety of illnesses. Despite the fact that no rigorous clinical trial has tested its efficacy for treating under-nutrition, the adoption of M. oleifera continues to increase. The "Diffusion of innovations theory" describes well, the evidence for growth and adoption of dietary M. oleifera leaves, and it highlights the need for a scientific consensus on the nutritional benefits.
PMID: 20161339 [PubMed]PMCID: PMC2679503Free PMC Article
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An Acad Bras Cienc. 2009 Jun;81(2):207-16.
Larvicidal activity of the water extract of Moringa oleifera seeds against Aedes aegypti and its toxicity upon laboratory animals.
Ferreira PM, Carvalho AF, Farias DF, Cariolano NG, Melo VM, Queiroz MG, Martins AM, Machado-Neto JG.
Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brasil, 60455-970.
In this work, biological effects of the water extract of Moringa oleifera seeds (WEMOS) were assessed on eggs and 3rd instar larvae of Aedes aegypti and on its toxicity upon laboratory animals (Daphnia magna, mice and rats). Crude WEMOS showed a LC50 value of 1260microg/mL, causing 99.2 +/- 2.9% larvae mortality within 24 h at 5200microg/mL, though this larvicidal activity has been lost completely at 80 masculineC/10 min. WEMOS did not demonstrate capacity to prevent egg hatching. After extensive dialyses of the crude WEMOS into watersoluble dialyzable (DF) and nondyalizable (NDF) fractions, only DF maintained its efficacy to kill larvae. Acute toxicity evaluations on daphnids (EC50 of 188.7microg/mL) and mice (LD50 of 446.5 mg/kg body weight) pointed out to low toxicity. Despite the thymus hypertrophy, WEMOS revealed to be harmless in orally and subacutelytreated rats. In conclusion, WEMOS has thermostable bioactive compounds against Ae. aegypti larvae with apparent molecular mass lower than 12 kDa and moderately toxic potential.
Indian J Med Res. 2008 Dec;128(6):744-51.
Alteration of brain monoamines & EEG wave pattern in rat model of Alzheimer's disease & protection by Moringa oleifera.
Ganguly R, Guha D.
S. N. Pradhan Centre for Neurosciences, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: The monoaminergic systems which exert a modulatory role in memory processing, are disturbed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Moringa oleifera (MO) has been shown to exert its effect in CNS by altering the brain monoamines. The present study aims to see whether chronic oral treatment of ethanolic extract of MO leaves can alter the brain monoamines (norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin) in distinct areas of brain in rat model of AD caused by intracerebroverticle (ICV) infusion of colchicine and hence can provide protection against monoaminergic deficits associated with AD.
METHODS: Rats were given ICV infusion of colchicine (15 microg/5microl) and MO leaf alcoholic extract was given in various doses. The effective dose was standardized by radial arm maze (RAM) training. From the selected dose of 250 mg/kg body weight, the biochemical estimations and EEG studies were performed.
RESULTS: Stereotaxic ICV infusion of colchicine significantly impaired the RAM performance together with decrease in norepinephrine (NE) level in cerebral cortex (CC), hippocampus (HC) and caudate nucleus (CN). Dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) levels were decreased in CC, HC and CN. The EEG studies showed a decrease in beta and alpha waves and increase in biphasic spike wave pattern in experimental Alzheimer rat model. Treatment with MO extract markedly increased the number of correct choices in a RAM task with variable alteration of brain monoamines. The EEG studies showed an increase in beta waves and a decrease in spike wave discharges.
INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Our results showed that brain monoamines were altered discreetly in different brain areas after colchicine infusion in brain. After treatment with MO, leaf extract the monoamine levels of brain regions were restored to near control levels. Our findings indicated that MO might have a role in providing protection against AD in rat model by altering brain menoamine levels and electrical activity.
J Oleo Sci. 2009;58(1):9-16.
