Moringa in South Africa
Moringa in South Africa is intended to be an intensive but by no means exhaustive discourse into the subject of Moringa and its use as a supplement in South Africa. We have written this article for consumption by the layperson with little or no knowledge of the subject, but who has an interest in either merely finding out more, or who are looking for the best option for themselves or others. For this purpose, we have kept medical and scientific jargon to a minimum, but we have included explanations for the terms that we have used.
What is Moringa?
Moringa oleifera, also known as the drumstick tree or the horseradish tree is a fast-growing deciduous tree that is highly resistant to drought. Native to the sub-Himalayan region which includes India and Pakistan, Moringa also grows well in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The leaves are particularly rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, while the pods generally have a lower vitamin and mineral content in comparison.
Moringa leaves are known to contain several antioxidant compounds, including:
- Vitamin C: a water-soluble antioxidant that promotes the repair and regeneration of tissues, protect against heart disease, and prevents scurvy.
- Beta-carotene: is a precursor of vitamin A (retinol), which we need for healthy skin and mucous membranes. It supports the immune system in addition to eye health and vision.
- Quercetin: a flavonoid antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system.
- Chlorogenic acid: present in coffee, it is believed to moderate blood sugar levels after meals.
Moringa leaf powder may even be used as a food preservative, as it reduces the oxidation of meat. In 2008, the US National Institute of Health named Moringa the “Botanical of the Year” in celebration of Earth Day.
What are the Health Benefits of Moringa?
The health benefits of moringa include relief from allergies, stomach disorders and oedema. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties which help to build a robust immune system and is rich in phytonutrients; it is useful in preventing and combating conditions such as cancer, asthma, sickle cell disease, anaemia, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Moringa is also an antioxidant, and aids in cardiovascular and bone health, liver and eye protection, diabetes, urolithiasis, wound healing and healthy skin and hair. For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, check out our article The Health Benefits of Moringa.
Moringa is grown cheaply and easily, and the dried leaves have a high vitamin and mineral content, making it an essential food source in many parts of the world. As a food source, the leaves are cooked like spinach; the immature pods also called drumsticks are cooked like green beans and the seeds are cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. As a supplement, moringa leaves are typically dried and powdered to be consumed as a powder which can also be used as a condiment or in capsule form.
Moringa oil which is a rich source of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, oleic acid and behenic acid, is obtained by cold-pressing or solvent extraction of the seeds. The remaining seed cake left after extraction can be used as a fertiliser, to purify well water and even to remove salt from seawater.
Moringa is used to treat various ailments such as anaemia, arthritis and rheumatism, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart problems and high blood pressure as well as bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections. It is useful as an antiseptic to kill germs and as an astringent to dry out wounds. Moringa is also used as an anti-inflammatory, an immune system booster, a libido booster, to prevent pregnancy, to increase breast milk production, and as a nutritional supplement.
Most parts of the moringa tree are edible, with the nutrient value of the various parts of the tree varying extensively. The most widely consumed parts of the tree include the immature seed pods, also known as “drumsticks”, the leaves which are often dried, the mature seeds and the flowers.
The most nutritious part of the plant are the leaves, which are a significant source of A, B, C and K vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, and of course protein, amongst many other crucial nutrients. The leaves are cooked or dried and crushed into a powder.
The immature seed pods often called “drumsticks”, are cooked until soft, and remain exceptionally high in vitamin C, even after cooking. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre, in addition to their high mineral content, including magnesium, manganese and potassium.
The seeds are typically removed from the pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The seeds are a significant source of vitamin C and a modest source of B vitamins, in addition to their mineral content. The seeds also yield an edible oil that is clear and odourless and called ben oil as a result of their high content of behenic acid.
The roots, which have a high content of polyphenols, giving them a sharp, tart taste, are often shredded and used as a condiment.
Moringa Product Types
Moringa powder is perhaps the most widely used form of moringa as a supplement, and it can be used in salads, smoothies or as a condiment.
Moringa capsules are typically composed of the powder in a capsule form, making them a convenient type of supplement for those on the go.
Moringa tea is made of dried, shredded leaves in a tea bag form. It’s best not to make the tea using boiling water as this tends to destroy many of the beneficial nutrients.
Moringa oil with its moisturising and healing properties isn’t often consumed as much as used in skin and hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, face scrubs, cleansing balms and stretch mark creams.
Where Can I Buy Moringa?
Buy Moringa Online
You can purchase Moringa products from our online store, and we will courier your package to any location in South Africa. For international customers, select the ‘Quote for Worldwide Shipping’ option at the checkout. Take a look at our most popular Moringa products below.