Have you heard of moringa? I first caught wind of this nutrient-rich, leafy herb a few years ago from my naturopath. I wasn’t exactly the healthiest of twenty-somethings and was constantly plagued by weird skin rashes and autoimmune flare-ups as a result. Since my diet mostly consisted of cold cuts and carbs (and that was on a good day), I nearly lost it when she recommended I drink it as a tea—not even a green smoothie—but a tea! So I bit the bullet and sipped it religiously. And years later, moringa has remained one of my favorite supplements.
Some say that moringa is one of the most nutritious plants on the planet. It has historically been referred to as the “Wonder Tree” or “Miracle Tree” [source] in many parts of the world—thanks to its restorative properties. Just a teaspoon a day can work wonders on everything from hair to hormones. And unlike its distant cousin, matcha, it’s caffeine-free, so you don’t have to worry about side effects like jitters or adrenal fatigue.
Note that if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, you should talk with your physician before using moringa.
What is moringa, exactly?
Moringa oleifera is a small tree often found in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. It’s said to have been discovered in India over 5,000 years ago and has been used ever since for a myriad of diseases. While the roots, bark, and seeds are edible, it’s usually the leaves of the plant that are consumed. Like matcha, you’ll often find it in health food stores as a powdered supplement that you can eat or drink.
What moringa is good for
In recent years, moringa has become one of the most researched supplements on the market. Studies have started to confirm what anecdotal accounts have been saying for years: that moringa is a potent antioxidant and nutritional powerhouse that can help bring the body back into alignment [source]. Here are some ways it can help:
Most of moringa’s superpowers come from its impressive nutrient profile [source]. In addition to antioxidants, it’s high in B vitamins, vitamins C and A, iron, magnesium, and zinc. And since most of us are considered “overfed but undernourished,” moringa can help balance a whole host of nutrient deficiencies when used as a supplement.
Because it’s so high in antioxidants, moringa is a potent anti-inflammatory [source]. It’s chock full of quercetin, a natural antihistamine [source] that is used in the treatment of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory conditions. It also contains chlorogenic acid, which balances blood sugar and prevents cortisol spikes in the body [source].
When applied directly to skin, moringa acts as an astringent that helps kill bacteria. It has been shown to be a skin anti-inflammatory [source] that can also work to lubricate and hydrate dry skin by restoring its natural moisture barrier.
Moringa powder contains an impressive amount of fiber, which can improve digestion and aid in regulating hormone levels [source]. Moringa supports the digestive tract and liver by allowing excess hormones to leave the body rather than circulating back into the bloodstream.
How to Use It
As I mentioned earlier, moringa can be steeped in hot water to make tea. But it wasn’t until I started making moringa lattes that I really fell in love with it.
—1 cup almond milk
—1 teaspoon moringa powder
—1 teaspoon honey
Combine moringa and honey in the bottom of a mug. Pour 1 cup of hot almond milk into the mug and stir to combine. Or, if you would prefer to go the tea route, simply replace the almond milk with boiling water and steep for 5 minutes before drinking.
Moringa Face Mask
Apply moringa directly to your skin to restore moisture, soothe inflammation, and reduce fine lines. This mask even works on hair. So, if you have any left over, apply directly to wet hair and let it sink in.
—1 teaspoon moringa powder
—1/4 cup Greek yogurt
—Juice from 1/4 lemon
Blend yogurt, honey, and moringa together until you get a creamy paste. Apply liberally to the face and neck. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Green Detox Smoothie
If you’d prefer to eat your moringa but aren’t a fan of the taste, your best bet is to hide it in a smoothie. This green detox smoothie is a great way to give your body a quick boost and get your nutrients on the go.
—1 tablespoon moringa powder
—1 cup loosely packed cilantro
—1 cup loosely packed spinach
—1 cup cucumber
—1 cup pineapple
—Juice of 1 lemon
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board-certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.16