Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa oleifera is a plant, which is often called the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree.

Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits and has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Facts on Moringa:

  • The tree is native to India but also grows in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Moringa contains a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Moringa oleifera has few known side effects.
  • People taking medication should consult a doctor before taking moringa extract.

What is in Moringa?

Moringa oleifera
Moringa has medicinal properties and contains many healthful compounds.

Moringa contains many healthful compounds such as:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin), B-6
  • folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • zinc

It is also extremely low in fats and contains no harmful cholesterol.

What are the benefits?

Moringa is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health and beauty to helping prevent and cure diseases. The benefits of moringa include:

1. Protecting and nourishing skin and hair

Moringa seed oil is beneficial for protecting hair against free radicals and keeps it clean and healthy. Moringa also contains protein, which means it is helpful in protecting skin cells from damage. It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost the skin and hair.

It can be successful in curing skin infections and sores.

2. Treating edema

Edema is a painful condition where fluid builds up in specific tissues in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may be effective in preventing edema from developing.

3. Protecting the liver

Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.

4. Preventing and treating cancer

Moringa extracts contain properties that might help prevent cancer developing. It also contains niazimicin, which is a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells.

5. Treating stomach complaints

Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.

6. Fighting against antibacterial diseases

Due to it’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by SalmonellaRhizopus, and E. coli.

7. Making bones healthier

Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat conditions such as arthritis and may also heal damaged bones.

8. Treating mood disorders

Moringa is thought to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

9. Protecting the cardiovascular system

The powerful antioxidants found in Moringa extract might help prevent cardiac damage and has also been shown to maintain a healthy heart.

10. Helping wounds to heal

Extract of moringa has been shown to help wounds close as well as reduce the appearance of scars.

11. Treating diabetes

Moringa helps to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, as well as sugar and protein in the urine. This improved the hemoglobin levels and overall protein content in those tested.

12. Treating asthma

Moringa may help reduce the severity of some asthma attacks and protect against bronchial constrictions. It has also been shown to assist with better lung function and breathing overall.

13. Protecting against kidney disorders

People may be less likely to develop stones in the kidneys, bladder or uterus if they ingest moringa extract. Moringa contains high levels of antioxidants that might aid toxicity levels in the kidneys.

14. Reducing high blood pressure

Moringa contains isothiocyanate and niaziminin, compounds that help to stop arteries from thickening, which can cause blood pressure to rise.

15. Improving eye health

Moringa contains eyesight-improving properties thanks to its high antioxidant levels. Moringa may stop the dilation of retinal vessels, prevent the thickening of capillary membranes, and inhibit retinal dysfunction.

16. Treating anemia and sickle cell disease

Moringa might help a person’s body absorb more iron, therefore increasing their red blood cell count. It is thought the plant extract is very helpful in treating and preventing anemia and sickle cell disease.

Side effects

Moringa plant dried and powder
Although Moringa may have very few reported side effects, a healthcare professional should be consulted before it is taken.

Anyone considering using moringa is advised to discuss it with a doctor first.

Moringa may possess anti-fertility qualities and is therefore not recommended for pregnant women.

There have been very few side effects reported.

People should always read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions.

Risks with existing medications

Some of the medications to be particularly aware of are:

  • Levothyroxine: Used to combat thyroid problems. Compounds in the moringa leaf may aid the thyroid function, but people should not take it in combination with other thyroid medication.
  • Any medications that might be broken down by the liver: Moringa extract may decrease how quickly this happens, which could lead to various side effects or complications.
  • Diabetes medications: Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar, which moringa also does effectively. It is vital to ensure blood sugar levels do not get too low.
  • High blood pressure medication: Moringa has shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure. Taking moringa alongside other drugs that lower your blood pressure may result in it becoming too low.

Can it aid weight loss?

Evidence has shown that moringa extract can be effective in reducing and controlling weight gain in mice. Its high vitamin B content helps with smooth and efficient digestion and can assist the body when converting food into energy, as opposed to storing it as fat.

Moringa is thought of:

  • reduce weight gain
  • help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • prevent inflammation
  • help the body convert fats into energy
  • reduce fatigue and improve energy levels

What are the studies saying?

