The in vitro and ex vivo antioxidant properties, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities of water extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Mar 28;116(3):439-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.12.010. Epub 2007 Dec 23.


Moringa oleifera is used in Thai traditional medicine as cardiotonic. Recent studies demonstrated its hypocholesterolaemic effect. However, to be clinically useful, more scientific data are needed.

Aim of the study: We investigated the antioxidant, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities of Moringa oleifera leaf extract.

Materials and methods: Scavenging activity of the extract on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radicals (DPPH), and the inhibitory effect on Cu(2+)-induced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation were determined in in vitro experiment. The effects of the extract on cholesterol levels, conjugated diene (CD) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and plaque formations in cholesterol-fed rabbits were investigated.

Results: We found that in scavenging DPPH radicals the extract and Trolox had IC(50) of 78.15+/-0.92 and 2.14+/-0.12microg/ml, respectively. The extract significantly (P<0.05) prolonged the lag-time of CD formation and inhibited TBARS formation in both in vitro and ex vivo experiments in a dose-dependent manner. In hypercholesterol-fed rabbits, at 12 weeks of treatment, it significantly (P<0.05) lowered the cholesterol levels and reduced the atherosclerotic plaque formation to about 50 and 86%, respectively. These effects were at degrees comparable to those of simvastatin.

Conclusions: The results indicate that this plant possesses antioxidant, hypolipidaemic and antiatherosclerotic activities and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Moringa oleifera / chemistry*
  • Picrates / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Rabbits
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / analysis
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology
  • Water / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Water
  • Vitamin E
  • Cholesterol
  • Simvastatin
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl