Moringa or drumstick tree is used as part of diet in India since ages. Its use in treatment is seen in Ayurveda from the times of Sushruta. Many of its parts like drumstick leaves, fruit, oil etc have immense health benefits targeted towards many systems like digestive, heart and circulatory system.
Botanical name: Moringa oleifera
Hindi Name: Sahijan, Munaga
Tamil Name – Munagai
English name: Drumstick plant, Moringa, Horse radish tree
Kannada name: Nugge mara, Nugge kayi
Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree
Shigru – has strong, piercing qualities
Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odor
Aksheeva – relieves intoxication
Mochaka – helps to cure diseases
Charaka Samhita –
Krimighna – group of herbs that are used to treat worm infestation.
Svedopaga – Ayurvedic plants that are used in Svedana (preparatory procedure for Panchakarma)
Shirovirechanopaga – group of herbs that are used in Nasya Panchakarma treatment
Katuka Skandha – group of herbs that have pungent taste.
Charaka has mentioned this as one of the herbs used in powder massage, useful in pruritis, acne and urticaria.(Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 3rd chapter)
Charaka has also mentioned it as a plant source for oil – Sthavara Sneha Yoni (Reference)
Sushruta and Vagbhata – Varunadi Group of herbs. (Hence it is an ingredient of a famous Ayurvedic medicine – Varanadi kashayam)
Medicinal Qualities of drumstick tree:
Rasa(taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Guna(qualities) – Laghu (light to digest), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (strong, piercing)
Vipaka – katu (Moringa undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.)
Veerya – Ushna – hot potency.
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata.
Parts used: Drumstick’s root bark, stem bark, leaves, fruits and seeds are used for therapeutic purposes. They have their own unique medicinal qualities.
Health benefits of Moringa:
There are three varieties of Moringa explained in Ayurvedic text books.
1. Shyama – black variety
2. Shveta – white variety and
3. Rakta – red variety. It is also called as Madhu shigru.
Black variety of drumstick tree is the most common. Its qualities are –
Katu – pungent,
Teekshna – piercing, sharp, strong
Ushna – hot in potency
Madhura – slightly sweetish
Laghu – light to digest
Deepana – improves digestion
Rochana – Improves taste,
Rooksha – dry
Kshara – Has alkaline properties
Tikta – Bitter
Vidaahakrit – causes burning sensation
Sangrahi – Useful to check diarrhoea
Shukrala – Improves semen quantity and sperm count
Hrudya – Good for heart. Cardiac tonic
Pittarakta prakopana: Increases Pitta and vitiates blood. Hence, drumstick should not be consumed during bleeding disorders, duriner menstruation and for people with pimples and Pitta related skin diseases.
Chakshushya – Improves vision, good for eyes.
Kaphavataghna – Decreases imbalanced Kapha and Vata
Vidradhi – Useful in abscess. It helps in quick wound healing of abscess, upon oral intake and external application as paste.
Shvayathu – It is a good anti inflammatory herb.
Krimi – useful in worm infestation in stomach and in wounds.
Meda – helpful to decrease fat and obesity.
Apachi – Useful in relieving carbuncles.
Visha – Anti toxic. Has detoxifying action.
Pleeha – Useful in spleen related diseases
Gulma – Useful in abdominal bloating and tumors
Ganda Vrana – Useful in lymphadenitis
White variety drumstick uses:
It is quite similar to the black variety.
Dahakrut – causes burning sensation
pleehaanaaM vidradhim hanti – useful in splenic abscess
VraNaghna – helps in quick wound healing
pittaraktakrut – Increases Pitta and vitiates blood.
The red variety, called as Madhushigru
Deepana – Increases digestion power.
Sara – promotes proper bowel movements.
Drumstick leaves and bark
The juice extract of drumstick leaves and bark are very useful in relieving pain. They act as natural analgesic. They are used both for oral intake and also for external application as paste.
In Indian household, the leaves are used to prepare Chutney or sambar.
Drukstick seeds uses
Chakshushya – good for eyes
Vishanashana – anti toxic
Avrushya – do not have aphrodisiac qualities
Nasyena Shiro Artinut – When used for Nasya (in the form of powder or oil), it helps to relieve headache.
Moringa seeds are called as Shweta Maricha.
Moringa for headache:
As explained above, moringa leaves paste applied externally, or used as vegetable helps to relieve headache.
Its seed powder, in the form of nasya treatment cures headache.
Moringa for diabetes Many studies have been conducted to prove the anti diabetic and anti oxidant effect of Moringa.
Moringa flowers are useful in intestinal worms. It balances Pitta and kapha.
Oil prepared with Moringa is useful to relieve headache, pungent, useful in skin diseases and diabetes.
Moringa in Ayurvedic medicines:
Because of its analgesic effects, Moringa is used as an ingredient in many Ayurvedic pain relief oils such as Murivenna, Kottamchukkadi Thailam,
Because of its anti inflammatory effects, it is an ingredient of Shothaghna Lepa – a paste application used to relieve swelling, pain and redness.
Because of its wound healing benefits, and usefulness in abscess etc, it is an ingredient in Aragwadhadi kashayam
Moringa Side Effects:
As explained above, it causes increase in burning sensation and is pungent. Hence,people with gastritis or sensitive stomach should use this vegetable carefully.
It is not ideal to be taken during periods, since it increases Pitta and vitiates blood.
It is also not ideal to be taken during bleeding disorders.
Drumstick during pregnancy and lactation:
Drumstick fruit is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants. Hence it can be used during pregnancy. But Drumstick leaves, root bark and flowers are not indicated during pregnancy.
It is not ideal to take this soon after delivery. However, a couple of weeks after delivery, this can be used.