This week a customer ask me this question after reading an research article summary. I am sure that she is not the only one who has read it. It is basically a summation of many different research papers published on Moringa. When reading research you need to look at a number of points as you evaluate it. Unless you are willing to read all the research articles published yourself, you must look at this research summary for its validity and flaws.
You will find it on the link below. This is why I get so irked at research articles on alternative medicine subjects including Moringa.
#1: What is the way Moringa is normally used? Very important to the research paper published and its validity.
Moringa is a food. In places like India, it is grown on a tree in the yard or branches with leaves are bought at the local market place. The leaves are stripped off the tree and used in various dishes. The leaves may be ground into a gruel and fed to children or families. This is the way it is used just like we would carrots or some other veggie. It is not considered a supplement but a food. It becomes a supplement when you put it in capsules and extracts.
In various projects in Africa, Moringa is used as a food to help starving people. It is one of the only food sources that can be grown easily. It is given to pregnant mothers to help with their nutrition and given to babies and young children to help them gain weight. In these countries, the death of their babies before the age on one is common and tragic. They get several tablespoons per day as food. It is also made into a gruel. These projects have been going on for a number of years. The babies gain weight, begin to play, and act like a healthy child should. These children began with compromised health due to starvation.
The following are not the only projects but a sampling.
The International Eye Foundation is promoting Moringa for the prevention of childhood blindness in poor countries. Indeed, Moringa, through their richness in vitamins, saves precious eyesight in the most vulnerable victims, children with vitamin A deficiency.
Maybe among all the good news, the most moving stories came from the Senegalese project “Mother and Child Health“. In an effort to combat child death and disease due to malnourishment, the use of locally grown Moringa was proposed to infants, their nursing mothers and pregnant women. Although Moringa grows in Africa, Moringa leaves were rarely used as food before.
The Medical staff advised parents to put a little bit of leaf powder in the child`s food for every day. Children were weighed before and after 2-3 months of such a supplement.
( many survived ONLY on Moringa leaves or seed powder!) When the women brought back their children a few months later, they were hardly recognizable! Malnourished mothers who did not produce enough milk for their babies, also recovered beyond all expectations on a Moringa diet."
In several AIDS projects, Moringa is given to weak patients to build up their weight and nutrition. They arrive at the clinics thin, weak, and unable to do much to help themselves. They get better with the Moringa as food.
These projects are overseen by doctors and nurses who see the patients and their health improve. I would think these doctors would notice ill results. They are given a lot of Moringa because it is a food. If you give babies, compromised babies and children a food, and they get better and healthier, that is a pretty good research in real situations with real people not lab rats and test tubes.
#2: How was the research performed? Most of it was using lab test tubes with Moringa extracts of either the leaves, whole plant, or parts of the plant such as the seeds. Some rat and mouse studies.
What part of the plant was used in the experiments? Different parts of the trees have different properties and nutrition. The Moringa root contains alkaloids that are strong so should not be eaten as a daily food. The flowers should not be eaten on a daily basis either. It is the leaves that are the main food product of this tree, along with the pods.
IMP: Moringa Extracts are not normal use. Moringa extracts can change the composition of the product depending on how it is extracted, if heat is used, and the chemicals used to extract the product.
Extracts potentate the product as well. It is important to know if they tested it for contamination and heavy metals first. In most of these research studies, it does not state any of those details. It does not tell you what chemicals and process was used to extract the product. Why is the above information or lack of it important?
In the first part of this article he states this," While supplemental dosages listed below appear to be safe from all tested toxicity a relatively small increase (3-4 times the recommended does) is known to cause genotoxic damage and may promote cancer formation whereas doses higher than that cause overt organ damage (mostly liver and kidneys). "
IMP: The article leaves out important information at this point even though he states it later. Many people would not read further since the article is very dense.
Later on several times he states that a ' leaf ethanolic extract' was used in the research or a specific extract of moringa oleifera (methanolic extract, but a Toluene-ethylacetate subfraction that was 0.26% yield ' extract.
In some of the experiments, Moringa was injected into the rats. ( How many of you inject yourself with Moringa?)