Oil and fatty acid diversity in genetically variable clones of Moringa oleifera from India.
Banerji R, Bajpai A, Verma SC.
Lipid Chemistry Division, National Botanical Research Institute, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
The physico-chemical properties of oil from Moringa oleifera seeds from India were determined in the present study. The petroleum ether extracted oil ranged from 27.83 - 45.07% on kernel basis and 15.1-28.4% on whole seed basis in 20 different clones. Leaves and pods showed a good source of vitamin C. Oleic acid (C18:1) has been found to be the major fatty acid being 78.91-85.52% as compared to olive oil, which is considered to be richest source of oleic acid. All the clones from India did not show any presence of behenic acid (C 22:0). The oil was also found to contain high levels of beta-sitosterol ranged from 42.29-47.94% stigmasterol from 13.66-16.61%, campesterol from 12.53-16.63%. The gamma- and delta-tocopherol were found to be in the range of 128.0-146.95, 51.88-63.5 and 55.23-63.84 mg/kg, respectively.
PMID: 19075502 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 May;40(3):229-33.
Effects of Oral Administration of Moringa oleifera Lam on Glucose Tolerance in Goto-Kakizaki and Wistar Rats.
Ndong M, Uehara M, Katsumata S, Suzuki K.
Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1-1-1 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, Japan.
Medicinal plants constitute an important source of potential therapeutic agents for diabetes. In the present study, we investigated the effects of Moringa oleifera (MO) Lam, Moringacea, on glucose tolerance in Wistar rats and Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, modeled type 2 diabetes. Major polyphenols in MO powder were quercetin glucosides, rutin, kaempferol glycosides and chlorogenic acids by HPLC analysis. As the results of glucose tolerance test, MO significantly decreased the blood glucose at 20, 30, 45and 60 min for GK rats and at 10, 30 and 45 min for Wistar rats (p<0.05) compared to the both controls after glucose administration. The area under the curve of changes in the blood glucose was significantly higher in the GK control group than in the GK plus MO group (p<0.05) in the periods 30-60 min and 60-120 min. Furthermore, MO significantly decreased stomach emptying in GK rats (p<0.05). The results indicated that MO has an ameliorating effect for glucose intolerance, and the effect might be mediated by quercetin-3-glucoside and fiber contents in MO leaf powder. The action of MO was greater in GK rats than in Wistar rats.
PMID: 18398501 [PubMed - in process]PMCID: PMC2275769Free PMC Article
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J Infect Dev Ctries. 2008 Oct 1;2(5):379-83.
Moringa oleifera leaf extracts inhibit 6beta-hydroxylation of testosterone by CYP3A4.
Monera TG, Wolfe AR, Maponga CC, Benet LZ, Guglielmo J.
University of Zimbabwe, School of Pharmacy, Harare, Zimbabwe.
BACKGROUND: Moringa oleifera is a tropical tree often used as a herbal medicine, including by people who test positive for HIV. Since herbal constituents may interact with drugs via inhibition of metabolizing enzymes, we investigated the effects of extracts of M. oleifera on the CYP3A4-mediated 6beta-hydroxylation of testosterone.
METHODS: Methanolic and aqueous leaf and root of extracts of M. oleifera with concentrations between 0.01 and 10 mg/ml were incubated with testosterone and mixed-sex human liver microsomes in the presence of NADPH. Metabolite concentrations were determined by HPLC. The cytotoxicity of the extracts was tested with HepG2 cells using the MTT formazan assay.
RESULTS: Significant CYP3A4 inhibitory effects were found, with IC50 values of 0.5 and 2.5 mg/ml for leaf-methanol and leaf-water extracts, respectively. Root extracts were less active. Cytotoxicity was observed only with the leaf-water extract (IC50 = 6 mg/ml).
CONCLUSIONS: Further investigation is warranted to elucidate the potential of M. oleifera for clinically significant interactions with antiretroviral and other drugs.
