Moringa: Understanding, Health Benefits, Side Effects and Risks


Moringa, a tree for multiple potential medicinal benefits is an increasingly popular supplement in the U.S. available in a variety of forms moringa is most often consumed as moringa leaf powder in an effort to address health concerns ranging from headaches and diarrhea to anemia and diabetes. Also known as the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree or the horseradish tree people have used moringa for centuries due to its health benefits. In this article find out what moringa is, which benefits it might offer and possible side effects. For more research you can also visit WebMD.

What is Moringa?

A member of the Moringaceae family, it is a tree native to India and Africa. While there are 13 species of moringa, It oleifera is the most commonly used due to its nutritional profile according to Su-Nui Escobar a registered dietician with a doctorate in clinical nutrition based in Miami. The leaves, seeds, pod husks, flowers, bark and stems of moringa plants all are usable. Research suggests it contains a number of useful bioactive compounds, including carbohydrates, functional peptides, tannins, folates and protein. It is a great source of multiple vitamins and minerals and healthy antioxidants, for example Laura Purdy, M.D., a board-certified family medicine physician based in Miami Beach, Florida.

What are Common Forms of Moringa?

It is most commonly available in the following formats:

  • Moringa leaf powder (commonly mixed into drinks or shakes)
  • Moringa supplements pills or capsules
  • Moringa seed oil
  • Moringa tea

Moringa oleifera leaves and seed pods are also regularly consumed as food around the world. The immature pods can be cooked and eaten like any other bean, for example Yelena Wheeler, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Los Angeles. The leaves are cooked and used within a meal. The rest can be dried in order to make a powder.

What are the Nutrients in Moringa?

Moringa contains many essential compounds, such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus

What are the Health Benefits of Moringa?

While it is neither approved nor regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the plant can reportedly provide a number of health benefits for its users.

Protecting and Nourishing Skin and Hairs:

Research conducted with animals has indicated that moringa seed oil could potentially accelerate the healing of skin wounds. One possible mechanism behind this effect is its ability to reduce oxidative stress. Additionally, some experts suggest that moringa seed oil may offer benefits for hair health.

Treating Edema:

Edema occurs when fluid accumulates in body tissues, often due to inflammation. Ear edema can result in tissues swelling around the ear typically due to an infection. In a study the application of moringa seed oil reduced skin inflammation in mice with ear edema. This indicates that the anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may aid in treating ear edema although further research is required.

Protecting the Liver:

Moringa may have the potential to safeguard the liver against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In a study, researchers provided guinea pigs with a diet containing moringa leaves. Those consuming a higher concentration of moringa exhibited lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as reduced inflammation in their liver.

Treating the Cancer:

Moringa contains properties that could potentially aid in cancer prevention. For instance it contains niazimicin, a compound known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. According to certain scientist extracts from various parts of the moringa plant, including the leaves and bark may possess properties capable of destroying cancer cells. If additional research validates these findings, they could have implications for the treatment or breast, liver, cholesterol, and other cancers.

Treating Stomach Upset:

Moringa extracts may offer potential treatment for certain stomach disorders. For example,

  • The fibrous pods can promote digestive health and potentially lower the risk of colon cancer.
  • Moringa leaves have demonstrated a laxative effect, suggesting they could be beneficial for relieving constipation.
  • In a study, moringa was found to decrease stomach acidity by approximately 85% indicating its potential to prevent peptic ulcers.
  • Moringa’s antibiotics and antibacterial properties may inhibit the growth of pathogens responsible for infections.
  • Maringa could aid in preventing ulcerative colitis due to its anti-inflammatory effects which may safeguard the digestive system from damage.

Preventing the Rheumatoid Arthritis:

According to the authors of a rodent study, moringa extract possesses anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially aid in preventing rheumatoid arthritis.

Treating Mood and Nervous System:

The antioxidant properties of moringa may offer protection against disorders that impact the nervous system, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, neuropathic pain, and depression. While scientists believe that moringa may possess neuropathic properties they have yet to determine the mechanisms behind these effects.

Protecting the Cardiovascular System:

Moringa contains various antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, including quercetin which may play a role in safeguarding cardiovascular health. Quercetin is believed to aid in preventing the formation of lipids and reducing inflammation, both of which are factors that can contribute to heart disease.

Vitamins and Minerals:

It in food form contains a number of essential vitamins like Escobar including vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D, and E. This super food is also a reliable source of iron and magnesium, she adds. It contains calcium and zinc as well.

