Moringa Oleifera (Sahjan): Nutrition and Health Benefits

Updated on March 29, 2018
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major, with an interest in home remedies.

Sahjan or Moringa Pods
Sahjan or Moringa Pods | Source

What is moringa?

Moringa oleifera, or Sahjan, is a medicinal plant that is native to India. It grows as a tree and provides incredible nutritional and health benefits.

Why is it such an amazing ingredient to add to your diet?

  • It contains 92 nutrients, 18 amino acids, and all the 9 essential amino acids the human body needs.
  • In the form of fresh leaves, it is a good source of protein, providing 17.5% of the daily requirement per 100 grams.
  • Its fresh pods and seeds are a good source of oleic acid. 100 grams of fresh pods provide 235% of the daily vitamin C levels, while 100 grams of fresh leaves provide 86% of a person's daily vitamin C needs.
  • 100 grams of fresh leaves provide more than 250% of the daily requirement of vitamin A. They also contain good levels of several B complex vitamins, minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.

Apart from the plethora of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, moringa contains about 46 antioxidants. It also offers 539 known compounds, which according to Ayurvedic medicine, treat almost 300 diseases. Isn't that incredible?

I'll share more about the plant and its many benefits below. Enjoy!

Source

Nutrients In Sahjan or Moringa

Moringa is a nutritional dynamite. Consider these facts and see for yourself!

Dry leaves provide, gram for gram,

  • 10 times more vitamin A than carrots.
  • 1/2 times more vitamin C than oranges.
  • 17 times more calcium than milk.
  • 15 times more potassium than bananas.
  • 25 times more iron than spinach.
  • 9 times more protein than yogurt.

Fresh leaves provide, gram for gram,

  • 3 times more iron than spinach.
  • 2 times more protein than yogurt.
  • 7 times more vitamin C than oranges.
  • 4 times more vitamin A than carrots.
  • 4 times more calcium than milk.
  • 3 times more potassium than bananas.

Nutrition Facts

Principle
Nutrient Value of Pods
Nutrient Value of Leaves
Energy
37 Kcal (2%)
64 Kcal (3%)
Carbohydrates
8.53 g (6.5%)
8.28% (6%)
Protein
2.10 g (4%)
9.40 g (17%)
Total Fat
0.20 g (1%)
1.40g (7%)
Cholesterol
0 mg (0%)
0 mg (0%)
Dietary Fiber
3.2 g (8%)
2.0 g (5%)
Source: USDA National Nutrient data base. Percentages of daily-recommended values are marked in brackets. Nutritive value per 100 grams

Vitamins That Moringa Provides

Vitamins
Nutrient Value of Pods
Nutrient Value of Leaves
Folates
44 mcg (11%)
40 mcg (10%)
Niacin
0.680 mg (4%)
2.220 mg (14%)
Pyridoxine
0.120 mg (9%)
1.200 mg (92%)
Riboflavin
0.074 mg (6%)
0.660 mg (51%)
Thiamin
0.053 mg (4.5%)
0.257 mg (21.5%)
Vitamin A
74 IU (2.5%)
7564 IU (252%)
Vitamin C
141 mg (235%)
51.7 mg (86%)
Source: USDA National Nutrient data base. Percentages of daily-recommended values are marked in brackets. Nutritive value per 100 grams

Electrolytes That Moringa Provides

Electrolytes
Nutrient Value of Pods
Nutrient Value of Leaves
Sodium
42 mg (3%)
9 mg (0.5%)
Potassium
461 mg (10%)
337 mg (7%)
Source: USDA National Nutrient data base. Percentages of daily-recommended values are marked in brackets. Nutritive value per 100 grams

Minerals That Moringa Provides

Minerals
Nutrient Value of Pods
Nutrient Value of Leaves
Calcium
30 mg (3%)
185 mg (18.5%)
Iron
0.36 mg (4.5%)
4.00 mg (50%)
Magnesium
45 mg (11%)
147 mg (37%)
Phosphorus
50 mg (9%)
112 mg (20%)
Selenium
8.2 mcg (15%)
0.9 mcg (1.5%)
Zinc
0.45 mg (4%)
0.60 mg (5%)
Source: USDA National Nutrient data base. Percentages of daily-recommended values are marked in brackets. Nutritive value per 100 grams

What are the health benefits of moringa?

