Few things are certain in life, but one thing was sure. Anyone who went to see Fidel Castro, whether he or she was a head of state or a celebrity from the world of sport or show business, had to go through his garden. And above all that person had to listen to him describe in detail the beneficial properties of a particular plant, his favorite, of which he had a personal cultivation, the moringa, or miracle tree. Not only that, it is also said that Fidel Castro used to chew moringa leaves like chewing gum. Who knows, was perhaps the moringa the secret of Fidel Castro's longevity that allowed him, despite very serious illnesses, to reach a venerable age? Certainly moringa is one of those remedies that should never be missing at home, let's see why. In the following we will talk about the properties of moringa leaves, which are easily available.
Moringa, scientific name Moringa oleifera, is a plant that grows in tropical and subtropical regions and has always been appreciated for its health properties that make it a widely used natural remedy. The leaves of moringa are generally used and you can easily find them in dried form in herbalist's shops and online. Moringa leaves are rich in vitamins A and D, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and iron. The leaves are also a valuable source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and phenols (Stohs et al, Phytother Res, 2015). Thanks to these characteristics, moringa shows an antitumor action and protects tissues, such as the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Not only that, moringa is also antidiabetic, since it improves insulin sensitivity, increases the absorption of glucose in the liver and muscles and decreases that of the intestine. Moringa is analgesic, useful in combating headaches and migraines, and is cardioprotective since it acts by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol (Stohs et al, Phytother Res, 2015 - Ahmad et al, Pytother Res, 2019). Finally, moringa tea improves digestion and tones the mind.
Moringa, inflammation, coronavirus and the immune system
Moringa supports the immune system since it helps fight a wide range of bacteria, fungi and viruses, including rhinovirus and herpes simplex. Therefore, given the antiviral action of moringa, scientists wondered if this plant could be another possible weapon, in addition to those already deployed as hygiene, masks and social distancing, against the new coronavirus. Research has therefore been carried out, especially through computer simulations, and it has emerged that indeed some compounds present in moringa leaves, such as ellagic acid and apigenin, are able to bind to the new coronavirus, inhibiting it and blocking its proliferation ( Muhammad et al, Chem Phys Lett, 2021). Finally, moringa inhibits chronic inflammation which is a condition that, in the long run, can weaken the immune system and can pave the way for diabetes, cancer, depression and overweight. Moringa has been observed to help fight asthma, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, atypical dermatitis and metabolic diseases (Xiao et al, Front Pharmacol, 2020).
Moringa, how to take it
Heat a cup of water up to 70 °C. Add 2 teaspoons of green tea and one teaspoon of moringa leaves, let it brew for ten minutes, then strain and drink. You can also use moringa on its own but the combination with green tea maximizes the anticancer and antioxidant properties and also gives it more taste!
Moringa for the skin
External applications of moringa infusion, thanks to the powerful antioxidant action, help to combat wrinkles, signs of fatigue, dry and dull skin caused by smoking, smog and stress (Meireles et al, Adv Tradit Med, 2020). You can prepare an infusion of moringa, heat a cup of water up to 70 °C, add 3 teaspoons of dried plant and leave to infuse for ten minutes. Then filter, let it cool down a bit and, once lukewarm, soak a gauze, apply to your face and leave on for ten minutes, then rinse. Alternatively, you can use the moringa infusion as the watery part in a clay mask, excellent for acne-prone skin.
The use of moringa is generally considered safe and to date no studies have reported side effects following its intake (Stohs et al, Phytother Res, 2015). In any case, given the hypotensive and antidiabetic action, if you are taking drugs for blood pressure and blood sugar, ask your doctor for advice to avoid interactions.