Moringa Oleifera Newsletter Piece Nov Dec 2009

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Recognizing the Nutritional Value and Evidence of Moringa oleifera

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Moringa Oleifera Newsletter Piece Nov Dec 2009

  1. 1. Volume 2, Issue 8, Nov/Dec 2009 Recognizing the Nutritional Value & Evidence of Moringa oleifera By: Charles Spielholz, Ph.D. M oringa oleifera is a cultivated vegetable tree. Native to northwest India, it is now grown in Africa, Central and South America, Mexico, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and India. All parts of the tree are edible. The tree does well in drought conditions making it an important source of nutrients in many societies. Moringa oleifera is an excellent nutritional source (1-5). The plant is an excellent source of protein, vitamins A and C, B vitamins, calcium and a small amount of iron. Protein isolated from Moringa oleifera contains a large number of essential amino acids (those amino acids required in the human diet) thus making Moringa oleifera a good choice as a protein source for vegetarians. Moringa oleifera also contains a variety of less well known phytochemicals including isothiocyanates, alkaloids, β-sistosterol and quercetin. Based on the phytochemical composition of Moringa oleifera, several avenues of research are underway. These avenues of research include Moringa oleifera’s potential value for © Copyright 2009 Nutraceutical Medical Research, LLC – All Rights Reserved. 1
  2. 2. Volume 2, Issue 8, Nov/Dec 2009 the relief of pain and inflammation, as an antiseptic against viral and fungal infections, as a potential source of novel chemotherapy agents, and also for possible cardio-protective properties. Extracts of Moringa oleifera appear to have properties that decrease inflammation. Further preliminary observations have indicated that Moringa oleifera may relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis in laboratory animals (6.7). There is also early stage evidence, again in laboratory animals, that Moringa oleifera may decrease the physiological events that up to an asthmatic attack (8-10). Mechanistically, it appears that Moringa oleifera’s beneficial effects on both pain and inflammation may occur by decreasing the ability of inflammatory cytokines to function. However, much more research is needed before Moringa oleifera can be considered as a candidate for alleviating inflammation or any of the physiological causes of arthritis and/or asthma in humans. In the laboratory, Moringa oleifera has shown antiseptic properties against viral and fungal infection (11-15). Extracts of Moringa oleifera inhibited the activity of several strains of the virus Herpes simplex type 1 in laboratory mice. Extracts of Moringa oleifera have also inhibited the growth of fungi that infect the skin, hair and nails including fungi that cause athlete’s foot, jock itch, ring worm, scalp ringworm and Malabar itch. Clinical trials are needed, © Copyright 2009 Nutraceutical Medical Research, LLC – All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. Volume 2, Issue 8, Nov/Dec 2009 however, before claims can be made regarding a role for Moringa oleifera in these or other infections. Some of the phytochemicals in Moringa oleifera appear to be able to inhibit the growth and increase the death rate of cancer cells maintained in cell culture in the laboratory (16,17). This preliminary observation of possible chemotherapeutic activity in Moringa oleifera requires additional research and testing, and if those results prove interesting, clinical trials would be necessary before any Moringa oleifera components can be used as chemotherapeutic agents. Preliminary experimental studies in rabbits and mice indicate that Moringa oleifera may have cardiovascular benefits (18-20). Moringa oleifera appeared to improve the lipid profile and to cause decreases in cholesterol, triglyceride, phospholipid, VLDL and LDL levels as well as decreases in LDL oxidation and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. In addition, Moringa oleifera appeared to increase free radical scavenging activity. However, any proposed cardio- protective properties of Moringa oleifera must be subjected to additional study and rigorous clinical trials before any claims can be made regarding heart disease. © Copyright 2009 Nutraceutical Medical Research, LLC – All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. Volume 2, Issue 8, Nov/Dec 2009 Moringa oleifera has already been shown to be an excellent nutritional source. Moringa is commercially available as a supplement. One company, Ecovita (Rockleigh, NJ), has recently announced a new moringa product made from the leaves of the plant called Moringa Super Herb. Moringa Super Herb will be available in an easy to use capsule. Further research on this plant should provide evidence for health benefits in addition to nutrition. References 1) Seshadri S, Nambiar VS. 2003. Kanjero (Digera arvensis) and drumstick leaves (Moringa oleifera): nutrient profile and potential for human consumption. World Rev Nutr Diet. 91:41-59. 