PMID: 19745507 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Aug;71(8):1826-33. Epub 2007 Aug 7.
Preventive effects of Moringa oleifera (Lam) on hyperlipidemia and hepatocyte ultrastructural changes in iron deficient rats.
Ndong M, Uehara M, Katsumata S, Sato S, Suzuki K.
Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Sakuragaoka, Tokyo, Japan.
The effects of Moringa oleifera (MO), Moringaceae on hyperlipidemia and hepatocyte ultrastructural changes caused by iron deficiency were investigated. Four-week-old male Wistar-strain rats were fed a control diet based on AIN-93G (C), an iron deficient diet (FeD), a FeD + 0.5% MO (FeD-m) diet, or a FeD + MO 1% (FeD-M) diet for 4 weeks. It was found that MO reduced iron-deficient diet-induced increases in serum and hepatic lipids with dose-dependent increases of serum quercetin and kaempherol, but did not prevent anemia. By electron microscopy, in iron deficient hepatocytes, slightly swollen mitochondria and few glycogen granules were observed, but glycogen granules increased and mitochondria were normalized by treatment with MO. Furthermore, lipoproteins were observed in the Golgi complex under treatment with MO. These results suggest a possible beneficial effect of MO in the prevention of hyperlipidemia and ultrastructural changes in hepatocytes due to iron-deficiency.
PMID: 17690476 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
MedGenMed. 2007 Feb 6;9(1):26.
Possible role of Moringa oleifera Lam. root in epithelial ovarian cancer.
Bose CK.
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.
PMID: 17435633 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]PMCID: PMC1924986Free PMC Article
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Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2007 Jun 10;4(4):469-75.
Traditional leafy vegetables in Senegal: diversity and medicinal uses.
Mathieu G, Meissa D.
Laboratoire de Botanique, IFAN, B.P. 206 Dakar, Sénégal.
Six administrative regions of Senegal were investigated. Forty species of vegetable leaves which are traditionally consumed in Senegal have been inventoried. All species are members of twenty-one families the most numerous of which are Amaranthaceae Juss., Malvaceae Juss., Moraceae Link., the Papilionaceae Giseke and Tiliaceae Juss. The species are subdivided into three groups: cultivated leafy vegetables, plants gathered annually, perennial sub-ligneous and ligneous species. The gathered species represent 67.5% of the inventory, 40.7% of which is ligneous. Cultivated species account for 32.5% of the inventory. The species are consumed for their medicinal properties, nutritive value and eating habits linked to specific ethnic traditions. During the drought years, with the scarcity of main food (millet, mays) consumption of leafy vegetables is high. All species reported except Sesuvium portulacastrum L. are consumed like vegetable herbs. The species of Hibiscus are eaten in spinach and condiment form while Sesuvium portulacastrum L is cooked in salad. Of the forty species examined, eleven are widely consumed. Within the entire study area, Hibiscus sabdariffa predominates among species consumed, followed by Moringa oleifera Lam. and Senna obtusifolia Link. A high consumption level of some species like amarante, Corchorus tridens L., Corchorus aestuans L., Leptadenia hastata Decne. and Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp is confined to certain areas. In addition to their consumption as vegetables, the medicinal uses of 57.5% of these is of primary importance. The most commonly exploited parts are, respectively, leaf (40%), roots (20%), and bark (13.3%). Among the numerous pathologies treated, abscess, constipation, and rheumatism are predominant followed by aphrodisiac uses. The Amaranthus spp. L., Leptadenia hastata Decne., Senna obtusifolia Link., Adansonia digitata L. and Tamarindus indica L. are species with multiple medicinal uses.
PMID: 20161914 [PubMed]PMCID: PMC2816516Free PMC Article
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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Sep;49(9):3847-57.
Structure-function characterization and optimization of a plant-derived antibacterial peptide.
Suarez M, Haenni M, Canarelli S, Fisch F, Chodanowski P, Servis C, Michielin O, Freitag R, Moreillon P, Mermod N.
