John Hopkins School of Medicine of Baltimore Maryland revealed in a study the nutritional benefits of Moringa Oleifera or known as Malunggay in the Philippines and other regional names such as horseradish tree, benzolive, saijhan and drumstick tree. The intriguing features have been in many research studies for over decades and all of which had claimed the scientific evidence that is suggested to be carried out in developing countries.
Structure of the Tree
The tree grows as 9 meters with white and soft wood and gummy bark. The root is tasted like horseradish and leaf contains 3-9 leaflets. The flowers are white and fragrant producing long 9-ribbed pods and 3-angled winged seeds.
Where to find the Miracle Tree?
The ancient Romans was first utilized the rapidly growing tree and has been cultivated in many tropical countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West, East and South Africa, Asia like Philippines, the Caribbean, Latin America, Florida and the Pacific Islands. This tree is advocated as the solution for undernourishment concern in some underdeveloped countries.
Nutritional Facts of Malunggay
1 cup of malunggay contains .6 grams fiber, 3.1 protein, 96 mg calcium, 29 mg phosphorus, 2,820 mg beta-carotene, 1.7 iron, .7 mg thiamin, 1.1 mg niacin, .14 mg of riboflavin and 53 mg of Vitamin C.
It is highly source of protein, Vitamin A, B and C, Calcium, Iron and carotenoids. The root bark has alkaloids, moringine which is quite similar to benzylamine. Best anti-oxidant (removing unstable free radicals) and source of amino acids and omega oil that is high in HDL ( high density lipoproteins).
Other Uses and Benefits
In the Philippines, boiled Malunggay leaves and pods are used in breastfeeding because of its powerful potential to increase lactation and enough protein, calcium, iron and vitamin A that essential needs of child aged 1-3. In West Bengal India, roots are taken and use as contraceptives for women on its scientific proven effects in total suppression of the reproductive system. The anti-implantation action uses as an abortifacient that controls woman’s fertility.
The leaves, flowers and pods can be eaten, dried powder and cooked. What is amazing is that it can be refrigerated for months without loosing its nutritional value. The ben oil extracted from flowers is used as ointment base for arthritic and rheumatic pains. Decoction of leaves is used for asthma, gout and hiccups. Decoction of roots is good to wash ulcers and sore throats. Combination of coconut oil and boiled flowers are known to have aphrodisiac quality.
Prevention of infection- In late 1940’s and early 50’s, The University of Bombay with collaboration in Travancore University and Department of Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the anecdotal evidence they found in a compound called Benzyl isothiocyanate that has antibiotic activity against any variety of microbes. Until in the mid of 1980’s, the antibiotic compound can also cure Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) which the major cause of gastritis.
Treating Hundreds of Diseases
It is reported that malunggay can treat around 300 diseases due to its natural nutrients.
Among of these health benefits are restoring skin condition, strengthening the immune system, lowering high blood pressure, managing sugar levels, boosting energy, fight anemia, epilepsy and exterminating intestinal parasites, fighting gum infection, keeping healthy bones and teeth, alleviate earaches, cure Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1), CIR Circulatory/Endocrine Disorders, treating fever, healthy functioning of thyroid, detoxifying toxins and poisons (like scorpion bite), anti-spasmodic, treatment of certain liver diseases, diuretic, purgative, curing urinary tract infection and fight against cancer.
Potential for anti-cancer treatment
Phytochemical compounds of Moringa contains simple sugar, rhamnose and unique compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates which is attributed to anti-cancer and hypotensive effects properties.In an extensive studies, it also contains compound for cancer prevention which is inhibitors of TPA ( phorbold easter- early antigen activation in lymphoma cells).
Also for skin tumor prevention by ingesting of moringa seedpod extract and a reduction in skin papillomas was dramatically demonstrated. There is also possible role of the roots in epithelial ovarian cancer which studies suggests that it can interfere with hormone receptor and neoplastic growth-related pathways through acting mechanisms.
However, with the suggested collaborative effort of traditional and modern medical practice, rigorous studies are still required for the realization of full biomedical introduction of Moringa as plant for cancer prevention.
This amazing herb is a wonderful blessing for all of us who thinks the solution to any ailments is an expensive medication. In other countries like Philippines, the Department of Agriculture with the support of Department of Health is promoting the wider production and cultivation of Malunggay which reduces the rate of malnutrition and increases the profits of barrio farmers. . Its medicinal qualities only prove its potential to be called “miracle tree” with no question asked because of its scientifically proven effects.