 Like all supplements, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor moringa so there might be concerns about purity or quality. It is essential to understand the validity of the claims made by the manufacturers, whether it is safe to use, and what potential side effects there may be.

There is plenty of recent research to back up the benefits as stated above, though many of the studies are still in the preliminary stages or the tests have only taken place on animals as opposed to humans, so there is plenty more to be done.

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Health Benefits of Turmeric Tea

Turmeric is a popular spice made from the rhizome or root of the Curcuma longa plant.

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and is a member of the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. It has been used as a herbal remedy for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

India grows 78 percent of the global supply of turmeric. In this article, we look at a range of potential health benefits.

Fast facts on turmeric tea:

  • The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
  • Curcumin gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color.
  • Curcumin is proven to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

What is turmeric tea?

turmeric tea
The most effective way to consume turmeric may be as a tea.

Curcumin has low bioavailability, which means the body has a hard time accessing and absorbing the compound. For this reason, turmeric supplements, with their guaranteed high concentrations of curcumin, are popular.

Turmeric tea, brewed using grated turmeric root or pure powder, is considered one of the most effective ways to consume the spice.

There is no specific recommended daily intake of turmeric. Based on available research, the suggested daily intake depends largely on the condition it is being used to treat.

Most research in adults supports the safe use of 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of pure turmeric powder three times daily, or 1 to 3 grams (g) daily of grated or dried turmeric root. Grating the turmeric yourself is the best way to ensure a pure product.

Nine potential benefits of turmeric tea

Drinking turmeric tea is believed to bring about several benefits, nine of which are described in more detail here.

1. Reduces arthritis symptoms

As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin may help reduce the most prominent symptoms of arthritis.

2017 study found that out of 206 American adults with self-reported rheumatoid arthritis, 63 percent used non-vitamin supplements to manage their symptoms, with turmeric being the most popular product that was taken.

2. Boosts immune function

Curcumin is proven to improve immune function with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.

Curcumin has also been shown to act as an immune modulator, helping regulate immune cell function against cancer.

3. Help reduce cardiovascular complications

Several studies have shown curcumin to have beneficial heart health properties by acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

A 2012 study found that taking 4 g per day of curcumin 3 days before and 5 days after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, reduced the risk of acute myocardial infarction or heart attack by 17 percent.

4. Helps prevent and treat cancer

One of the most clinically established therapeutic properties of curcumin is its anti-cancer action.

As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, curcumin is thought to lower the risk of cells in the body becoming damaged, reducing the risk of cell mutations and cancer.

Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that curcumin has anti-tumor properties, limiting the growth of tumors and spread of cancerous cells.

According to a 2014 medical review, more than 2,000 articles have been published using the keywords “curcumin” and “cancer.” The use of curcumin as a cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy is currently being investigated.

5. Helps manage irritable bowel syndrome or IBS

Curcumin has long been used in traditional medicines as a treatment for many digestive conditions.

Several studies have found that curcumin may help reduce the pain associated with IBS and improve the quality of life of those people with the condition.

2012 study in rats found that curcumin helped decrease the time it took for food to empty from the stomach to the small intestine, otherwise known as gastric emptying.

6. Prevents and treats Alzheimer’s

Studies have shown that curcumin may help reduce the chances of several neurodegenerative conditions. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers are thought to reduce cellular damage, inflammation, and amyloid deposits or plaques that occur with these conditions.

Curcumin may also be able to slow down or prevent some of the age-associated protein changes linked to neurodegeneration.

7. Protects against liver damage, gallstones, and manages liver conditions

Several studies have shown that curcumin can protect against liver damage. Potential liver and gallbladder benefits of curcumin include increasing production of the digestive fluid bile while also protecting liver cells from damage from bile-associated chemicals.

8. Helps prevent and manage diabetes

Traditional medicines have used turmeric for diabetes for thousands of years. Several studies using animal and human models have shown that curcumin supplementation may have anti-diabetes properties.

9. Helps treat and manage lung conditions

Researchers suspect that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin may help reduce the symptoms of chronic or long-lasting lung conditions.

2017 medical review concluded that although the clinical evidence is limited, curcumin might help treat asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How to prepare turmeric tea

turmeric powder on a plate
To make a turmeric tea, a person can add ground, grated, or powdered turmeric to boiling water.

