Moringa leaves and seeds have been used for thousands of years to treat serious disease and promote wound healing. The leaves are packed with nutritious compounds essential to human health.
The plant has only recently popped up on the radar of western scientists. As more and more studies are conducted, the benefits of this plant have begun to emerge. Read on to find out what research shows about moringa tea and how you can brew a tasty cup.
Moringa tea is made from the leaves of the Moringa oleifera plant. The moringa tree goes by several common names including "the miracle tree". It's known as the "drumstick tree" because of the shape of its seed pods. It's also commonly called the "ben oil tree" since it produces benzoil. Another popular name for the tree is the "horseradish tree" because the roots taste similarly to the rhizome.
The moringa tree is native to tropical areas throughout Southeast Asia. The largest cultivator of moringa is India. The tree is also grown for agricultural and medicinal purposes in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, and Taiwan. Additional, the plant is cultivated and occurs in the wild in parts of Africa, Central America, and Oceania.
Moringa tea is an herbal tea made by steeping the moringa leaves in pure hot water. The tea can also be made using moringa leaf powder and tea bags. It is naturally caffeine-free and can be consumed at any time of the day.
Moringa tea offers an earthy flavor similar to that of green tea. It is less bitter and astringent than most green tea varieties and can tolerate high temperatures and longer brewing times. The tea is frequently flavored with honey, mint, and cinnamon to balance out the earthy notes.
Moringa seed oil, moringa roots, and moringa leaves all contain essential vitamins and nutrients. Research shows that moringa leaves contain the most nutritional value compared to other plant parts.
According to the USDA, raw moringa tea leaves contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. The moringa leaf is a significant source of vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and vitamin B6. The leaves of the moringa plant also contain high amounts of essential nutrients such as beta-carotene and amino acids. One hundred grams of moringa leaves also contain a protein content of around 9 grams (1).
In Asia and Africa, the moringa tree is often called "the tree of life" or "the miracle tree". That's because the nutritional content and hardiness of the drought-resistant tree make it a great candidate as a staple food in the most impoverished regions. The plant can be used to feed livestock and may even be used for water purification in certain instances (2) (3).
For many poor countries, civilians suffer from a lack of nutrition. This may be due to a host of factors including war, lack of clean water, poor cultivating soils, and little access to nutritious foods. Moringa leaves are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that may help combat hunger and enable undernourished individuals to increase their body weight.
In addition, cultivating moringa trees can help create new jobs. The tree grows so quickly, it can be harvested every month. The trees are so hardy, they do not need to be fertilized, further making the cultivation of this crop attractive in impoverished nations (4).
It's important to note that some moringa products such as moringa oleifera leaf extract and moringa leaf powder are less potent than the raw or cooked leaves. To combat malnutrition, the leaves are generally consumed raw or cooked and served similarly to cooked spinach.
Moringa leaves are chock full of antioxidants that have been shown to offer a range of health benefits. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals in the body and prevent the onset of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to serious diseases from heart disease to Alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer.
Antioxidants in moringa leaves include beta-carotene and vitamin C. The antioxidant activity of these ingredients has been linked to better immune health both in animal studies and human trials (5). Moringa leaves also contain quercetin — an antioxidant that may help reduce high blood pressure in certain individuals (6). In addition, moringa leaves contain chlorogenic acid, which research shows may help regulate blood sugar levels (7).
Inflammation is an essential response to stimuli in the body. Chronic inflammation; however, can cause serious health issues including high blood pressure, chronic pain, and higher risk of stroke.
Most vegetables and plant products contain anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds are classified differently based on their chemical composition and some have been shown to be more effective than other sin reducing inflammation.
Moringa tea and moringa powder contain inflammation-fighting agents known as isothiocyanates. A small animal study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that moringa extract helped to reduce pain caused by inflammation (8). Two subsequent lab studies found that phenolic glycosides and other compounds in moringa demonstrated immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory activities (9)(10).
In many impoverished nations, arsenic is a major problem when it comes to the water supply. The chemical may also leach into groundwater and contaminate food crops. Arsenic toxicity symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, and watery or bloody diarrhea. Acute arsenic poisoning can be fatal by causing complete organ failure.
A few small studies have shown promise in the use of moringa to prevent arsenic poisoning. These studies have largely been conducted in controlled lab experiments and on small rodent studies. More research is needed to establish the use of moringa as a treatment for arsenic toxicity.
One study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine found that dietary supplementation with moringa leaves inhibited the triglyceride and glucose increases associated with arsenic. The leaves also inhibited cholesterol changes typically witnessed during arsenic poisonings in mice (11).
A second animal study published in Environmental toxicology and Pharmacology found that moringa seed powder exhibited therapeutic effects on rats suffering from arsenic poisoning. The moringa seed helped to restore healthy glutathione levels an reactive oxygen species in the rat's blood (12).
Always seek medical advice and consult a healthcare professional before consuming herbal tea. Herbal teas may interact with some medications and can cause side effects for women who are pregnant or nursing.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate moringa supplements and has not approved the use of any moringa plant parts in the treatment or mitigation of disease. Additional research is needed to establish the health benefits of this plant and the resulting tea.
Drink moringa tea to enjoy the flavor and cultural influences of the beverage. If you want to drink moringa tea, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Women who are pregnant should not consume moringa products. Some research shows that moringa rhizomes and flowers contain compounds that may induce contractions and cause premature births or miscarriages.
Moringa leaves contain alkaloids that may reduce heart rate and affect blood pressure. If you take blood pressure medications or suffer from a heart conditions, talk to your doctor before drinking moringa tea.
1. Start by bringing water to a rapid boil in a tea kettle or on the stove top.
2. Place the tea leaves in a tea ball or tea infuser and place in the hot water.
3. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Sweeten as desired and enjoy!
Moringa tea is a relatively new tea in the western world. It is widely consumed in other regions of the globe thanks to its highly nutritious nature. Research shows the tea and leaves contain compounds that may improve health. More research is needed to establish these benefits for tea and other moringa products.
Until more research is conducted, enjoy moringa tea for its delightful flavor and unique aroma. Brew up the beverage and settle into a comfy spot and enjoy a few moments of relaxation.