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Moringa oleifera: A tree with many names
Moringa oleifera is a small tree that is native to Africa and Asia. For us it is called moringa, moringa tree, horseradish tree, "miracle tree", tree of life or drumstick tree - but these are by no means all common names.
As many names the moringa tree bears, it also apparently has so many positive properties for health: the extracts of its leaves contain primarily antioxidative, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, wound-healing and diuretic agents. Now it has been examined for the first time how moringa leaf extract affects diet-related obesity - with interesting results!
Does Moringa Leaf Extract Give Obesity?
In a recent study, researchers investigated whether moringa leaf extract can alleviate nutritional obesity (obesity) and related problems such as oxidative stress and an imbalance in certain metabolic hormones. To do this, they gave overweight rats 17.5 percent extract from leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree daily for six weeks. The animals' weight and blood values were checked regularly.
The evaluation after six weeks showed that the rats had lost weight. In addition, less oxidative stress was detectable in their cells. Some metabolic problems associated with being overweight had also decreased. These positive effects could not be determined in the animals of the comparison group that had not received any moringa leaf extract.
The results were published in the clinical journal "Clinical Phytoscience" in December 2019. "We suggest that moringa leaf extract has anti-obesity and antioxidant potential and can be used as a lipid-lowering drug to control weight, obesity and its pathophysiological consequences," the study concludes.
Why is a herbal medication needed?
So-called statins are administered in the context of conventional medicine in the case of various clinical pictures which are associated with a strong excess weight due to nutrition. These are drugs that are designed to lower certain levels of cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. The aim is to protect the blood vessels from hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and to prevent the often resulting consequences such as heart attack or stroke.
However, statins can have unpleasant, sometimes even dangerous, side effects. These include muscle pain, muscle breakdown, gastrointestinal problems, headaches or rashes. That is why we are looking for better tolerated alternatives.
Background: overweight and oxidative stress
Diet-related obesity is one of the most common health problems in industrialized countries. As a result, it can lead to metabolic problems such as insulin resistance. This in turn is often accompanied by increased oxidative stress in the cells. But what is that anyway?
A certain number of free radicals, which can damage the cells, are always produced in the cell metabolism. These are countered by antioxidants, which render the free radicals harmless and thus protect the cells. If insufficient antioxidants are available due to poor nutrition or changes in metabolism, the free radicals can lead to cell damage.
Premature skin aging, hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), cancer, arthritis or diabetes are associated with such cell damage; however, the exact relationships have not yet been fully researched.
Antioxidants can be found in the form of vitamin C or vitamin E in citrus fruits or nuts. The trace element selenium is also an important antioxidant. It is found in fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts or lentils, for example.
The study mentioned showed that an extract from the leaves of the moringa tree apparently not only has a positive effect on fat metabolism, but also has an antioxidant effect and can thus protect the cells from damage. (kh)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig
- Othman, Azza, Amer, Maher, Basos, Asmaa, El-Missiry, Mohamad Amr: Moringa oleifera leaf extract ameliorated high-fat diet-induced obesity, oxidative stress and disrupted metabolic hormones; in: Clinical Phytoscience, Issue 5, 2019, SpringerOpen