Turmeric tea can be prepared from either pure turmeric powder or grated or ground, dried turmeric. Fermented turmeric preparations, commonly sold as tea products, claim to have higher concentrations of biologically available or absorbable curcumin.

The steps to follow for making turmeric tea are:

  • boil 4 cups of water
  • add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground, grated, or powdered turmeric
  • allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 10 minutes
  • strain the tea into a container and allow it to cool for 5 minutes

Many people put additional ingredients into their turmeric tea to improve the taste or help with its absorption. Common additives include:

  • Honey, to sweeten the tea and give the mixture more anti-microbial properties.
  • Whole milk, cream, almond milk, coconut milk, or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee (unclarified butter) to help with absorption, as curcumin requires healthy fats to dissolve properly.
  • Black pepper, which contains piperine, a chemical known to help promote curcumin absorption, and that can add a spicy flavor to the tea.
  • Lemon, lime, or ginger, to enhance antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in the mixture and improve taste.

Bilberry Health Benefits

If you haven’t heard of bilberry fruit, you shouldn’t be surprised. The plant is extremely difficult to grow, and since it bears small fruit it is seldom cultivated. The fruit that does exist is primarily from wild plants that grow throughout northern and central Europe where they are more plentiful. In fact, it’s often called European blueberry.

For comparison, bilberries are similar to blueberries and huckleberries, but smaller and with a fuller taste. Like most natural foods, there are a number of health benefits associated with this berry, the most notable being an improvement in eye health. British pilots during World War II actually ate bilberry jam before night raids in order to improve their vision.

Bilberry for Natural Eye Health

When you take a closer look at the berry, this bit of war lore is not too surprising. According to the book “100 Super Supplements for a Longer Life,” by Frank Murray, bilberry health benefits include protecting collagen structures found in the eyes. Bilberry can also prevent and treat macular degeneration and retinopathy. The anthocyanosides found in bilberry are known for their ability to help nourish and repair the tiny capillaries within the eye.

Bilberry for Cardiovascular Health

While eye health is a top benefit of bilberry, the benefits don’t stop there. Bilberry is also used to help improve cardiovascular health. According to a paper on bilberry written for the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research by Dr. Kathi Kemper, bilberry can improve circulation and protect against circulatory-related disease. Dr. Kemper suggests that bilberry can also improve atherosclerosis and varicose veins. In addition, the bilberry bioflavonoids are beneficial to the connective tissue that lines blood vessels and binds ligaments throughout the body.

Bilberry as an Antioxidant

The plant is also an excellent source of antioxidants containing both anthocyanosides and Vitamin C. These antioxidants work to repair and reverse damage to cells from free radicals.

Natural Health Benefits of Bilberry

Historically, the berry has been credited with a number of health benefits including:

  • strengthening blood vessels
  • improving red blood cells
  • stabilizing collagen tissues
  • lowering cholesterol
  • increasing retinal pigments
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving eyesight
  • improving night vision
  • preventing cataracts
  • anti-aging effects on collagen structures
  • soothing a sore throat
  • lowering blood sugar
  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • anticancer effects
  • blocking tumor growth

Traditionally, the leaves and the berries have been used to help with scurvy, urinary tract issues or challenges, kidney problems, and diarrhea.

How to Use Bilberry

There are a number of ways to consume this plant to take advantage of the many bilberry health benefits. In fact, in Poland, bilberries are put into sweet buns as a filling (such a bun is called a jagodzianka, and it is one of Poland’s most popular bakery products during summer). It can be harvested naturally from forests and eaten fresh in jams or other dishes. The fruit can also be dried, used in tea, or found in pill form.

For those without access to the fruit and looking to supplement, look for an extract standardized to 25% anthocyanins. 120 mg a day should suffice.

True Aloe

Aloe Vera

Latin Name

L. Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis var miller, Aloe vera var. chinensis, Aloe vulgaris, Aloe vera var. lanzae, Aloe indica, Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis, Aloe vera var. wratislaviensis, Aloe elongata, Aloe vera var. littoralis, Aloe perfoliata var. vera, Aloe perfoliata var. barbadensis, Aloe flava, Aloe chinensis, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe lanzae.

