Moringa research

A tremendous amount of scientific literature is available on the Moringa plant. Some references indicate that more than 1,500 scientific papers have been written on the attributes and benefits of Moringa. A short extract of some of that research is listed below:



Moringa oleifera belonging to the family of Moringaceae is an effective remedy for malnutrition. Moringa is rich in nutrition owing to the presence of a variety of essential phytochemicals present in its leaves, pods and seeds. In fact, moringa is said to provide 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach. The fact that moringa is easily cultivable makes it a sustainable remedy for malnutrition. 

Children deprived of breast milk tend to show symptoms of malnutrition. Lactogogues are generally prescribed to lactating mothers to augment milk production. The lactogogue, made of phytosterols, acts as a precursor for hormones required for reproductive growth. Moringa is rich in phytosterols like stigmasterol, sitosterol and kampesterol which are precursors for hormones. These compounds increase the estrogen production, which in turn stimulates the proliferation of the mammary gland ducts to produce milk. It is used to treat malnutrition in children younger than 3 years.

J.L. Rockwood, B.G. Anderson, D.A. Casamatta Potential uses of Moringa oleifera and an examination of antibiotic efficacy conferred by M. oleifera seed and leaf extracts using crude extraction techniques available to underserved indigenous populations,  Int. J. Phytothearpy Res., 3 (2013), pp. 61-71

J.N. Kasolo, G.S. Bimenya, L. Ojok, J. Ochieng, J.W. Ogwal-okeng Phytochemicals and uses of Moringa oleifera leaves in Ugandan rural communities, J. Med. Plants Res., 4 (2010), pp. 753-757



The antioxidant activity of M. oleifera is particularly strong in leaf, pod and seed extracts. The high content of flavonoids and phenols in different parts of the plant, especially leaves, favors the reduction of oxidative damage to the main biomolecules through the inhibition of lipid peroxidation and the action of nitric oxide and induction of deoxyribose degradation, preventing the generation of free radicals. 

Studies with normal and diabetic rats showed that treatment with aqueous M. oleifera leaf extracts significantly increased the activity of the enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione S-transferase and decreased lipid peroxidation. 

B.N. Singh, B.R. Singh, R.L. Singh, D. Prakash, R. Dhakarey, G. Upadhyay, et al. Oxidative DNA damage protective activity, antioxidant and anti-quorum sensing potentials of Moringa oleifera. Food Chem Toxicol, 47 (6) (2009), pp. 1109-1116

S. Sreelatha, P.R. Padma. Antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of Moringa oleifera leaves in two stages of maturity. Plant Foods Hum Nutr, 64 (4) (2009), pp. 303-311

V. Sasikala, B.N. Rooban, S.G.S. Priya, V. Sahasranamam, A. Abraham. Moringa oleifera prevents selenite-induced cataractogenesis in rat pups. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther, 26 (5) (2010), pp. 441-447

D. Jaiswal, P.K. Rai, S. Mehta, S. Chatterji, S. Shukla, D.K. Rai, et al. Role of Moringa oleifera in regulation of diabetes-induced oxidative stress. Asian Pac J Trop Med, 6 (6) (2013), pp. 426-432



Studies have shown that moringa can be used as an anti-neoproliferative agent, thereby inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Soluble and solvent extracts of leaves have been proven effective as anticancer agents. Furthermore, research papers suggest that the anti-proliferative effect of cancer may be due to its ability to induce reactive oxygen species in the cancer cells. Researches show that the reactive oxygen species induced in the cells leads to apoptosis. Moreover, the ROS production by moringa is specific and targets only cancer cells, making it an ideal anticancer agent. 

The leaves of M. oleifera contain phytochemicals such as tannins, sterols, terpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids along with anti-cancerous agents like glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, glycoside compounds and glycerol-1-9-octadecanoate. The pods are fibrous and are valuable to treat digestive problems and thwart colon cancer. 

One study observed that the oral administration of 500 mg/kg, for 15 d, delayed tumor growth and significantly increased mouse lifespan. These anticancer properties may be attributed to the bioactive compounds present in Moringa.