Institute of Biotechnology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Crushed seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree have been used traditionally as natural flocculants to clarify drinking water. We previously showed that one of the seed peptides mediates both the sedimentation of suspended particles such as bacterial cells and a direct bactericidal activity, raising the possibility that the two activities might be related. In this study, the conformational modeling of the peptide was coupled to a functional analysis of synthetic derivatives. This indicated that partly overlapping structural determinants mediate the sedimentation and antibacterial activities. Sedimentation requires a positively charged, glutamine-rich portion of the peptide that aggregates bacterial cells. The bactericidal activity was localized to a sequence prone to form a helix-loop-helix structural motif. Amino acid substitution showed that the bactericidal activity requires hydrophobic proline residues within the protruding loop. Vital dye staining indicated that treatment with peptides containing this motif results in bacterial membrane damage. Assembly of multiple copies of this structural motif into a branched peptide enhanced antibacterial activity, since low concentrations effectively kill bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pyogenes without displaying a toxic effect on human red blood cells. This study thus identifies a synthetic peptide with potent antibacterial activity against specific human pathogens. It also suggests partly distinct molecular mechanisms for each activity. Sedimentation may result from coupled flocculation and coagulation effects, while the bactericidal activity would require bacterial membrane destabilization by a hydrophobic loop.
PMID: 16127062 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]PMCID: PMC1195432Free PMC Article
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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2003 Apr-Jun;4(2):131-9.
Chemomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera, Lam, on hepatic carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice.
Bharali R, Tabassum J, Azad MR.
Department of Biotechnology, Gauhati University, Guwahati 781014, Assam, India.
The modulatory effects of a hydro-alcoholic extract of drumsticks of Moringa oliefera Lam at doses of 125 mg/kg bodyweight and 250 mg/ kg body weight for 7 and 14 days, respectively, were investigated with reference to drug metabolising Phase I (Cytochrome b(5) and Cytochrome p(450) ) and Phase II (Glutathione-S- transferase) enzymes, anti-oxidant enzymes, glutathione content and lipid peroxidation in the liver of 6-8 week old female Swiss albino mice. Further, the chemopreventive efficacy of the extract was evaluated in a two stage model of 7,12 - dimethylbenz(a)anthracene induced skin papillomagenesis. Significant increase (p<0.05 to p<0.01) in the activities of hepatic cytochrome b(5), cytochrome p(450), catalase, glutathione peroxidase ( GPx ), glutathione reductase (GR), acid soluble sulfhydryl content (-SH ) and a significant decrease ( p<0.01 ) in the hepatic MDA level were observed at both dose levels of treatment when compared with the control values. Glutathione-S- transferase ( GST )activity was found to be significantly increased (p<0.01 ) only at the higher dose level. Butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA ) fed at a dose of 0.75% in the diet for 7 and 14 days (positive control ) caused a significant increase (p<0.05 to p<0.01) in the levels of hepatic phase I and phase II enzymes, anti- oxidant enzymes, glutathione content and a decrease in lipid peroxidation. The skin papillomagenesis studies demonstrated a significant decrease (p<0.05 ) in the percentage of mice with papillomas, average number of papillomas per mouse and papillomas per papilloma bearing mouse when the animals received a topical application of the extract at a dose of 5mg/ kg body weight in the peri-initiation phase 7 days before and 7 days after DMBA application, Group II ), promotional phase (from the day of croton oil application and continued till the end of the experiment, Group III ) and both peri and post initiation stages (from 7 days prior to DMBA application and continued till the end of the experiment, Group IV) compared to the control group (Group I ). The percentage inhibition of tumor multiplicity has been recorded to be 27, 72, and 81 in Groups II, III, and IV, respectively. These findings are suggestive of a possible chemopreventive potential of Moringa oliefera drumstick extract against chemical carcinogenesis.