Scientist and health care workers from around the world found out that this once considered as a “poor man’s vegetables” is loaded with vitamins and minerals that can be an effective remedy against many kinds of ailments is now known as a “miracle tree” or “nature’s medicine cabinet”. This article, will share with you the different many benefits of Malunggay or Moringa Oleifera, a popular plant known for nutritional value as well as an herbal medicine.
Malunggay is a plant that grows in the tropical climates such as the Philippines, India and Africa. It is widely used as vegetable ingredients in cooking, as herbal medicine for a number of illnesses and other practical uses. This plant can grow to as high as 9 meters with erect white trunks, while the compound leaf has about 3 to 9 leaflets. It has white fragrant flowers that produce long pods with 3-angled winged seeds.
Apart from the benefits in terms of the various nutrients that we can get from it, all parts of the Malunggay tree are usable for nutritional and medicinal purposes from the roots, trunk, and branches to the leaves, flowers, and seeds.
Origin of Malunggay
Malunggay’s Scientific Name is Moringa Oleifera. It is also known as “Malunggáy” in the Philippines, “Sajina” in India, “Shojne” in Bengal, “Munagakaya” in Telugu, “Shenano” in Rajasthani, “Shevaga” in Marathi, “Nuggekai” in Kannada, “Drumstick Tree, Horse Radish Tree, Ben Oil Tree” in English and “La mu” in Chinese.
However, this remarkable tree was originally cultivated in North America and India respectively. In the beginning, these were only used to feed cattle and eventually, consumed by humans as well. But as years passed, its popularity has overwhelmingly spread across the globe most especially in Central and South America as well as in some parts of Southeast Asia.
Nowadays, Malunggay trees are being used as an herbal medicine to cure different types of illnesses. It is also highly recommended as a catalytic mechanism in solving the vicious problems of deforestation.
Evolution of Malunggay as a “Super Food”
Before scientists discovered its health benefits, the Malunggay was simply considered as a “poor man’s vegetables”, now it is known as a “Tree of Miracle” simply because it is composed of minerals and vitamins, which are found to be effective in healing almost all kinds of ailments to live a normal and healthy lifestyle.
Health Benefits of Malunggay
Based on recent scientific and medical researchers, all parts of the shady and tall Malunggay tree are very much beneficial to man. Generally, its health benefits are both nutritional and medicinal in nature and purposes. Read more below to discover the positive outcomes and natural forms of remedies of Malunggay.
- Malunggay leaves can help boost one’s immune system about 10x more than those commercially-made vitamins and other health supplements.
- These have 3x more potassium, than our favorite banana.
- They also possess anti-cancer compounds such as phytochemicals, to lowly stop the multiplicity of those deadly cancer cells.
- Malunggay acts as your “invisible dermatologist” as it can flawlessly restore your abnormal skin conditions without any aid of a plastic surgery.
- Effectively controls your blood pressure, as well as your migraine and headache attacks.
- For those people with high levels of glucose, these Malunggay leaves can easily decrease your extremely high blood sugar levels.
- They can also dynamically increase a male’s sperm count.
- Malunggay leaves can in time, do away with your tendon inflammations for good.
- For those who have insomnia, take a cup of Malunggay leaves before going to bed.
- It can further make your eye muscles much stronger.
- In children, Malunggay can prevent them from incurring intestinal worms.
- Malunggay reduces asthma attacks.
- It can treat stomach ulcers painlessly.
- It has a high percentage of calcium content. Therefore, those lactating moms are dearly advised to take it as a tea as often as possible to best benefit their newborn babies.
- If you are suffering from Vitamin A deficiency, always drink boiled Malunggay leaves, because these natural wonders contain 4x Vitamin A than carrots.
- Malunggay leaves contain Vitamin C percentages which are equal to seven oranges.
- Its leaves contain two times the protein in milk.
- The Malunggay seed is used to clean dirty or polluted water.
Now you know the benefits of the Malunggay Tree, and I guess it’s an enough reason why it is a must in everyone’s backyard. Read more below to give you an idea how to use them well.
Malunggay as Herbal Medicines
Studies have shown that Malunggay can be used to treat a number of illnesses. The leaves are good for headache, bleeding from a shallow cut, bacterial and fungal skin complaints, anti-inflammatory gastric ulcers and diarrhea.
Malunggay Decoction – For washing wounds. Boil the roots of malunggay and let it cool to tolerable warm temperature and use it for cleaning. For mouth sores and sore throat gargle the Malunggay decoction.
Malunggay Poultice – Grounded Malunggay seeds, leaves and bark as a poultice is useful onto swollen flesh to relieve inflammation associated with rheumatism, arthritis and joint pains.
