Moringa or drumstick tree is used as a 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 – Murungai
English name: Drumstick plant, Moringa, Horse radish tree
Kannada name: Nugge mara, Nugge kayi
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.
Drumstick’s root bark, stem bark, leaves, fruits and seeds are used for therapeutic purposes. They have their own unique medicinal qualities.
All values are per 100 grams of edible portion. (Reference)
|Fresh Leaves||Dried Leaves|
|Arginine||406.6 mg||1,325 mg|
|Histidine||149.8 mg||613 mg|
|Isoleucine||299.6 mg||825 mg|
|Leucine||492.2 mg||1,950 mg|
|Lysine||342.4 mg||1,325 mg|
|Methionine||117.7 mg||350 mg|
|Phenylalinine||310.3 mg||1,388 mg|
|Threonine||117.7 mg||1,188 mg|
|Tryptophan||107 mg||425 mg|
|Valine||374.5 mg||1,063 mg|
Vitamins and Minerals
All values are per 100 grams of edible portion.
|Fresh Leaves||Dried Leaves|
|Carotene (Vit. A)*||6.78 mg||18.9 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.06 mg||2.64 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.05 mg||20.5 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.8 mg||8.2 mg|
|Vitamin C||220 mg||17.3 mg|
|Calcium||440 mg||2,003 mg|
|Calories||92 cal||205 cal|
|Carbohydrates||12.5 g||38.2 g|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.57 mg|
|Fat||1.70 g||2.3 g|
|Fiber||0.90 g||19.2 g|
|Iron||0.85 mg||28.2 mg|
|Magnesium||42 mg||368 mg|
|Phosphorus||70 mg||204 mg|
|Potassium||259 mg||1,324 mg|
|Protein||6.70 g||27.1 g|
|Zinc||0.16 mg||3.29 mg|
By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD.
1. Drum stick pod decoction for Hypertension, improper fat metabolism, lethargy, sexual debility:
Daily, 1 drumstick is taken and it is cut into pieces and decoction is made. According to ones need and acceptance slight salt may be added. This is taken once daily, preferably during evening, before food.
This has good benefit in hypertension, hyper cholesterol, improper fat metabolism, lethargy, sexual debility etc
Decoction of any herb is prepared by adding a tablespoon of herb with 2 cups of water, boiling and reducing to half a cup. Filtered and consumed when it is hot. It is also called herbal tea.
Conjunctivitis, swollen eyes
2. Leaf juice in conjunctivitis and swelling of the eyes:
A fistful of leaves is taken and its juice is obtained. This is instilled to both the eyes in the dose of 2 drops.
In cases of swelling around the eyes, this juice is applied around the eyes (paste can also be used for this purpose)
3. Leaf decoction in dysmenorrhoea, back ache and pimples:
It balances Vata and Kapha Dosha. Leaf decoction of drum stick in the dose of 50-60 ml twice daily is helpful to overcome the back ache and dysmenorrhoea.
Being a blood purifier it pacifies the pimples and black heads.
4. Flower curry or powder in Abdominal distention and tastelessness:
A fistful of moringa flowers are collected and cooked well with salt and black pepper (or garlic and ginger powder /paste).
This is served during the lunch as a side dish. This has a very good effect in subsiding gaseous distension of abdomen and anorexia.
Dried flower is fried with little ghee and sprinkled with little pepper powder and salt. Or it can be made into fine powder and can be kept ready to serve during food. This has good benefit in cases like morning sickness caused during pregnancy and in any other tastelessness conditions.
Face pack, soup
5. Leaf paste with lemon juice face pack:
Leaf paste or juice with lemon juice can be mixed and applied over face. This is useful to overcome black heads and acne.
6. Drum stick Pod soup:
The soup prepared from drumstick pods is very much useful in treating the diseases of liver, spleen, pancreas etc. This is an aphrodisiac also. It strengthens the bones and joints too.
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 Madhu shigru.
Drumstick – Black variety
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, during 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
Drumstick – white variety
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.
The paste of moringa leaves are applied externally to relieve pain and inflammation.
It is applied over pile mass to relieve pain and itching.
Moringa leaves are used internally to improve eye sight, also for the treatment of Ulcerative colitis.
Drumstick 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 Shweta Maricha.
Moringa for headache
As explained above, moringa leaf 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.
It is 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 leaves for balanitis
Leaves are ground to make a paste. It is applied over the inflamed area.
How to consume Moringa powder? What is the best way?
Moringa leaf powder can be readily consumed. In a research, 100 grams of powder was administered over one week. That is about 15 grams per day. (1). It was for the purpose of testing of iron status of Senegalese lactating women.
However, for a healthy person, Moringa can be consumed in a dose of 3 – 5 grams, once or two times a day, before food.
It can be administered along with water or sesame oil, for Vata balance, along with ghee for Pitta balance and with honey, for Kapha balance.
Moringa powder can also be consumed in the form of decoction. To prepare its water decoction, 1 tablespoon of powder is added to two cups of water, boiled till the water reduces to half a cup and consumed. Here, the dose is half a cup per day. Read rules to prepare Kashayam
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.
Drumstick to increase sperm count
Drumstick fruit is known to improve sperm count and quality.
Drumstick (Moringa) leaf powder was evaluated on male reproductive system of Swiss albino mice Mus musculus. The sperm count, its mobility and mortality, histology of testis and epididymis of normal and hyperglycaemic male Swiss albino mice have been investigated and attempt has been made to evaluate the efficacy of Moringa leaf powder in repair mechanism in case of hyperglycaemia. In treated mice (Group III), the sperm count significantly increased, sperm mobility also increased but sperm mortality decreased significantly. There was a slight decrease in weight of testis (0.478±0.008gm to 0.33±0.006 gram) respectively when compared to control mice group. (research)
Moringa seeds for colitis
An experimental study conducted on rats concluded that MSHE (Moringa oleifera seeds hydro-alcoholic extract) and MCF (chloroform fraction ) were both effective to treat experimental colitis and this might be attributed to their similar major components, biophenols and flavonoids. Since the efficacy was evident even in low doses of MSHE, presence of active constituents with high potency in seeds is persuasive. (Source).
Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree
Shigru – has strong, piercing qualities
Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odor
Aksheeva – relieves intoxication
Mochaka – helps to cure diseases