Common Names

Aloe vera, True Aloe

Suggested Properties

Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral and energy tonic

Indicated for

Digestive tract irritations such as colitis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, cleansing stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder and colon, arthritis, asthma, bladder and kidney infections, cancer, constipation, diverticular disorders, haemorrhoids, heartburn, heart disease, HIV, immune stimulation, indigestion, insomnia, kidney disease, leg cramps, leukemia, skin health, stomach distress, tumours, vaginitis, vaginal douche, viruses, white blood cell production and general health tonic.

If you are using oral corticosteroids, such as beclomethasone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone, it is important not to overuse or misuse Aloe vera juice. A potassium deficiency can develop, and you may experience toxic effects from the medication.

Although it is removed, in practice Aloe vera juice may sometimes still contain tiny quantities of the laxative compound found in aloe latex. Should you begin to have cramps or diarrhea do not ingest any more of the juice.

Allergies to aloe vera are very rare. Yet any food can be a potential allergen. Test a small amount on the inner arm to see if any reaction takes place. If no irritation on the skin is observed then it is generally tolerated. If ingestion causes diarrhea, then reduce the amount you ingest, increasing use slowly over several days until the desired amount is tolerated.

Surprising Facts About Aloe Vera

  • With a history that extends back 6,000 years, Aloe vera is believed to have originated in the Sudan.
  • Although it resembles a cactus, Aloe is a member of the lily family.
  • There are 400 species of the Aloe vera plant.
  • Aloe’s health benefits are supported by nearly 700 published scientific and clinical studies.
  • Aloe vera offers over 200 biologically active amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes.
  • Both Ayurvedic medicines in India and Traditional Chinese Medicine utilize Aloe vera.
  • Aloe vera is the second most frequently used ingredient in Hispanic culture and, in Asian culture, is second only to red ginseng.
  • Native Americans called it the “Wand of the Heaven.”

Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis, has been a staple for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. Today, it’s used in lotions, ointments, creams, sunburn remedies, and cosmetics, among other things. Traditional uses for aloe vera include soothing burns, moisturizing skin, and healing small wounds. Many people even apply it to reduce the appearance of acne. Aloe vera offers a wide range of nutritional benefits that support more than just skin health. Let’s take a look at some other uses you may not know about.

1. Aloe Vera Supports the Immune System

The immune system requires oxygen-rich blood. Aloe vera supports nutrient absorption, a key factor in maintaining blood-oxygen levels. Oddly enough, one of the ways aloe does this is by keeping the digestive tract clean through bowel regularity.

Aloe also acts as an adaptogen, which keeps cells in balance. It helps protect them from stress and other factors that disrupt their function, in turn making it easier for the immune system to do its job.

Aloe vera is an abundant source of polysaccharides. Research shows these complex sugars improve the efficiency of the immune system. Aloe is also rich in the antioxidants that protect against free radicals.

2. Aloe Vera Supports Normal Digestion

Aloe vera contains two enzymes — amylase and lipase — that are helpful for encouraging normal digestion. Aloe also helps keep your stomach acid levels balanced to support a normal gut environment.

Some preliminary research suggests aloe may also help with ulcerative colitis, a condition in which ulcers form in the intestines. In a clinical trial, 30 patients suffering from the condition were given aloe vera. Fourteen of the thirty patients reported some form of improvement; only four patients in the placebo group reported improvement.

Aloe contains acemannan. Acemannan and other polysaccharides are prebiotics that supports probiotics in the gut. When you have these ‘good guys’ in your gut, you’re apt to digest your food better, get more nutritional value from it, and just enjoy better health. A University of California, Davis study found people who consumed aloe vera absorbed vitamin C and vitamin B12 better.

3. Helps Relieve Symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects many people. Common symptoms include gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort. Many people have reported experiencing relief after taking aloe supplements.

4. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Aloe is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Important for healthy skin, teeth, bones, and eyes.
  • Vitamin C: Vital for energy creation, skin health, and immune function.
  • Vitamin E: Protects the skin from UV damage.
  • Vitamin B12: Keep’s nerve and brain cells healthy. Necessary to replicate DNA.
  • Folic acid: Essential for brain function, liver health, and energy creation.
  • Choline: Supports metabolism and the neurotransmitters needed for memory, focus, and a positive mood.