Malunggay Oil or “Ben Oil” – The oil is extracted from Malunggay seeds by pressing. It is known to be a very strong antioxidant used by the early people from Egypt. It is also widely used as oil base for perfumes and cosmetics.
Malunggay Powder or Capsules If you want to make your own Malunggay powder, here are the few simple steps:
- Step 1 : Harvest the leaves of Malunggay.
- Step 2 : Wash and let it hang in an airy place, but don’t place the leaves under the sun as it will cause discoloration.
- Step 3 : After 2 or 3 days, once the leaves are already “crispy”, cook the leaves for about 2 minutes in a frying pan.
- Step 4 : Pound the leaves until it is in a powdered form.
- Step 5 : You can now use it or put it in an empty gel capsule that is available in your local drugstores.
However, when orally taking Malunggay in a capsule as herbal medicine, there is an actual dosage and precautions, depending on the age and nature of a person’s health problem. Thus, to keep you guided accordingly, you can easily refer to the information below.
For babies, whose ages range from eight months to 1 year old, they can be given at least one Malunggay capsule a day. It can be mixed well with their solid or liquid food. Meanwhile, for those children, who belong to age brackets of seven years old and above, you should give them 2 capsules every day. In the case of adults, they must take at least two capsules a day.
For pregnant and lactating women are advised to take 1 to two capsules each day. As far as those people, who are working during graveyard shifts, the much ideal dosage of Malunggay capsule is approximately about three capsules on a regular basis. Most importantly, those patients, who are diagnosed of having terminal illnesses should drink at least 3 to 5 capsules of Malunggay daily.
Malunggay as Food
Malunggay is known as a very nutritious plant where it is used to combat malnutrition in third world countries especially for infants and nursing mothers.
Malunggay Pods – The pods may be eaten raw or may also be fried as the taste is similar to peanuts.
Malunggay leaves and flowers – The small, oval, dark-green leaves are a famous vegetable ingredient in soup, fish and chicken dishes. The leaves can actually be eaten raw, but best added in meals due to its high concentration of nutrients. The leaves and flowers may also be cooked together with other vegetables and meat, while the oil from the seeds can be used for salads and culinary purposes.
Filipinos use Malunggay leaves in making halaan or clam soup or a vegetable dish called Ginataang Malunggay. But adventurous cooks and chefs have started adding them to pasta dishes, as well as muffins, breads and polvoron. This is one reason why the Philippine government has used Malunggay in its feeding and nutrition programs.
Malunggay Juice or Tea – The tremendous health benefits of Malunggay can be best enjoyed by having it as a tea or juice. Based on medical studies, the delicious and liquified extracts of Malunggay can be consumed at least 2x a day. Thus, it is best if you will drink these concoctions with an empty stomach. Below are the steps to make Tea or Juice using Malunggay leaves.
- Step 1 : Pick out 4 to 5 branches from the tree. Choose those with lots of leaves.
- Step 2 : Place them on a tray and leave in a dry place anywhere in your home for 3-4 days or until the leaves dry up and become crumpled. No need for sunlight.
- Step 3 : Pick out the crumpled leaves from the twigs and place in a dry pan over a low fire. Do not place water or oil in the pan.
- Step 4 : Cook the leaves, turning them over with a cooking spoon so that the leaves are cooked evenly. They are cooked when they are toasted but not burned.
- Step 5 : Store the cooked leaves in any container with a cover.
- Step 6 : To make the tea, take a tablespoon of the cooked leaves from the container and place in a cup of hot water. Let sit until the water absorbs the green color and nutrients of the leaves. It takes the same amount of time as making ordinary tea from tea bags. Remove the leaves from the cup.
- Step 7 : To make the refreshing juice, pound the cooked leaves until it is in powder form. Mixed in cold water.
- Step 8 : Option: Add honey to your tea or juice.
Malunggay Side Effects
Although Malunggay consumption is generally accepted as safe. The root and the root extract should not be used as food. Spirochin, an alkaloid isolated from the root, may cause fatal nerve paralysis. And also, according to Indian traditional usage, the use of Malunggay should be avoided during pregnancy. It is considered to be possibly unsafe when the root, bark, or flowers are used orally during pregnancy. They can cause uterine contractions and abortion.
However, during clinical trials, no major adverse effects on mothers and no untoward effects on infants fed with the milk of mothers, who took Malunggay leaf capsules as galactagogue were reported.
From reading the content of this article, we personally understood the many benefits of Malunggay and its side effects. Until today, the other essential benefits of this miracle plant are still being discovered by many scientists. As we now know the importance of this plant to our health, let’s go explore the wonders of Malunggay, stay safe and enjoy its natural nutritional value.