C. Tiloke, A. Phulukdaree, A.A. Chuturgoon. The antiproliferative effect of Moringa oleifera crude aqueous leaf extract on cancerous human alveolar epithelial cells. BMC Complement. Altern. Med., 13 (2013), pp. 226-233

I.L. Jung. Soluble extract from Moringa oleifera leaves with a new anticancer activity. PLOS ONE, 9 (2014), pp. 1-10

S. Leelawat, K. Leelawat. Moringa olefiera extracts induce cholangiocarcinoma cell apoptosis by induction of reactive oxygen species production. Int. J. Pharmacogn. Phytochem. Res., 6 (2014), pp. 183-189

G.Y. Liou, P. Storz. Reactive oxygen species in cancer. Free Radic. Res., 44 (2010), pp. 479-496

L. Berkovich, G. Earon, I. Ron, A. Rimmon, A. Vexler, S. Lev-Ari. Moringa oleifera aqueous leaf extract down-regulates nuclear factor-kappaB and increases cytotoxic effect of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer cells. BMC Complement. Altern. Med., 13 (2013), pp. 212-219

I. Oduro, W.O. Ellis, D. Owusu. Nutritional potential of two leafy vegetables: Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea batatas leaves. Sci. Res. Essays, 3 (2008), pp. 57-60

A. Hermawan, K.A. Nur, Sarmoko, D. Dewi, P. Putri, E. Meiyanto. Ethanolic extract of Moringa oleifera increased cytotoxic effect of doxorubicin on HeLa cancer cells. J. Nat. Remedies, 12 (2012), pp. 108-114

Y. Nakamura, M. Kawakami, A. Yoshihiro, N. Miyoshi, H. Ohigashi, K. Kawai, et al. Involvement of the mitochondrial death pathway in chemo preventive benzyl isothiocyanate-induced apoptosis. J. Biol. Chem., 277 (2002), pp. 8492-8499

A.P. Guevara, C. Vargas, H. Sakurai, Y. Fujiwara, K. Hashimoto, T. Maoka, et al. An antitumor promoter from Moringa oleifera Lam. Mutat Res Toxicol Environ Mutagen, 440 (2) (1999), pp. 181-188

L. Purwal, A.K. Pathak, U.K. Jain. In vivo anticancer activity of the leaves and fruits of Moringa oleifera on mouse melanoma. Pharmacol Online, 1 (1) (2010), pp. 655-665



Anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa has also been extensively studied.  Many bioactive compounds may be involved in the anti-inflammatory properties of M. oleifera, such as quercetin, which appears to inhibit the activation of NF-κB, essential step to unchain the inflammatory process. However, many other bioactive compounds from M. oleifera, such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, may also be involved in the anti-inflammatory activity of this plant. 

A. Cáceres, A. Saravia, S. Rizzo, L. Zabala, E. De Leon, F. Nave. Pharmacologie properties of Moringa oleifera. 2: screening for antispasmodic, antiinflammatory and diuretic activity. J Ethnopharmacol, 36 (3) (1992), pp. 233-237

C. Waterman, D.M. Cheng, P. Rojas-Silva, A. Poulev, J. Dreifus, M.A. Lila, et al. Stable, water extractable isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera leaves attenuate inflammation in vitro. Phytochemistry, 103 (2014), pp. 114-122



Moringa has been shown to cure both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is one where the patients suffer from non-production of insulin, which is a hormone that maintains the blood glucose level at the required normal value. Type 2 diabetes is one associated with insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes might also be due to Beta cell dysfunction, which fails to sense glucose levels, hence reduces the signaling to insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels. Several studies have shown that, moringa can act as an anti-diabetic agent.


M. Mbikay Therapeutic potential of Moringa oleifera leaves in chronic hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia: a review, Front. Pharmacol., 3 (2012), pp. 1-12

M.E. Cerf. Beta cell dysfunction and insulin resistance. Front. Endocrinol., 4 (2013), pp. 1-12

S.M. Divi, R. Bellamkonda, S.K. Dasireddy. Evaluation of antidiabetic and antihyperlipedemic potential of aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera in fructose fed insulin resistant and STZ induced diabetic wistar rats: a comparative study. Asian J. Pharm. Clin. Res., 5 (2012), pp. 67-72

A.L. Al-Malki, H.A. El Rabey. The antidiabetic effect of low doses of Moringa oleifera Lam. seeds on streptozotocin induced diabetes and diabetic nephropathy in male rats. Biomed. Res. Int., 2015 (2015), pp. 1-13

E. Wright, J.L. Scism-Bacon, L.C. Glass. Oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes: the role of fasting and postprandial glycaemia. Int. J. Clin. Pract., 60 (2006), pp. 308-314