Aloe contains calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc, all of which are integral to energy creation, hormone balance, cellular reproduction, and immune system function.

5. Aloe Vera is a Great Source of Nutrients and Enzymes

Aloe vera is often called a superfood because, in addition to vitamins and minerals, it offers more than 200 other bioavailable nutrients. It’s especially rich in the following enzymes, which support energy creation, hormone function, digestion, and toxin removal:

  • Alliinase
  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Amylase
  • Bradykinase
  • Carboxypeptidase
  • Catalase
  • Cellulase
  • Lipase
  • Peroxidase

There is a group of nutrients known as secondary metabolites which are only found in aloe. Some of these include aloe emodin, chrysophanol, aloesin, and aloin. Research shows these nutrients can offer a number of other important health benefits.

6. Aloe Supports Cardiovascular Health

Phytosterols are beneficial compounds in plants and aloe vera is a particularly rich source. Phytosterols help balance LDL cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. In a five-year study of 5,000 heart disease patients, researchers found those who consumed aloe vera and another plant called ‘Husk of Isabgol’ had better cholesterol and blood sugar numbers.

7. Aloe Vera Boosts Dental Health

A recent study involving 345 participants suggests aloe makes an effective mouthwash that supports healthy teeth and gums. Another study found that aloe vera gel can help fight Candida albicans, a common mouth fungus.

8. Aloe Fights Harmful Organisms

Some plants contain a variety of chemicals and compounds that serve as antiseptic agents and help combat harmful organisms. Aloe vera itself contains six powerful antiseptic agents the human body is able to use: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur.

9. Aloe Vera is Ultra Soothing

One of the best uses for aloe vera is to soothe all types of red, swollen, irritated tissue. It contains an enzyme called bradykinase that helps reduce irritation.

10. Aloe Vera May Have Anti-Aging Properties

It appears aloe vera does more than soothe and moisturize. It also offers anti-aging benefits that clear the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. In one study, 30 women over the age of 45 took an aloe vera gel supplement for 90 days. By the end of the study, the appearance of their facial wrinkles decreased and their skin looked better.

In Conclusion

Aloe vera does a lot more than soothe a sunburn. It’s good for skin and is a potent superfood that delivers powerful nutrition. There are several ways to harness the benefits of aloe vera. You can take it as a juice, a gel, or in pill form. When choosing an aloe supplement, check the ingredients. Some products include ingredients other than aloe vera and may not contain the nutrients, ingredients, or concentrations you expect, acemannan in particular.

What Is Acemannan?

Acemannan pronounced “ace-man-nan”, is a polysaccharide found in the inner part of aloe vera leaves. It’s actually the component that sets aloe vera apart from the 400+ other species of aloe plants. Acemannan has many nutritional qualities and is largely responsible for the benefits aloe vera offers.

Do All of Aloe Vera’s Health Benefits Come from Acemannan?

Aloe vera offers many health benefits and you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of aloe vera products on the market. Topical products like lotions and creams take advantage of aloe vera’s unique ability to soothe skin. Aloe vera also offers a wealth of internal benefits. For example, studies have shown that formulas with acemannan outperform other remedies for oral wounds.

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that, when ingested, aloe vera supports immune health, is very soothing, and even aids digestion. Some research indicates that acemannan can help support normal blood sugar and triglyceride levels. As beneficial as acemannan is, there is a matrix of other vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients working together within the plant.

Best Way to Consume Acemannan

The best way to ensure you’re getting acemannan is to verify that the aloe vera product you’ve chosen is made from the inner aloe vera leaf, not the outer leaf or whole leaf. There are big differences between the inner and outer leaf. For instance, certain compounds within the outer leaf are known to cause severe gastric distress, stay clear!

What about consuming fresh aloe vera straight from the leaf? Certainly doable, but not everyone appreciates the taste, as aloe vera can be bitter and overpowering, even when mixed with juices or smoothies. It’s also difficult to consume the gel from the inner aloe vera leaf without ending up with part of the outer leaf and all that comes with it.

What About Aloe Vera Juice?

Some people prefer aloe vera juice but it can be difficult to find a juice made with only inner leaf aloe vera. Even juices that are made using the gel from the inner aloe vera leaf may still contain other additives.