Moringa: WTF is Moringa?
Moringa grows on trees! It’s true. It does. It’s also green. If you haven’t heard of this, somewhat controversial, product yet we will give you a little rundown. You’ll get it all here, the pros, the cons and everything in between. We will also tell you our final thoughts about it. It’s important that when you hear about new things like this, you do your research and get all the information first, before going in all willy-nilly like and getting yourself wholeheartedly wrapped up in it – Head over heels in love with Moringa!
Because it’s new.
We’ll be honest with you from the start about it: some things we like; some things we don’t.
Moringa is a powdery, green substance that kind of resembles a protein powder, or Spirulina – But it’s not the same. The substance comes from the roots of the tree of the same name, and this part of the plant can be used to make tea. The trunk of the Moringa tree is also used to extract juice, which can be used on your skin, for healing. The seeds, on the other hand, are filled with oil, which can be used in cooking or as a topical ointment for your skin. They call Moringa the tree of life – here’s why.
Research and Experimentation has been conducted in underprivileged communities, in relation to proper nutrition and purification of water supplies. The procedure involved having people living in these areas, grow their own trees and ingest the ‘Moringa,’ produced from said trees, three times per day. The results were positive; Children were noted to have more energy. They gained weight and showed physical development, providing evidence that Moringa does have an effect on nutrition. Similarly, their moods were notably improved. It is important to note, however, that this improvement in mood is based on observation, without supporting test data to back up the claim. The conclusion is that Moringa is shown as an effective supplement to help restore the health of malnourished children. In addition, Moringa was used in the same, poverty stricken areas, to help clean the water, and make it drinkable. It was concluded that Moringa helps to purify water, resulting in a cleaner drinking supply – Pretty impressive.
What’s also interesting is that Moringa is a multipurpose supplement, that provides a good supply of vitamins, especially Vitamin A. Even more impressive, is the fact that this supplement provides you with 18 of the 20 Amino Acids, and it contains all 9 of the Essential Amino Acids. Essential means that you need to take these in through food because your body cannot produce them on its own. So, that’s also a major upside to Moringa. For the other two out of the 20, your body can make those itself = not that impressive. And that’s the problem that we’re having with Moringa; it’s a new health and wellness product, and you will find a lot of conflicting information about its use. We tend to go a little back and forth with it. Read our list and see if you will come to the same conclusion as we did – It’s good measure to weigh the pros and cons to make a decision.
What do you think? Do Moringa’s Side Effects Outweigh Its Benefits?
Benefits of Moringa – PROS
Nutrients – Moringa is jam-packed with Vitamins and antioxidants.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants are beneficial because they protect our bodies against damaging free radicals – The bad stuff, remember? Free radicals lead to all kinds of nasty, such as, damage to cells, impaired immune system functioning and disease. Basically, antioxidants help to remove toxins and impurities from your body, improving its functioning, and overall, health(y) state.
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps to improve the condition of your skin, and improves immune system functioning, assisting your body in preventing stroke and disease.
- Vitamin B – For good skin, vision and healthy hair, take your B-Vitamins. B-Vitamins are also great for assisting in proper digestion, and they help with brain functioning, as well. We are all about pushing B12 on all of you Vegetarians and Vegan readers, so we will stress it again here. You need them if you are not eating meat. B12 makes a huge difference in your energy levels, and it prevents anemia. It’s our favorite Vitamin for Veggies, hands down – Get on it!
- Vitamin C – For supported tissue growth and good, oral health (i.e. gums), Vitamin C is necessary. This vitamin also helps to improve immune system functioning and helps to detoxify your body. It is also beneficial for healthy brain functioning.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is necessary in allowing your body to absorb Calcium, which is important for preventing osteoporosis and good bone health. It is also good for those pearly whites, your cardiovascular and immune systems. Vitamin D can help to support Thyroid function, as well, which in turn helps to regulate your metabolism.
- Vitamin K – Vitamin K is necessary for helping your body to repair itself. It can also help to prevent anemia. K-Vitamins are good for supporting the lymphatic system, and it also supports organ functioning (i.e. it helps to protect them). So, it’s an important one too.
