Moringa: properties and benefits of the life's tree
Few know it by the name of Moringa oleifera, but many have heard of "Miraculous Tree" or "Life's Tree". But exactly what is Moringa oleifera?
It is a fast-growing evergreen shrub belonging to the Moringaceae family, native to the sub-Himalayan western tract and widely distributed in regions characterized by a hot-humid climate such as India, Bangladesh, Asia Minor and Africa. 13 species of Moringa have been identified, but the most studied and most appreciated is the oil species.
The name of "Life's Tree" is due to its many beneficial properties, since time immemorial is in fact used in traditional indigenous medicine of South Asia as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and in the treatment of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders.
In the Philippines it is known as "the mother's best friend" as it is used to increase milk production during breastfeeding.
It is also used in the treatment of drinking water, thanks to the purifying action of its seeds that act as natural coagulants and flocculants against bacterial cells and particulate matter present in contaminated water.
Needless to say, the identification of the multiple beneficial properties has attracted the attention of the scientific community to the Moringa oleifera; to date research groups from the most prestigious universities in the world are conducting studies aimed at highlighting and exploiting its properties on the organism, so much so that as of today, 110 different biologically active phytochemicals have been isolated and identified.
Super food 2018
Elected "Superfood" of 2018 by the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), the Moringa oleifera from the nutritional point of view can be considered in all respects a "super food", with its 92 nutrients, 46 antioxidants, 18 amino acids, proteins, vitamins, mineral salts, contains more beneficial nutrients than most known plants.
It is indeed extremely rare that a single plant can contain so many essential nutrients and in such quantities, that Moringa has been claimed to be the plant with the highest nutrient content so far studied.
The plant can be used practically everything, from the seeds to the pods, from the roots to the stem, but it is the leaves that make it a real cure for health.
Just the latter, eaten raw in salads, cooked, powdered or, as evidenced by the traditional Asian cuisine, used in the preparation of flour, have allowed Moringa to establish itself as a powerful natural remedy for health protection.
As reported by the scientific literature, the leaves are not only rich in proteins and essential amino acids, but contain high concentrations of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A), vitamins (in particular C, E and belonging to group B), mineral salts (calcium, potassium, iron ...), secondary metabolites with powerful antioxidant activities (flavonoids and phenolic acids) and biologically active compounds (alkaloids, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, sterols). It is precisely the quantity, quality and variety of these compounds that contribute to the numerous pharmacological and nutraceutical uses of Moringa oleifera.
The scientific studies referred to in the text can be consulted via the Internet on the Pubmed scientific platform at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.