Henry’s rating 3 out of 5
Hey, you know how us dogs feel about trees! So when this Health Hound heard about a new weight loss supplement making the rounds being called the Miracle Tree – you know I had to go sniff around its roots! It is also called horseradish tree or drumstick tree, but it is officially known as Moringa Oleifera.
The Moringa tree grows mainly in India. Different parts of the tree have been used in Traditional Indian Medicine, or Ayurvedic Medicine, for many, many years to treat specific conditions as well as for overall improved health and vigor.
Recently, Moringa Oleifera extract has been linked to weight loss. According to proponents of Moringa for weightloss, the plant extract contains over 90 different nutrients that work to help the body stay as healthy as possible, and when the body is functioning at its peak, weight loss is made that much easier.
My old friend Dr. Oz supports the claim about the nutritional value of Morinaga, it says on his website, “The leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree are extremely nutrient-dense. They contain 3 times more iron than spinach and are loaded with tons of other vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and potassium, as well as powerful antioxidants.”
This is why in developing countries such as India, Africa and Afghanistan, where much of Moringa is cultivated, it is important for its ability to combat malnutrition. The Hound always finds it amusing when plants that are used primarily to fight famine and starvation in other cultures wind up being used as “miracle diet supplements” for overweight Americans!
So, is Moringa Oleifera nutritious, and possibly a super food? Yes, — weight loss miracle? Lets take a look at the evidence.
The Research on Moringa Oleifera
There are few if any reliable human studies on the benefits of Moringa, let alone specifically as a weight loss aide. Animal studies are a bit more promising as far as some of the other health benefit claims of Moringa Oleifera. There have been published studies that indicate Moringa, or moringa extract, may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant potential, among several other useful health benefits.
For instance moringa had inhibited the growth of ovarian cancer cells in rats, and several other animal studies suggested the plant had antioxidant, clot busting, and lipid-lowering action that could help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Another study in rats indicated that it might have some effect in reducing blood glucose levels, which suggests a possible benefit for people with diabetes.
An extract of Moringa seed reduced airway inflammation in guinea pigs, indicating that it might be useful as an asthma treatment.
How to Use Moringa Oleifera
Moringa Oleifera leaves can be consumed as any green leafy green vegetable such as spinach or kale. You can find some interesting recipes at http://www.moringamatters.com/how_to_eat_moringa_leaves.html
For alleged weight loss and as a nutritional supplement it s available as an extract or in pill form. For general nutrition and overall health Dr. Oz recommends using Moringa Oleifera supplement powder, 400 mg per day, or drinking Moringa tea to help boost energy levels.
Who Should Use Moringa Oleifera?
According to those who sell supplemental Moringa extract for weight loss — anybody who is struggling with weight should consider adding it to his or her diet and supplement regimen. Since, as far as The Hound is concerned, the jury is still out on the claims about weight loss, I say it is better just taken as a good supplement to increase energy and boost overall health by anyone who is looking to do so.
Clinical research seems to back up some of the claims made about Moringa, it is all-natural, and nutritious and used as a food throughout India and Asia, and as such is generally regarded as safe.
As the leaves of the Moringa tree are edible, and supplements containing moringa extract generally are also made from the leaves, there are no known side effects to using Moringa Oleifera as indicated. However, WebMD warns that not all parts of the plant are edible, and in fact the roots should be avoided, as should any extract made from Moringa Root, as these can contain toxic substances.
The Bottom Line
Moringa Oleifera is generally safe, and seems to show a lot of promise as a super food, and nutritional supplement with an antioxidant punch. So for that it gets a 3 out of 5, but as far as the next weight loss miracle, I am afraid they are barking up the wrong tree!