- Iron – Iron is great for healthy hair, nails and skin. It can help to improve anxiety symptoms, as well. However, too much is not a good thing, and an excess of Iron can lead to problems over time.
- Magnesium – For improved mood and increased strength, Magnesium is important. It also supports the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and can help to alleviate PMS symptoms. An added benefit is that it contributes to a more restful sleep.
- Zinc – This is the one that’s good for your skin. We have information all over our site about it. (See our articles about Oils)
- Reduces Inflammation – If you have allergies or infections, inflammation can result, as a reaction to these. Moringa has anti-inflammatory properties, that can help to reduce or control inflammation, including any redness and irritation that you might be experiencing, as a result.
- Reduces Cholesterol – Moringa blocks bad cholesterol and benefits your circulatory system by protecting it. Some companies claim that there have been improvements in consumer’s Cholesterol levels, within rapid time frames. These claims are a bit hard to believe.
- Increased Energy – Moringa produces an increase in energy levels, similar to that of drinking caffeine or other stimulants. This is attributed to the high nutrient value of the powder, the B12, especially. ← Told you so!
The Gray Area
Moringa for Weight Loss
The story about Moringa as a weight loss product goes like this – Moringa is being sold as an herb from the “Moringa Plant,” and it’s being marketed as an herb that is native to India and Uganda. The claims are that it is an effective weight loss tool that helps you reduce your appetite, increase your metabolism and improve your mood. Weight loss advice includes drinking this herb in the form of a tea. Added benefits include an improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. improved digestion for weight loss) as well as a stimulant effect (i.e. improved energy and increased metabolism). Claims for weight loss also draw on its effectiveness within your cardiovascular system, meaning that it gives a boost to those who are not physically active.
Decision: We disagree – Here’s the argument.
There are no proven results on any research conducted on Morigna’s effectiveness, as a weight loss supplement. We also don’t condone trickery for losing weight. Health & Wellness is a lifestyle that requires daily attention to making good choices and incorporating a wholistic approach to your health. We don’t condone focusing on one, single product as a weight loss “trick.” In terms of weight loss, we feel that this sounds like more of a gimmick, than a natural wellness product, and when you start to examine the adverse effects of Moringa, it gets a little scary.
Side Effects of Moringa – CONS
There are some side effect of Moringa that are a bit alarming. While only the leaves are recommended for use, people are using other parts of the Moringa tree, and complications have resulted in those who are eating the seeds. Regular use of the powder, itself, is deemed safe; however, larger doses have been noted to cause problems. The consequences are severe, if not life threatening – A little alarming.
Here are the side effects.
- Addiction – People can become addicted to Moringa. Some people who use Moringa, will chew the seeds (‘gimme some chaw’), or add their Moringa to alcohol (Whoopi-Do)! These practices are not recommended, and may lead to addiction.
- Seeds – The consumption of Moringa seeds is not recommended. Ingestion of the seeds has been known to result in damages to the digestive system, as well as organ damage, over an extended time-frame. Use of the seeds has also been linked to problems within the Lymphatic System, which can cause serious health problems. Seed extract (i.e. The Oil) has been found to be toxic.
- Root & Extracts – The roots of the Moringa tree are toxic. Consumption of products, derived from the root can result in very severe consequences.
- Pregnancy & Breast Feeding – While research and studies on the effectiveness of Moringa, involved pregnant and nursing women as research subjects, results have shown that its use may cause contractions in the uterus. These contractions can result in miscarriages.
While the powder is safe, in small quantities, in larger doses, Moringa can cause problems. Our final thought is this: If you have to worry about the adverse effects of a health & wellness product, it’s probably neither a health nor a wellness product.
Conclusion – The Benefits Do Not Seem to Outweigh the Side Effects
More research and conclusive evidence is needed to decide whether the benefits outweigh the side effects. Long term studies will probably point to stronger conclusions and provide proof about Moringa’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness. We do like that there are many benefits, and more benefits than side effects are listed. However, at least for now, we suggest adding all of these healthy vitamins and nutrients into your diet through other, safer alternatives. Oils are good (the non-toxic, non-labor inducing kind), so are multi-vitamins, and so is FOOD!
