Drumstick Tree

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What other names is Moringa known by?

Arango, Árbol de las Perlas, Behen, Ben Ailé, Ben Nut Tree, Ben Oléifère, Benzolive, Canéficier de l'Inde, Chinto Borrego, Clarifier Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Indian Horseradish, Jacinto, Kelor Tree, Malunggay, Marango, Mlonge, Moringa oleifera, Moringa pterygosperma, Moringe de Ceylan, Mulangay, Murungakai, Narango, Nebeday, Paraíso Blanco, Perla de la India, Pois Quénique, Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna, San Jacinto, Shagara al Rauwaq, Shigru, Terebinto.

What is Moringa?

Moringa is a plant that is native to areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It is also grown in the tropics. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine.

Moringa is taken by mouth for "tired blood" (anemia), arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism), asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, seizures, stomach pain, stomach and intestinal ulcers, intestinal spasms, headache, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney stones, symptoms of menopause, thyroid disorders, and infections.

Moringa is also taken by mouth to reduce swelling, as an antioxidant, to prevent spasms, increase sex drive (as an aphrodisiac), prevent pregnancy, boost the immune system, and increase breast milk production. Some people use it as a nutritional supplement or tonic. It is also used as a "water pill" (diuretic).

Moringa is sometimes applied directly to the skin as a germ-killer or drying agent (astringent). It is also applied to the skin for treating pockets of infection (abscesses), athlete's foot, dandruff, gum disease (gingivitis), snakebites, warts, and wounds.

Oil from moringa seeds is used in foods, perfume, and hair care products, and as a machine lubricant.

Moringa is an important food source in some parts of the world. Because it can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves retain lots of vitamins and minerals when dried, moringa is used in India and Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition. The immature green pods (drumsticks) are prepared similarly to green beans, while the seeds are removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach, and they are also dried and powdered for use as a condiment.

The seed cake remaining after oil extraction is used as a fertilizer and also to purify well water and to remove salt from seawater.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

    TAKEN BY MOUTH:
  • Asthma. Early research shows that taking 3 grams of moringa twice daily for 3 weeks reduces the severity of asthma symptoms and improves lung function in adults with mild to moderate asthma.
  • Diabetes. Early research shows that taking moringa tablets along with a type medicine called sulfonylureas does not improve blood sugar control better than taking sulfonylureas alone in people with diabetes.
  • Increasing breast milk production. Research regarding the effects of moringa for increasing breast milk production is conflicting. Some early research shows that moringa increases milk production, while other early research shows no benefit. An analysis of data from five clinical studies shows that moringa moderately increases milk product after one week of use when started on postpartum day 3. But it's not clear if moringa is beneficial when used for longer periods of time.
  • Malnutrition. Early research shows that adding moringa powder to food for 2 months helps improve weight in malnourished children.
  • Menopausal symptoms. Early research shows that adding fresh moringa leaves to food for 3 months improves menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and sleeping problems in healthy, postmenopausal women.
  • "Tired blood" (anemia).
  • Arthritis.
  • As a nutritional supplement.
  • Birth control.
  • Cancer.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Headache.
  • Heart problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Increasing sex drive.
  • Infections.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Stomach and intestinal ulcers.
  • Stomach pain (gastritis).
  • Swelling (inflammation).
  • Stimulating immunity.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Other conditions.
  • APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • Athlete's foot..
  • Dandruff.
  • Gum disease (gingivitis).
  • Warts.
  • Skin infections.
  • Snakebites.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate moringa for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Moringa work?

Moringa contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals. As an antioxidant, it seems to help protect cells from damage. Moringa may also help decrease inflammation and reduce pain.

Are there safety concerns?

Moringa is LIKELY SAFE when the leaves, fruit, and seeds are eaten as food. Moringa leaf and seeds are POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as medicine, short term. Products containing moringa leaf have been used with apparent safety for up to 90 days. Products containing moringa seed have been used with apparent safety for up to 3 weeks. Moringa root and root extracts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. The roots contain spirochin, a toxic substance.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: It's POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use the root, bark, or flowers of moringa if you are pregnant. Chemicals in the root, bark, and flowers might make the uterus contract. In traditional medicine the root and bark were used to cause miscarriages. There is not enough information available about the safety of using other parts of moringa during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Breast-feeding: Moringa is sometimes used to increase breast milk production. It seems to be safe for the mother when taken for several days. But there isn't enough information to know if it is safe for the nursing infant. Therefore, it is best to avoid moringa if you are breast-feeding.

Children: Moringa leaf is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, short-term. Moringa leaf has been used with apparent safety in children for up to 2 months.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Levothyroxine
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Levothyroxine is used for low thyroid function. Moringa might decrease how much levothyroxine your body absorbs. Taking moringa along with levothyroxine might decrease the effectiveness of levothyroxine.

Some brands that contain levothyroxine include Armour Thyroid, Eltroxin, Estre, Euthyrox, Levo-T, Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid, and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Moringa might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking moringa along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking moringa, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Moringa might lower blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking moringa along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Moringa might lower blood pressure. It has the potential to add to blood pressure lowering effects of antihypertensive drugs.

Some medications used to lower blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Dosing considerations for Moringa.

The appropriate dose of moringa depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for moringa. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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