Anti-Aging Properties:

A 2020 study in Frontiers in Nutrition suggests it contains a number of enzymes thought to help prevent the aging of the skin. It can be added to a facial treatment to be applied topically, explains Connie Pretula, a certified nutritional practitioner based in Vancouver British Columbia. Its leaves are high in plant polyphenols which make them high in antioxidants and means they provide anti-inflammatory benefits, says Pretula. They contain vitamins A and C which are both beneficial for the skin and studies show they can help to slow the aging process by reducing oxidative stress in the body.

Blood Sugar Management:

One 2020 study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine reports that when taken in powdered leaf form, it can help regulate blood sugar levels. While the study suggests that it may be effective in addressing diabetes specifically, more research is needed to prove its efficacy in relation to this condition.

Blood Pressure Management:

2020 research exploring the effects of moringa on blood pressure in participants who consumed large amounts of salt found the plant compound helped lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings within two hours of supplementation. However, more studies are needed before it can be officially recommended as a blood pressure management supplement.

Treating Asthma:

Moringa contains molecules that could potentially assist in managing or preventing asthma, bronchial constrictions and airway inflammation. In one study, researchers observed an improvement in the lung function of guinea pigs after administering a moringa extract.

Preventing Kidney Stones:

Some traditional remedies suggest using moringa to prevent kidney stones. Laboratory tests have indicated that moringa extracts may hinder the accumulation of minerals that lead to kidney stone formation. However, further research is necessary to substantiate this application.

Improving the Eye Health:

It contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is crucial for maintaining eye health and preventing eye diseases.

Treating Anemia and Sickle Cell Disease:

In some regions people have traditionally utilized moringa to treat and prevent anemia. Laboratory tests have indicated that consuming moringa as food or medication might also assist in managing sickle cell disease. This is attributed to its antioxidant properties, chelating activity, which aids in removing excess iron, and other factors.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can potentially help fight off diseases and illnesses. Studies suggest it may have a positive effect on the immune system by balancing inflammation in the body and eliminating pathogens like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.

What are the Side Effects and Risks of Moringa?

Moringa seems to have few or no side effects. Nevertheless, anyone contemplating the use of moringa should consult a doctor, as it may interact with other medications. It’s important for people to always  read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions. While its consumption is generally considered safe it can lead to a number of side effects and pose potential risks to certain populations.

Diarrhea and Gastric Issues:

Consuming excessive amounts of it can cause gastrointestinal distress likely due to its leaves’ high iron content.


It occurs when there’s an excess of iron in the body which can damage the heart, liver and pancreas. It contains iron, taking too much of the supplement could result in hemochromatosis or cause problems for those who already have the condition.

Adverse Condition:

It is thought to affect the way some medications are processed by the liver meaning that the efficacy or breakdown of certain drugs may be altered by the supplement which can also potentially cause liver damage. Whether it might potentially interact with any other medications you’re taking.

Blood Sugar Variations:

It may have an effect on blood sugar levels in the body. It may be dangerous if taken by people with diabetes who already take insulin. Furthermore, pregnant people should avoid taking it because studies have yet to explore whether the herbal supplement could lead to adverse effects in this population.

Does Moringa Help with Weight Loss?

Research suggests that moringa extract may assist in managing various factors associated with obesity. Potential benefits for individuals with obesity include:

  • Preventing inflammation
  • Managing lipids
  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Protecting the liver

However, there is no evidence to suggest that moringa can aid in weight loss.


What are the negative effects of moringa?

Does moringa have side effects? Moringa is a powerful plant and when consumed in large quantities some people may experience stomach upset, abdominal pain or other digestive issues. If you’re pregnant or nursing avoid consuming moringa as the chemicals found in the root bark and flowers can be harmful.

What happens if you take moringa everyday?

Consuming it everyday may lead to modest reductions in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Its leaves are highly nutritious and can be consumed everyday which proves to be highly beneficial for people who are lacking in essential nutrients.

How much moringa is safe per day?

How much should I take per day? About 500mg of moringa leaf extract or 3g of moringa seeds can be consumed per day. It can be taken directly in the powder form used to make tea or consumed as fresh vegetables.

Is moringa good for the kidney?

It is rich in antioxidants which can help protect the kidneys from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Anti-inflammatory effects chronic inflammation is common in kidney failure.

Can moringa cause weakness?

It is said to increase energy levels of the body, giving relief from tiredness and fatigue. Moringa leaves being rich in iron help in reducing weakness and drowsiness.

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