2) Lakshminarayana R, Raju M, Krishnakantha TP, Baskaran V. 2005. Determination of major carotenoids in a few Indian leafy vegetables by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Agric Food Chem. 53:2838-42. 3) Nambiar VS, Bhadalkar K, Daxini M. 2003. Drumstick leaves as source of vitamin A in ICDS-SFP. Indian J Pediatr. 70:383-7. 4) Lockett CT, Calvert CC, Grivetti LE. 2000. Energy and micronutrient composition of dietary and medicinal wild plants consumed during drought. Study of rural Fulani, northeastern Nigeria. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 51:195-208. 5) Barminas JT, Charles M, Emmanuel D. 1998. Mineral composition of non-conventional leafy vegetables. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 53:29-36. 6) Mahajan SG, Mali RG, Mehta AA. 2007. Protective Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Seeds of Moringa oleifera Lam. Against Inflammation Associated with Development of Arthritis in Rats. J Immunotoxicol. 4:39-47. 7) Sashidhara KV, Rosaiah JN, Tyagi E, Shukla R, Raghubir R, Rajendran SM. 2009. Rare dipeptide and urea derivatives from roots of Moringa oleifera as potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive agents. Eur J Med Chem. 44:432-6. © Copyright 2009 Nutraceutical Medical Research, LLC – All Rights Reserved. 4
  5. 5. Volume 2, Issue 8, Nov/Dec 2009 8) Mahajan SG, Mehta AA. 2008. Effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. seed extract on ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation in guinea pigs. Inhal Toxicol. 20: 9) Mahajan SG, Mehta AA. 2007. Inhibitory Action of Ethanolic Extract of Seeds of Moringa oleifera Lam. On Systemic and Local Anaphylaxis. J Immunotoxicol. 4:287-94. 10) Mahajan SG, Mali RG, Mehta AA. 2007. Effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. Seed Extract on Toluene Diisocyanate-Induced Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Responses in Rats. J Immunotoxicol. 4:85-96. 11) Ayanbimpe GM, Ojo TK, Afolabi E, Opara F, Orsaah S, Ojerinde OS.2009. Evaluation of extracts of Jatropha curcas and Moringa oleifera in culture media for selective inhibition of saprophytic fungal contaminants. J Clin Lab Anal. 23:161-4. 12) Anwar F, Latif S, Ashraf M, Gilani AH. 2007. Moringa oleifera: a food plant with multiple medicinal uses. Phytother Res. 21:17-25. 13) Suarez M, Haenni M, Canarelli S, Fisch F, Chodanowski P, Servis C, Michielin O, Freitag R, Moreillon P, Mermod N. 2005. Structure-function characterization and optimization of a plant-derived antibacterial peptide. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 49:3847-57. 14) Cáceres A, Cabrera O, Morales O, Mollinedo P, Mendia P. 1991. Pharmacological properties of Moringa oleifera. 1: Preliminary screening for antimicrobial activity. J Ethnopharmacol. 33:213-6. 15) Eilert U, Wolters B, Nahrstedt A. 1981. The antibiotic principle of seeds of Moringa oleifera and Moringa stenopetala. Planta Med. 42:55-61. 16) Bose CK. 2007. Possible role of Moringa oleifera Lam. root in epithelial ovarian cancer. Med Gen Med. 9:26. 17) Bharali R, Tabassum J, Azad MR. 2003. Chemomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera, Lam, on hepatic carcinogen metabolising enzymes, antioxidant parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 4:131-9. 18) Nandave M, Ojha SK, Joshi S, Kumari S, Arya DS. 2009. Moringa oleifera leaf extract prevents isoproterenol- induced myocardial damage in rats: evidence for an antioxidant, antiperoxidative, and cardioprotective intervention. J Med Food. 12:47-55. 19) Mehta K, Balaraman R, Amin AH, Bafna PA, Gulati OD. 2003. Effect of fruits of Moringa oleifera on the lipid profile of normal and hypercholesterolaemic rabbits. J Ethnopharmacol. 86:191-5. 20) Sashidhara KV, Rosaiah JN, Tyagi E, Shukla R, Raghubir R, Rajendran SM. 2009. Rare dipeptide and urea derivatives from roots of Moringa oleifera as potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive agents. Eur J Med Chem. 44:432-6. © Copyright 2009 Nutraceutical Medical Research, LLC – All Rights Reserved. 5

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