In none of the experiments was the product used as a whole food eaten in a normal manner.
When did the toxicity occur?
The toxicity occurred when the mice were injected with high amounts of an extract or when given large doses of extract to mice and rats.
So this is not research based on normal use. The most common way to eat Moringa is fresh, in powder form, tea form, or in caps....not extracts. Extracts are generally not used at the levels in the experiments.
The extraction method and chemicals to extract the Moringa could have caused the toxicity. The method and chemicals used in the process are factors that could change the whole meaning of the results. The product was fractured, not given whole.
Ask Yourself This
I would think that the doctors overseeing these projects using real people who are compromised and starving would know soon enough if the product produced toxic health problems.
These doctors would observe that the babies got worse instead of better after several years of treating starving patients with Moringa.
Isn't treating real people and babies the real and most effective test of Moringa not rats getting injected and fed extracts of fractured product derived from chemical extractions?
My Thoughts and Advice:
I would not advise eating the root and flowers on a regular basis. There are alkaloids in the root that does not lend itself to eating everyday as a food. The flowers have properties should not be eaten everyday as a food. The seed pods are used as a food in those countries.
If you are pregnant:
If you are pregnant, you need to make sure you have your doctor's approval first. You need to make sure the product has been tested in the US for bacteria, mold, E-coli, and other contamination. Contamination of the product could be very toxic to you pregnant or not. I would not eat any Moringa product that has not been tested or that has been packaged in a foreign country...see my other blogs on this.
On Moringa Pods:
The Moringa leaves are the part, most often used as a food. The pods are cooked as well. Make sure your pods were not treated with chemicals or contaminated with mold.
The best way to use the pods is freshly picked by you not purchased from a company. When you buy pods from a 500 lb bag, you have no idea of the possible contamination or mold in that product. You can't know. Only a test or microscope can see the contamination or mold. This is the danger of some products...contamination, mold, bacteria, E-Coli, mouse parts, insect parts, and filth.
How do I know this? I lost product in the beginning of our business due to filthy organic certified product tested and packaged in India. I have all the customs proof you would like on the subject. That was several years ago and the lesson was hard earned.
Read the blog below....a real eye opener. Why I don't buy product from India.
Go Slowly when adding Moringa, herbs, or new foods to your diet.
When trying any new food, herb, or supplement go easy. Start out with a small amount, then eat more as you go along. If you are not eating fiber, then you eat lots of it, you will see digestive changes. With Moringa use 1 cap for several days or a 1/2 tsp of the powder then increase a few days later. Add it to juice or half strength juice, yogurt, peanut butter, or applesauce ....experiment.
Can Moringa leaf powder have side Effects?
You can be allergic to it.
Moringa may not agree with you....that can happen with any supplement or new unfamiliar food. Rice does not agree with me and I love it. Red meat does not digest for me, so I don't eat it often. I have not eaten any kind of steak for years. So for each individual there are foods which make you feel great and foods which don't agree with you. This can be said for any food-nutritious or not.
It can have the effect of loose stools due to the fiber in it, the clean out effect on some people, or it being a new food in your digestive system. I can eat watermelon but then I spend time in the bathroom. Certain other foods have that effect on me as well, including any green drinks even when I make them from fresh produce.
Moringa leaf powder and Prescription Medications:
Moringa is known to help balance blood sugar levels, so if you are taking diabetes medicine, check your blood sugar as you go along. You might need less medicine. This goes for people taking blood pressure medicine or high cholesterol medicine. Moringa goes in with its nutrition and beneficial properties and helps build up weak organs and systems. In doing this, those organs may work more effectively, cutting down the need for your medicine.
Moringa could react with some medicines as well. It is always a good idea to get the advice and approval of your doctor as you go along. Foods including dairy, grapefruit juice, and other foods can indeed affect the way drugs work in your body. In some it makes the drug work longer or with increased results. In others it may reduce the effect of the drug. Take herbs, supplements, and Moringa several hours after or before taking prescription medications. Green foods tend to thin the blood and so could interfere with blood thinning medications. Again those of you on prescription drugs need to be aware that certain foods can affect how medications work.
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