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Moringa oleifera is a natural plant which belongs to the family Moringaceae. Moringa is one of the richest plant sources of Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and Anti-oxidants. The vital minerals present in Moringa include Calcium, Copper, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc. The leaves, pods, seeds, gums, bark and flowers of Moringa are used in more than 80 countries to relieve mineral and vitamin deficiencies, support a healthy cardiovascular system, promote normal blood-glucose levels, neutralise free radicals, provide excellent support of the body's anti-inflammatory mechanisms, enrich anaemic blood and support the immune system. It is also known to improve eyesight, mental alertness and bone strength. It has potential benefit in malnutrition, general weakness, lactating mothers, menopause, depression and osteoporosis. Since 1998, the World Health Organisation has promoted Moringa as an alternative to food supplies in treating malnutrition.
Carrot: 1,890 mg
Orange: 30 mg
Cow milk: 120 mg
Banana: 88 mg
Cow milk: 3.2 g
Moringa is known for its antibacterial effect. Kekuda et al. (2010) tested the extract of M. oleifera on several bacterial and fungal species. Among the bacteria tested, significant inhibition was observed in the case of E. coli followed by S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa and B. subtilis. Inhibition of fungi was also observed as reduced colony diameter in plates poisoned with distillate as compared to control plates; significant inhibition was observed in the species of A. niger, followed by A. oryzae, A. terreus and A. nidulans.
The extracts of Moringa oleifera, both mature and tender leaves have potent antioxidant activity against free radicals, and contribute to significant protection against oxidative damage. Moringa contains important bioactive compounds including glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, thiocarbamates, and ﬂavonoids, with β-carotene being the major antioxidant compound. These compounds quench ROS, chelate metal ions and regenerate membrane-bound antioxidants (Kumar & Pari, 2003). In a study done by Sreelatha & Padma (2009), the aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera exhibited strong scavenging effect on 2, 2-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) free radical, superoxide, nitric oxide radical and inhibition of lipid per oxidation. In this study the free radical scavenging effect of Moringa oleifera leaf extract was comparable with that of the reference antioxidants.
Previous research demonstrates strong anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa due to presence of isothiocyanates (comparable to those found in broccoli) and polyphenols (like those found in berries and other fruits). The anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa may have beneficial effects on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). A study done by Minaiyan et el. (2014) investigated the anti-colitis effect of oral administration of Moringa seeds hydroalcoholic extract (MSHE) and its chloroform fraction (MCF) on acetic acid-induced colitis in rats, in comparison with related controls. This study suggested useful therapeutic activity of Moringa and further demonstrated that an oral administration of MSHE, even with low doses, could be considered as an alternative remedy for IBD conditions and/or prevention of its recurrence.
Moringa possesses significant cardio-protective effect, which may be attributed to its antioxidant, anti-peroxidative, and myocardial preservative properties. A study done by Nandave et al. (2009) evaluated the cardio-protective effect of lyophilised hydro alcoholic extract of Moringa oleifera in a isoproterenol (ISP)-induced model of myocardial infarction, and demonstrated significant effects of Moringa in preventing the rise of lipid peroxidation in myocardial tissue. In another study, Moringa treatment demonstrated positive effect on hypertensive rats by reducing the nocturnal heart rate, improving cardiac diastolic function, and reducing left ventricular and relative anterior wall thickness (Randriamboavonjy, 2016).
The aqueous extract of leaves of M. oleifera was investigated for its wound healing activity. The extract was studied at dose level of 300 mg/kg body weight using incision, excision, and dead space wound models in rats. The observed healing actions in this study were demonstrated to be due to increased collagen deposition as well as better alignment and maturation. From the study results obtained, it may be concluded that the aqueous extract of M. oleifera has significant wound healing properties.
BSc Alternative Medicine; MSc Pharmacology
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