Moringa, or Sahjan, has been used in traditional medicine in many countries for centuries to treat common ailments. Here are just a few things it can do:

General Health

  • The juice from leaves stabilizes blood pressure and reduces anxiety. Moringa leaf juice helps regulate blood glucose levels.
  • It increases milk production in breastfeeding women and controls anemia.
  • Moringa has tumor-inhibiting properties.
  • Its high levels of various nutrients help prevent and treat malnutrition and therefore, prevent and fight disease.
  • Moringa, with its vitamin A content, prevents vision problems, boosts immunity, fights infections, and prevents pregnancy and lactation-related problems.
  • Due to its abundant vitamin C content, it prevents scurvy, high blood pressure, and gum problems.
  • Moringa's high levels of iron prevent anemia, fatigue, weakness, decreased appetite, and irritability.
  • The good levels of calcium prevent osteoporosis, muscle and nerve damage, and abnormal heartbeat and heart function.
  • The protein content helps prevent weight loss, hair loss, skin problems, edema, weakness, muscle weakness and cramps, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.
  • The potassium in moringa prevents high blood pressure, digestive system problems, fatigue, muscular weakness, skin problems, heart problems, and ringing in ears.
  • It contains a plethora of antioxidants that provide preventative effect against prostate and skin cancers. It is antitumor as well.
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it relieves joint pain, arthritis, and rheumatism.
  • It protects the kidney and liver and helps with asthma.

Sickness

  • The leaves reduce fever, treat bronchitis, reduce the inflammation of mucous membranes, and help heal eye and ear infections, diarrhea, dysentery, and colitis.
  • Leaves kill intestinal parasites and detoxify the blood.
  • Moringa has antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It is active against a large range of bacteria and fungi, including H.Pylori, which causes gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers and is a risk factor for gastric ulcers.
  • The antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make moringa effective against UT infections, syphilis, typhoid, fungus, herpes, HIV, and AIDS.
  • Disorders of the nervous system like migraines, hysteria, and epilepsy can be treated.
  • It is effective against scorpion and snake bites because of its excellent detoxifying properties.
  • Moringa contains plant hormones, so a spray of moringa leaf extract on plants increases its growth and yield. It has been used effectively with commercial cultivation.
  • The seeds not only reduce turbidity and clean the water, but they also reduce the levels of bacteria as well.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Moringa oleifera Or Sahjan TreeMoringa Leaves and RootstockDry Moringa PodsMature Moringa Seeds
Moringa oleifera Or Sahjan Tree
Moringa oleifera Or Sahjan Tree | Source
Moringa Leaves and Rootstock
Moringa Leaves and Rootstock | Source
Dry Moringa Pods
Dry Moringa Pods | Source
Mature Moringa Seeds
Mature Moringa Seeds | Source

How to Grow and Use the Sahjan (Moringa) Tree

The moringa tree is native to the foothills of the Himalayas of Northwest India, but it can grow in tropical to subtropical areas. It grows best in dry, sandy soil and thrives in even the harshest of soils. As you can imagine, it doesn't require very much water to flourish. Moringa is commonly cultivated in India, Africa, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Central and South America.

Names of the Tree

  • Indian Names: Sahjan, drumstick, shinga, seeng
  • Common Names: Moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, clarifier tree, the miracle tree, tree of life, multipurpose tree

How to Grow Moringa

The tree itself is slender, and its branches tend to droop. In cultivation, the tree is often cut to a height of 5-7 feet to allow for easy collection of leaves and pods. An untrimmed tree can grow to a height of 30-35 feet and lives for 20 years.

Moringa is propagated by planting cuttings about a meter long, but it can also be done through seeds. It's is a fast-growing tree, reaching a height of about 9 feet within a year of planting. It starts bearing pods about 6-8 months from planting.

  • If you live in USDA Hardiness zones 9,10, or 11, you can grow this tree easily in your backyard.

How to Use the Moringa Tree

All parts of the tree have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, both in Ayurveda and Siddha forms of medicine. Sahjan can provide nutritional, medicinal and economic sustenance to developing countries.