You can get a lot of Vitamins and Minerals from eating a variety of foods, and making sure that you get your 5-10 a day in – fruits and veggies. They’re important! Studies show that the leaves of Moringa are safe for most people, and it contains a high density of nutrients. However, don’t use it if you have a compromised immune system or other health conditions, and avoid it like the plague if you are pregnant!
Sage Advice: As always… Ask your Doctor first.
There is also a lot of conflicting information out there. Some of the benefits that it is claimed to have are also represented by others as negative side-effects. We won’t list those because it can confuse readers; however, over the long run, some of the benefits can turn into problems with extended use.
Final Word of Advice: It’s an interesting new discovery, but we recommend waiting to try it, until there is more conclusive evidence and long term studies.
There are a lot of great benefits that we saw, listed above, in relation to Moringa. However, you can get a lot of the same benefits from other health & wellness products, and what you can’t get from a few good vitamins and oils as supplements, you will probably get through diet and exercise. In addition to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, in general, we recommend the following, simple suggestions.
- Take a Multi-vitamin – A really good Multivitamin will have you covered for most of your Vitamins and minerals. So read your label, make sure you have found a good one, and take it daily, to ensure your basics are met.
- Choose Clean Oils – It’s important to get in a really good oil, and use it daily – Just one Tbsp. per day will provide you with a ton of Vitamins and Minerals and keep your hair and skin healthy too. We really like Sesame Seed Oil, Safflower Oil and Olive Oil. You can use them in your cooking or on your salad, and you will see a noticeable difference in your health and the way you feel.
- B12 for Vegetarians & Vegans – If you aren’t eating meat, you need to supplement with B12. All of the choices on the shelf have more than the RDA, but if you aren’t eating meat, you are likely deficient, anyway. So get a good one, and stick with it. Your energy will soar and your hair will thank you. You’ll thank yourself too because your mood will improve, and you’ll be a nicer person to be around.
- Take Spirulina – Moringa is good for brain function (e.g. mood, memory), but so is Spirulina, and Spirulina has none of the side effects that Moringa does, so it’s a safer alternative.
- Vitamin K – The only Vitamin that we don’t have covered in our suggestions for other health & wellness essentials, is Vitamin K. So, if you think you’re missing something by skipping the Moringa, you can just buy a Vitamin K supplement. However, it’s not completely necessary, since your Multivitamin already has some. To get the rest of your RDA in, just make sure you include 2 cups of dark, green veggies in your diet per day. Examples include: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts or a large, dinner sized Salad (make it with Spinach or Darker Greens, like Kale).
And that’s it!
Think Outside the Box – We Like Matcha Powder!
Have you heard of Matcha Powder? That’s the powdery, green stuff that they throw into your specialty teas, when you’re acting like a Big Spender. It looks almost the same as Moringa, but without any of the adverse side effects. So, we recommend switching to this, instead. A lot of the benefits are similar. Here, we’ll show you how they compare:
- Immune System Support
- Improves Brain Functioning (Memory and Mood)
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Antioxidant (i.e. Detox Powder)
- Increased Metabolism
The only difference between Moringa and Matcha that we can see, on the positive side, is that Matcha doesn’t have as many Vitamins. However, if you are committed to your dailies, in other words, taking your Multivitamins, Eating Properly and supplementing with your Oils, you have everything covered, and you don’t have to worry about becoming a closet alcoholic, who’s chucking green seeds into her gin and tonic, when you’re pregnant and breast feeding, Moron-ga.
Thoughts: Use Matcha Instead
Really, it’s so good as an additive to your tea, especially your green tea. It gives you a boost, and you can use it to make delicious, Green-Tea Smoothies!
Give Us A Recipe!
Using a Blender
-fill a cup full of ice
-Add in 1 Cup of Soy or Almond Milk
-Add in 1 Tsp. of Vanilla
-1 Tbsp. of Tapioca Pudding Powder
-Add in 2 tsp. Matcha – or throw in a Tbsp if you like it so much. Hey! It’s non-toxic – It won’t hurt you!
Blend it all together, and pour it into a glass. Add a straw, and sip on it while you work. This will give you a steady supply of energy, while you finish up whatever you’re doing.
To Health & Happiness