Moringa oleifera leaves, seeds, bark, roots, sap, and flowers are widely used in traditional medicine, and the leaves and immature seed pods are used as food products in human nutrition. Leaf extracts exhibit the greatest antioxidant activity, and various safety studies in animals involving aqueous leaf extracts indicate a high degree of safety. No adverse effects were reported in association with human studies. Five human studies using powdered whole leaf preparations of M. oleifera have been published, which have demonstrated anti-hyperglycemic (antidiabetic) and anti-dyslipidemic activities. These activities have been confirmed using extracts as well as leaf powders in animal studies. A rapidly growing number of published studies have shown that aqueous, hydroalcohol, or alcohol extracts of M. oleifera leaves possess a wide range of additional biological activities including antioxidant, tissue protective (liver, kidneys, heart, testes, and lungs), analgesic, antiulcer, antihypertensive, radioprotective, and immunomodulatory actions. A wide variety of polyphenols and phenolic acids as well as flavonoids, glucosinolates, and possibly alkaloids is believed to be responsible for the observed effects. Standardization of products is an issue. However, the results of published studies to date involving M. oleifera are very promising. Additional human studies using standardized extracts are highly desirable.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera; anti-dyslipidemic; anti-hyperglycemic; antioxidant; chemoprotectant; leaf extract.
© 2015 The Authors Phytotherapy Research Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.