  • Wood Pulp: The wood pulp is turned into paper used for wrapping, newsprint, printing, and writing. The pulp is also suitable for textiles and cellophane manufacturing.
  • Edible: The immature pods of the moringa are edible. In fact, almost all parts of the plant are edible: pods, seeds, leaves, and flowers.
  • Ben Oil: The seeds also yield 30-40% by weight of an edible oil called ben oil. It is nutritionally equal to olive oil, sweet, odorless, and never goes rancid. Ben oil can also be used as a biofuel, to lubricating fine machinery, and incorporated in the manufacturing of perfumes and hair care products.
  • Seed Cake: The seed cake can be used as a fertilizer or to purify water. It removes the turbidity from water and is as effective as alum.
  • Leaves: The leaves can be eaten as greens in salads or curries or as pickles. They can also be dried and eaten. Dried leaf powder does not spoil. They can also be used to scrub utensils.
  • Leaves/Branches: The leaves and young branches are also used as fodder for livestock.The bark is used for tanning and also yields fiber.

Dry Moringa and Make Green Powder

How to Stir-Fry Moringa Leaves

References

  • Fuglie LJ (1999) The Miracle Tree: Moringa oleifera: Natural Nutrition for the Tropics. Church World Service, Dakar. 68 pp.; revised in 2001 and published as The Miracle Tree: The Multiple Attributes of Moringa, 172 pp
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera
  • http://www.naturalnews.com/022272_Moringa_medicinal_herbs.html
  • http://allthingsmoringa.com/eBook.pdf
  • http://www.naturalnews.com/037735_moringa_superfood_health_benefits.html
  • http://www.purehealingfoods.com/moringaInfo.php
  • http://www.edlagman.com/moringa/John_Hopkins.pdf
  • http://specnatural.com/?p=313
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023118/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17089328
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3586089

Comments

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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      2 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Jaggi they are called Singhian.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Moringa is used a lot in South India to make sambhar, a mixture of lentils and vegetables. It is a versatile as well as a healthy vegetable. I'll be checking out your hub on moringa as well.

      Thanks for stopping by, Thelma and appreciate the votes and sharing.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany

      I love moringa fish soup. It´s delicious and healthy, too. Moringa plants are common back or front yard plants in the Philippines. In fact, I have moringa plants in my garden. I discovered the health benefits of this plant just a few months ago while searching some flowers online. I have written about this plant too. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared. Have a great day!

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks, Paul. This vegetable is commonly found in the Indian vegetable markets. I appreciate your comments and sharing.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Rajan,

      I can't remember reading or hearing about moringa until seeing this hub. I'll have to see if I can find it here in Thailand considering that it has so many health benefits. This is another one of your awesome well-researched hubs with great photos and videos. Voted up as awesome, useful, and interesting. Sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      That's wonderful, agapsikap. Thanks for stopping by.

    • agapsikap profile image

      agapsikap 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Hello, rajan! I appreciate this hub. I love moringa oleifera. Glad to have found this hub supported by those informative chart and delicious recipes. I used to mix moringa leaves to my homemade burger patty recipe for a healthy kids snack.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Irish, it's a big wide world out there and yet so small that we can manage to learn so much everyday without moving out of our homes, thanks to the internet. Learning about new things gives us so much satisfaction.

      Your dad was so right! I'm fortunate that my hubs provide some new info to you and I always appreciate your visit and comments. Thank you.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Rajan - My friend! I never heard of this but the benefits only add to what appears to be a delicious and nutritious item. I always learn from you - my Dad always told me how fortunate we are when we continue to learn.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      You are right, Devika. Thanks for commenting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Sahjan Or Moringa oleifera , something I had no idea of and the benefits too, a different kind of plant from the Himalayas.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @peachpurple, it doesn't look like french beans since it is 15 to 18 inches long. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Rasma-thanks for reading and sharing it ahead.

      @Carol-yes it is a nutritional dynamite. Appreciate the read and sharing.

      @Suzie-well, am I glad I did put that video here? Yes and thanks for appreciating. I appreciate all the sharing and votes. Thanks.

      @beverly- I'm glad you like the info. Thank you.

      @Mahavir-yes, we use it often. Thanks.

      @Sonali-you are right. Thanks for reading.

      @precy-that's good to hear and thank you for reading and sharing.

      @moonlake-thanks and for the sharing too.

      @rebecca-glad you have heard about moringa. Your visit is much appreciated.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I have heard of moringa only once before. Thanks for all this information. It is good to know of something that is such a superior nutrient.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I have never hear of Moringa oleifera I learned something new today. Voted up and shared.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is one of my veges I like :) We eat both the young fruits and the leaves. And with the health benefits you had mentioned, it's a bonus! ^-^' Up and shared!

    • Sonali Singh profile image

      Sonali Singh 

      5 years ago

      This has been used in South India for ages. It tastes very good and is full of essential nutrients.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      5 years ago from Pune, India

      As a vegetable, it is very tasty.....

    • profile image

      beverley byer 

      5 years ago

      Beautifully written with lots of useful info. Thanks.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rajan,

      Another great education of an ingredient I have never heard of or come across. What an interesting tree the Moringa is and how beneficial, wow! I was curious to see if it was used in skin recipes with the amount of antioxidants it has and then you have the face mask so question answered! I am curious to see if by any chance, it grows in southern Italy as with it being effective against scorpions and snake bites it would be highly good for us to have!! Thanks Rajan for another brilliant article, votes, shared and pinned!!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I am glad to see you can buy this in supplement form...this sounds really nutritious and offers many vitamins and minerals. Great hub..up and pinning.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and useful. Thanks for another informative and interesting hub. Never heard of this but I'm willing to try. Great health benefits. Passing this on.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      why does it looks like French Beans to me? Anyway. glad to have read yr hub. Never heard of this vege. Voted up

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Graham-Thanks for appreciating the information. It is always good to see you.

      @Bill-Thanks for visiting, my friend. Always a pleasure to see you.

      @Joe-that's an interesting bit of news! Were it not for the smuggling of these seeds who knows if this tree would have come to be in Hawaii or not. Good to know this part of history and thanks for sharing.

      @Ms.Dora-that's good to learn and thanks for passing this on.

      @Swathi-I agree the delectable flavor of curry made with moringa leaves can only be experienced. Thanks for reading.

      @Kathryn-Incredible, that's the only way to describe this plant and its benefits. Thanks and your visit is much appreciated.

      @wetnosedogs-thanks and good to know you like the appreciation.

      Bill-yes, the tree is rightly called a miracle tree. Appreciate your visit and comments. Yes, the pickle is very refreshing.

      @Nithya-thanks for appreciating.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      5 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub. Moringa tastes great and good for health. I did not know it was good for asthma too. Thank you for sharing, voted up.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey rajan. I have never heard of either Moringa or Sahjan. The health benefits and uses are amazing. You continue to impress me with these unique plants that we are not familiar with here in the United States. BTW that pickle recipe looks great. Voted up, shared, etc.....

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 

      5 years ago from Alabama

      Aw. looks like I couldn't grow this in Alabama, but this surely is a great looking tree. And so many benefits! Thanks for the introduction on the superb moringa tree.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Wow, what a nutrient-rich, versatile plant! India seems to be rich in plants that are incredibly healthy. Thanks for sharing this information with us!

    • swathi180 profile image

      swathi180 

      5 years ago

      Wonderful hub, I love moringa curry and Dal made with moringa leaves. It is not only tasty but healthy also. Voting up

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      The Moringa is the new wave in my part of the world. I appreciate this information and will share. Thank you.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Rajan!

      The moringa tree came to Hawai'i when William Hillegrand planted it on his acreage in Honolulu ca. 1860. Although his land later became the renown Foster Botanical Garden, the seeds from his tree, ironically, did not survive. In 1909, Jose Magpoing, a citizen of the Philippines, smuggled seeds from his favorite moringa tree into the islands inside of his guitar. Most of the trees in Hawai'i today are descended from those illegal seeds. : )

      Thank you very much for your most interesting article, my friend. Hve a wonderful day! Aloha!

      Joe

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, they look very much like beans, but I have never heard of them. Once again you teach and advise with an excellent health hub.

      Excellent!

      Blessings to you

      bill

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi rajan. Another first class hub from someone with a full and proper grasp of his subject. Well done as usual.

      Graham.

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