Moringa Oil: Benefits, Uses & Side-Effects
There are some incredible benefits of moringa oil, such as its ability to reduce oxidative stress, eliminate inflammation, moisturize and exfoliate the skin, protect the immune system, reduce blood pressure, detoxify the body, slows the aging process, speeds healing, fights dandruff, and aids sleep. However, there are some side effects to this oil, such as stomach upset, skin irritation, and potential complications with pregnancy. When used responsibly, this oil can deliver a number of important health effects.
Table of Contents
- What is Moringa Oil?
- Benefits and Uses of Moringa Oil
- Nutritional Facts of Moringa Oil
- Moringa Oil Side Effects
What is Moringa Oil?
Moringa oil is derived from a tree native to India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, which is also commonly known as the drumstick tree. Scientifically classified as Moringa oleifera, this tree is extremely important in certain cultural and medicinal preparations in those regions of the world. However, due to its impressive health effects, it has become globally available and sought after. The moringa tree has bark, leaves, fruit and seeds that can all be used for natural health practices, although root extracts can be toxic. Moringa oil is typically acquired through a cold-pressing process or a solvent extraction. This will allow you to access the rich source of nutrients in the seeds, which include vitamin C, vitamin B and various monounsaturated fats, including very high levels of oleic acid, as well as behenic acid.
Benefits and Uses of Moringa Oil
People who use moringa oil often suffer from high blood pressure, poor sleep habits, high toxicity, dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, dandruff, wounds, cuts, scrapes, arthritis, gout, premature aging, wrinkles, and gastrointestinal problems.
Moisturizes Dry Skin
Applying moringa oil to your skin unlocks its moisturizing and emollient properties, which can help the skin retain moisture and prevent inflammation or flaking. This oil is also a purifying substance, thanks to its antibacterial nature, helping to protect the skin against environmental and allergenic substances, as well as pathogens. The behenic acid in this oil is particularly key in this protection of the skin.
Speeds up Wound Healing
Many people use moringa oil when they have suffered a scrape, wound, bruise or abrasion. It can stimulate blood flow to the area, as well as protect the wound from infection. This oil can also help counter any fungal infections or open wounds from acne, which can easily become infected or exacerbated by dust, grime and oil.
Has Antioxidant Effects
Omega-9 fatty acids are not only beneficial for heart health, but they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In addition to the vitamin C and vitamin E content of this oil, these fatty acids can help seek out free radicals and protect organ systems from excess inflammation and strain. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system and vitamin E further protects the skin.
Treats Stomach Disorders
For the treatment of stomach pain and ulcers, moringa oil has been traditionally used very effectively. The active compounds and antioxidants found in this oil can soothe inflammation in the gut, balance bacterial levels, and optimize digestion, thereby reducing acidity and related conditions.
Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the best aspects of omega-9 fatty acid (oleic acid) is that it can have a positive effect on blood pressure. In fact, by stimulating circulation and lowering cholesterol levels, this oil can boost heart health in a major way, lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. However, behenic acid, which is also found in strong supply in moringa oil, is a saturated fat, which can damage the cardiovascular system. Using this oil in moderation is essential.
Aids in Inflammatory Conditions
If you regularly suffer from arthritis symptoms, headaches, sore muscles, chronic fatigue or joint disorders, you may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of moringa oil. It can ease tissue swelling and eliminate pain, making it a good choice for both chronic and acute health problems.
Quite a bit of anecdotal evidence says that moringa oil can stimulate the growth of hair, while also protecting against hair loss. The emollient, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of the oil are able to protect the scalp and keep it moisturized, thereby limiting or eliminating dandruff. Furthermore, the rich supply of fatty acids can improve the shine and luster of your hair.
Provides Relief from Insomnia
When it comes to sleep problems, people often turn to moringa oil for its soothing properties. Behenic acid is known to relax the body, while other active and aromatic compounds can help relax the muscles and promote a sense of calm. The oil can be used in aromatherapy treatments or topically applied to the chest or temples for these sedative effects.
Studies have shown that moringa oil can help to lower negative chemical markers in the body that signal liver damage or disorders. For people who have already suffered liver damage in the past, this is particularly important for ensuring proper liver function as you age.
Nutritional Facts of Moringa Oil
Moringa oil has a unique nutrient profile, dominated by vitamin C and B-family vitamins, as well as an unusually high level of monounsaturated fats and some saturated fats. The most notable ingredient is oleic acid (omega-9), of which more than 70% of this oil is composed. Furthermore, there are significant amounts (5-10%) of behenic acid, a saturated fat also known as docosanoic acid, which has a number of notable effects on the body.
Drumstick oil is another name for moringa oil, as the plant from which this oil is derived, Moringa oleifera, is often called the drumstick tree, as mentioned earlier. There are many different cultivars of the moringa tree, which produce oils of slightly different chemical composition and flavor, but generally, these oils are quite similar. Known at least since the times of the Greeks and Romans, this tree is known around the world as a drumstick tree, hence drumstick oil. The terms are interchangeable to most herbalists and natural health practitioners.
Moringa Oil Side Effects
Side effects from using moringa oil are limited but may include skin irritation, cardiovascular trouble and stomach problems. Pregnant women should also avoid use, or speak explicitly with their doctor before using this potent oil.
It is well known that omega-9 fatty acid can lower blood pressure, which is a good thing, unless you are already taking blood pressure-lowering medication, in which case this can lead to dangerous levels of hypotension.
As with the majority of concentrated oils, topical use can result in inflammation or irritation on the skin, as well as redness or itchiness. Apply a small amount to a patch of skin and then wait 3-4 hours to see if any further negative reaction occurs.
Consuming moringa oil is generally considered safe in small to moderate amounts, but an excessive use could cause inflammation of the gut or stomach upset, including nausea, flatulence, bloating, cramping or diarrhea. As a salad dressing or a stir fry, you don’t need a huge amount for the flavor and health benefits to be delivered!
Women who are pregnant are generally not recommended to use moringa oil, as it can have some effect on uterine contraction. In the first two trimesters, this could potentially stimulate menstruation, and increase the risk of a miscarriage or premature labor.