Since centuries, the world has been consuming plants & herbs in multiple applications such as eating them raw and using them in foods, pharmaceuticals to curing and preventing diseases and other unfathomable uses.
One such versatile plant/herb is Moringa Oleifera with miraculous medicinal and therapeutic values used in alleviating and managing various diseases as per multiple scientific published researches in various international journals. Moringa Oleifera is indigenous to Indian subcontinent, however, due to its great benefits, it has now gradually grown in part of Africa, Asia & Europe & Caribbean. As per a study, since 150 B.C., moringa has been used for health benefits in diets. As described by Carlos Martin from Cuba in his study with his colleagues, “different application fields of Moringa oleifera are presented in the light of the increasing scientific interest it has generated in recent years”.
The cultivation of medicinal plants such as moringa is significant, as the phytochemicals and biochemicals in plants would widely vary according to the key parameters like plant species, plant age, harvest seasons, and by other factors that affect tree development, such as soil nutrients, geographical location, and climate conditions. Moringa tree best grows in semi-arid tropical and sub-tropical regions. The favourable temperatures for moringa growth are between 25 and 35 C.
Nutritionally, Moringa is highly densed with micronutrients and macronutrients, biochemicals. Also, in a study, it has been corroborated that moringa possess anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, oxidative DNA damage protective, antiperoxidative, and cardio protective effects. Various functionally bioactive components present in moringa herb helps to attributes these properties. These components are flavonoids, alkaloids, natural sugars. Moringa is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phenolic acids and phytosterols. As per the research, all the parts of the plant hold several medicinal values, however, leaves are thought to have hold the highest medicinal value in the miracle tree.
- Nutritional & health benefits of moringa for combating diseases including Sars- cov
In India, the Ayurvedic medicine contemplated the use of this plant for cure, prevention and treating “more than 300 diseases” as mentioned in (Martín, et al., 2013).
In a study carried by (Silva, et al., 2014) to understand the benefits of moringa oleifera, it is noted that the moringa plant contains various amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients glucosinolates and phenolics (flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanides and cinnamates).
As various reports states and our practical experience being in moringa business and getting the lab test results for the nutritional profile, it can be easily mentioned that moringa leaves powder contain nutrients, minerals, vitamins, which are not easily seen in other ethnomedicinal plants. The protein content of more than 24% in a plant source is not easy to be found along with the combination of all the amino acids. In a study found that the three most abundant amino acids were glutamic acid, arginine, and aspartic acid. They concluded, in their study, that moringa oleifera is a nonconventional plant with substantial nutritional values.
“As per Indian belief in ayurvedic science, moringa leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes & blood hypertension. Popular anecdotes from African nations also reports several cases of miraculous cure of diabetes & hypertension using remedies prepared from this plant” (Martín, et al., 2013).
A scientific study by (Chumark, et al., 2008) has shown the hypolipidemic properties of Moringa. For example, the hypolipidemic effect of Moringa leaves was investigated in rabbits fed with high-cholesterol diet for 3 months. Daily consumption of moringa leaf extract (100 mg/kg bw) significantly decreased cholesterol levels by 50% and atherosclerotic plaque formation in internal carotid by 86.52% in the rats compared to control group. These observed effects were like simvastatin (reference drug) treated group (5 mg/kg bw).
Myricetin is a bioflavonoid which “showed excellent antiviral effect against hepatitis B virus, influenza virus, and/or coronavirus” as quoted by (Q & X, 2005) in (R., et al., 2010). While attempting to connect the antiviral properties of myricetin with other studies, (Semwal, et al., 2016) corroborated that “the compound was reported to display activity against the SARS-coronavirus, a causative agent for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and inhibited the coronavirus helicase protein
- Moringa in functional foods & grassy taste
The taste of moringa leaf powder is grassy as per our primary experiment to taste it by mixing one tablespoon of USDA certified organic moringa leaf powder in one glass of water. One of the potential clients of ‘Terry Exports LLP’, a leading Moringa products exports oriented firm in India, discussed on the altering the taste of moringa leaf powder by addition of natural sugars like stevia leaf powder, coconut milk powder and mango extracts to lessen the effect of grassy taste. Other client of Terry Exports LLP, in the USA intend to make a ready to go energy beverage to reach out to the natural beverages target audience. There has been no major evidence that changing the taste of moringa to make it sweeter shall be accepted by the wider consumer base and therefore primary market research needs to be conducted for the retail brands.
Moringa leaves & powder are known to have significant impact on the lactating mothers and infants of the age 0-6 months as studied in (Zakaria, et al., 2018). Leaf extracts containing various micronutrients such as iron, vitamin C and E and other phytochemical compounds directly affect the increase in the volume of breast milk, so as not to have iron deficiency, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and B vitamins (Zakaria, et al., 2018). In addition to micronutrients in moringa leaf extract, it also contains macro nutrients such as protein & energy that potentially impacts on the weight gain of the infant. As a conclusion of the study by (Zakaria, et al., 2018), the consumption of moringa leaf extracts by breastfeeding mothers may contribute to the nutritional status of the infants at 4 months of age based on the body weight index of the infants and not as much to the infants of 6 months of age.
- Quality of moringa for sourcing by food companies
Genetic variation, environmental factors, post-harvest handling and different means of food preparation influence the nutritional and functional qualities of moringa (Yang, et al., 2006). From our experience and as multiple reports suggest while seeing the quality of moringa leaf powder. Broadly, there are two major parameters that should be analysed one is microbiological report which tells the health of moringa including the heavy metals and the life process of developing the moringa powder from sowing the seeds to cultivating the moringa to plucking and drying the leaves after washing with herbal water at normal room temperature to processing the powder, and second is nutritional report which describes how nutritionally dense the moringa is. As stated by Dipankar Verma, Managing Partner of Terry Exports LLP, one of the most trusted Moringa Leaf Powder, Oil and Seeds exporters in India, there are lot other parameters like geography, soil, climate, location of farms, handling and packaging which would impact the quality of moringa. Production of moringa is majorly concentrated only in India and some parts of Africa. Due to its geographical limitations in production, demand across the world can only be fulfilled by export, which is an offline process”. As per the report, market is expected to register a CAGR 9.3% to reach USD 7.9 billion by 2025. The report states that the market shall grow at a considerable rate than the last few years, due to the much benefits of the miracle tree on human health. Moreover, the findings of the report suggest that the demand of organic certified moringa products is rising, especially in Europe, which has created the opportunities for the growth of the market. This is in contrary to our business experience as we have been seeing significant surge in the interest of moringa products from the USA, Australia, Brazil, Qatar, South Korea, Philippines, and other countries besides Europe.