The moringa tree has several intriguing nicknames. It is called horseradish tree because of the sharp flavor of its roots. People noted the long, thin bean pods and called it drumstick tree. Because of its medicinal uses, some call it the miracle tree. Researchers are looking into its potential health benefits. One of the easiest ways to enjoy this interesting plant is in the form of moringa tea.
The best-known moringa, Moringa oleifera, grows in the Himalayan foothills. Other varieties are native to Africa. Because it grows rapidly, the moringa tree could be a valuable crop for cultivation in many parts of the world. The beans, root, seeds, and leaves all have practical uses. The leaves are boiled and eaten like spinach and dried for tea. You can also make tea using moringa powder.
Moringa tea does not have a lot of nutritive value. One moringa tea bag contains:
- Calories: 0
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1 grams
- Fiber: 1 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Moringa leaves are an excellent source of vitamin C, but they lose most of that vitamin during drying. The dried leaves contain:
- Vitamin A
Potential Health Benefits of Moringa Tea
Most scientific investigations of moringa are lab investigations or animal studies. More research is needed to prove the health benefits of moringa for humans.
In animal studies, moringa extract has improved heart health. In one study, moringa lowered cholesterol and reduced the formation of plaque in arteries. It acted in a manner similar to a statin drug.
Moringa tea could help people with diabetes regulate their blood glucose levels. Many studies have shown positive results with animals. Human studies have been less consistent. Some show that moringa consumption can lower glucose levels after meals. Researchers say that differences between moringa varieties and preparation methods could cause differing results.
In a lab study, moringa slowed the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells and improved the effect of chemotherapy drugs. Researchers state that moringa is well-tolerated by lab animals. More studies are needed to prove the effectiveness and safety of moringa for people with cancer.
In an animal study, moringa leaf extract had positive effects on brain chemistry. Researchers concluded that moringa should be investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
Protection Against Chronic Disease
The leaves of the moringa tree contain several compounds that can stave off chronic disease. These substances include polyphenols, tannins, saponins, and others. Besides combating heart disease, liver damage, and diabetes, these compounds also fight chronic inflammation.
Potential Risks of Moringa Tea
Both animal and human studies have shown moringa to be generally safe. Still, moringa products could pose a risk to some individuals. Before you use moringa tea, consider these potential health risks:
Moringa can decrease the effectiveness of at least one diabetes drug. It can increase the side effects of other drugs. If you take medications, talk to your doctor before drinking moringa tea.
In animal studies, moringa has inhibited reproduction. The bark of the moringa tree has been linked to a risk of miscarriage. Although moringa tea is not made from bark, pregnant women should avoid moringa altogether.
Interaction with Chemotherapy
Moringa has been shown to boost the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs. Still, those undergoing chemotherapy should not use herbal products unless they ask their doctor first. Herbs can interact with chemotherapy drugs.