N. Kamalakkannan, P.S.M. Prince. Antihyperglycaemic and antioxidant effect of rutin, a polyphenolic flavonoid, in streptozotocin-induced diabetic wistar rats. Basic Clin. Pharmacol. Toxicol., 98 (2006), pp. 97-103

P. Chumark, P. Khunawat, Y. Sanvarinda, S. Phornchirasilp, N.P. Morales, L. Phivthongngam, P. Ratanchamnong, S. Srisawat, K.U. Pongrapeeporn. The in vitro and ex vivo antioxidant properties, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities of water extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. Leaves. J. Ethnopharmacol., 116 (2008), pp. 439-446

D.J. Kumari. Hypoglycaemic effect of Moringa oleifera and Azadirachta indica in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Bioscan, 5 (20) (2010), pp. 211-214



Moringa can be used as a potent neuroprotectant. M. oleifera is used to treat dementia, as it has been shown to be a promoter of spatial memory. The leaf extracts have shown to decrease the acetylcholine esterase activity, thereby improving cholinergic function and memory. Another study suggests that M. oleifera may provide a neuroprotective benefit by reducing the oxidative stress.

C. Sutalangka, J. Wattanathorn, S. Muchimapura, W. Thukham-mee. Moringa oleifera mitigates memory impairment and neurodegeneration in animal model of age-related dementia. Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev., 2013 (2013), pp. 1-9

W. Kirisattayakul, J. Wattanathorn, T. Tong-Un, S. Muchimapura, P. Wannanon, J. Jittiwat. Cerebroprotective effect of Moringa oleifera against focal ischemic stroke induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion. Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2013 (2013), pp. 1-10

M.A. Hannan, J.-Y. Kang, M. Mohibbullah, Y.-K. Hong, H. Lee, J.-S. Choi, et al. Moringa oleifera with promising neuronal survival and neurite outgrowth promoting potentials. J Ethnopharmacol, 152 (1) (2014), pp. 142-150



Moringa decreased acidity in gastric ulcers by a percentage of 86.15% and 85.13% at doses of 500 mg and 350 mg, respectively and therefore can be used as an antiulcer agent.

M. oleifera has been proven as a good antimicrobial agent. A study by Viera et al. has shown that the extracts of M. oleifera can act against bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio cholera.

Scientific evidences suggest a potential role of M. oleifera leaves in the reduction of liver and kidney damage. These findings were confirmed by histological tests, which showed reduction of hepatic and renal damage in animals treated with M. oleifera leaves.

M.K. Choudhary, S.H. Bodakhe, S.K. Gupta. Assessment of the antiulcer potential of Moringa oleifera root-bark extract in rats. JAMS J. Acupunct. Meridian Stud., 6 (2013), pp. 214-220

M. Chen, R.P. Verdes. Elucidation of bactericidal effects incurred by Moringa oleifera and Chitosan. J US SJWP, 4 (2009), pp. 65-79

G.H.F. Viera, J.A. Mourão, Â.M. Ângelo, R.A. Costa, R.H.S.D.F. Vieira. Antibacterial effect (in vitro) of Moringa oleifera and Annona muricata against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. Sao Paulo, 52 (2010), pp. 129-132

R. Toppo, B.K. Roy, R.H. Gora, S.L. Baxla, P. Kumar. Hepatoprotective activity of Moringa oleifera against cadmium toxicity in rats. Vet World, 8 (4) (2015), pp. 537-540

A. Gupta, M.K. Gautam, R.K. Singh, M.V. Kumar, C.V. Rao, R.K. Goel, et al. Immunomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. extract on cyclophosphamide induced toxicity in mice. Indian J Exp Biol, 48 (1) (2010), pp. 1157-1160

N. Das, K. Sikder, S. Ghosh, B. Fromenty, S. Dey. Moringa oleifera Lam. leaf extract prevents early liver injury and restores antioxidant status in mice fed with high-fat diet. Indian J Exp Biol, 50 (1) (2012), pp. 404-412

F. Nikkon, Z.A. Saud, M.H. Rahman, M.E. Haque. In vitro antimicrobial activity of the compound isolated from chloroform extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. Pak J Biol Sci, 6 (22) (2003), pp. 1888-1890

J.G. Onsare, H. Kaur, D.S. Arora. Antimicrobial activity of Moringa oleifera from different locations against some human pathogens. Acad J Med Plants, 1 (5) (2013), pp. 80-91