Moringa Oleifera, or more commonly known as “malunggay” among Filipinos, is not always present in our usual meals, with a handful of people not even having heard of the wonderful vegetable yet. But malunggay contains a lot of nutrients and has many uses aside from being a meal ingredient, so it definitely deserves more recognition.
This vegetable can be used in various soup dishes, salads, bread, and also on bath products such as hair fall shampoos and conditioners. It has also been medically proven that moringa can help treat a number of ailments. In fact, it is often used in feeding programs organized by the Philippine government.
That said, let’s explore the wonders of this versatile vegetable.
Moringa in Food
The dry leaves of moringa can be powdered to be used in making seasoning sauces. In young plants, the roots can be extracted, dried, and ground, to be used as a hot seasoning base, which tastes horseradish. Furthermore, you can also blanch its flowers or keep them raw, and sprinkle them onto various salad dishes for an extra boost of flavor.
Its leaves can be added to almost any dish, but in the Philippines, you may notice it being common mostly in halaan (clam soup) and ginataang malunggay.Corn soupcan also be cooked with malunggay leaves, along with other healthy ingredients. Malunggay bread rolls, more known as malunggay pandesal, are also sold widely in the country.
Moringa in Cosmetics
Moringa oil is used in many types of cosmetics. Its makeup is similar to the oils that our skins produce naturally, so it’s suited for all skin types. It also doesn’t sit on the skin when applied, but rather absorbed, so it won’t clog pores.
The moisturizing properties of the oil also make it beneficial for people with dry and sensitive skin. In addition, Moringa oil can also act as the skin’s barrier against dirt and pollution in the air. It also keeps our skins hydrated.
Moringa oil skincare products can also be used to treat acne. The oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can combat acne-causing skin conditions.
In hair care products, moringa oil can moisturize the scalp and aid in better hair growth and strength. Meanwhile, adding moringa oil in makeup products can help extend the shelf-life of the products, because it prevents oxidation of other oils.
Moringa in Medicine
Moringa can be used as dietary supplements in powder or capsule form. Its leaves can also be used to relieve headaches, gastric ulcers, fungal skin conditions, diarrhea, and minor cuts. Malnutrition can also be alleviated with moringa leaves.
Moringa pods, meanwhile, can be used for de-worming, treating liver and spleen issues, and easing joint pain. Its seeds are also effective in treating a couple of musculoskeletal conditions, boils, urinary tract issues, and it can also soothe epileptic patients.
Proven Benefits of Moringa
Moringa has full of vitamins and antioxidants that help fight and prevent many diseases. A cup of freshly-sliced pods already contains 157% of the required daily dose of vitamin C, and 1.5 tsp. of moringa leaf powder can raise blood antioxidant levels. In addition, the same amount of moringa leaf powder can reduce blood sugar levels. High cholesterol levels can also be lowered with frequent consumption of moringa.
Arsenic poisoning, which can happen when one’s food gets contaminated with Arsenic, can also be treated by consuming moringa leaves and seeds. Long-term exposure to arsenic is also known to potentially cause cancer and heart disease, but research has suggested that moringa can protect against the harmful effects of arsenic.
Based on everything stated, moringa or malunggay has indeed plenty of wonders, and should, therefore, be more recognized and appreciated. It also doesn’t have any unpleasant taste, making it a perfect option for picky children’s meals.