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Moringa Oil

The seeds of the plant with Latin name Moringa oleifera are the source of Moringa oil. This plant is also referred to as “Drumstick tree”. Likewise, Moringa oil has an alternative name: Ben oil (or Behen oil), the reason being that it is rich in behenic acid.


This oil has been used since ancient Greek and Rome for medicinal purposes. Today, Moringa oil is used both as a medical and nutritional source, and for inductrial applications.

Because of its soft flavor, some people use it for cooking, which we actually highly recommend as a replacement for some other usually used high PUFA oils (see below). Its smoking point is around 200 degrees Celsius (390 F), which is higher than most polyunsaturated vegetable oils. However, a much more healthier way is to use it cold to prepare salads and dressings. You can also add some Moringa oil to your green juices and smoothies to help the absorption of oil-soluble nutrients. In addition to culinary uses, another great option is to use it topically on the hair and skin.

The Origin

Moringa oleifera

Moringa oleifera

The origin of Moringa oleifera are the foothills of the Himalayan region. This tree can be found in other parts of the world as well, such as India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Each location gives something special to the nutrition qualities of Moringa oil, so we have different varieties of it. As with the other plant oils, Ben oil is extracted from the seeds of this plant by using pressure. Cold pressed oil is of superior quality to other methods, such as solvent extraction.

The seeds of the Drumstick tree are very nutritious. Even the leaves have high levels of vitamin B and C, and other nutrients which makes them superior to spinach or other green leafy vegetables.

If the solvent method is used to extract Moringa seed oil, it is very important that no harmful solvents are being used. One of them is hexane.

In its natural form, Moringa oil is light yellow in color, mild in taste, and has no special odor.

Features

Some of the beneficial properties of Moringa oil include:

  • Antioxidant action – Moringa oil is a strong antioxidant. [1]
  • Anti-inflammatory action – This oil fights inflammation when applied topically or internally.
  • Anti-aging action – This oil helps prevent skin aging and alleviates aging signs.
  • Anti-microbial action –It can be used for water purification as it kills bacteria. [2]
  • Disinfection properties – can be applied to wounds.
  • Preservative – Can be used to preserve food, as it resists rancidity
  • Mosturizing action – Moringa oil has a great moisturizing properties when used on the skin.
  • Antihepatotoxicity  – It prevents damage to the liver. [3]
  • Carrier oli for aromatherapy – Moringa oil is a great carrier oil for aromatherapy.
  • Exfoliant – removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.

Health Benefits of Moringa Oil

Moringa oil, used topically or ingested, brings a number of benefits for human health.

Benefits for the Skin

This oil is a great moisturizer for your skin. Just apply on your skin for increased glow and excellent hydratation. It spreads well and it keeps the skin well moisturized, however, it will not be too oily. The fact that Ben oil is absorbed well makes it one of the frequent ingredients in some cosmetic products.

This effects of moisturization of this oil is due to the high levels of omega 9 fatty acid, in particular, oleic acid. It has significantly lower levels of behenic acid, but they are enough to give the skin a smooth look. Behenic acid is known to be able to condition the hair and smooth the skin.

Moringa oil may help in case of eczema, psoriasis, or other conditions related to irritated skin. [4]

The strong anti-inflamatory action of Ben oil, it can be used for acne treatments.

Moringa oil helps in treating wounds, bruises, and burns.

Tamanu and Moringa oil together help diminsh scars.

Due to its strong anti-fungal action, Moringa oil helps combat fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, or ringworm.

Moringa oil used regurlarly, alone or in combination with aloe vera, can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make the skin tight.

moringa-seed-oilBenefits for the Hair
Moringa oil is also very good for the hair. Because of its benehic acic, it can nourish and strengthen the hair roots, wash out dandruff, and reduce the scalp irritation. It is good for damaged or weak hair. When applied as a conditioner, it can help with numerious hair problems. In addition, your hair will become more manageable, more glossy, and as a result more beautiful. Obviously, by strengthening the roots, Ben oil helps with hair loss.

Benefits for the Liver
When used as food, Moringa oil can improve the condition of the liver. A study monitoring the blood serum AST levels has shown that Moringa oil lowers the markers that indicate liver damage. [3]. This may be beneficial for patients whose liver is impaired by toxins, medications, or viruses.

Benefits in case of Arthritis
Moringa oil can help alleviate arthritis pain. It can be applied directly on the sore spot to reduce inflammation and swelling. It can also help with joints pain and gout.

Benefits for the Gums
To improve gum health or to reduce inflamation, massage moringa oil on the gums. It can help in case of swollen or bleeding gums. It has a rather mild taste, so many people find it not irritable or revolting.

Help with Strong Emotions
Traditionally Moringa oil has been used to alleviate hysteria and put one’s emotions under control.

Possible Side Effects

This oil is safe to use, topically or internally. To be sure that there is no interaction with the medications you are possibly using, consult your physician.

Nutritional Information

When compared to the other oils, the nutritional value of Moringa oil is very unique. Here is why:

Cold pressed oil and its fat composition

The majority of the fatty acids in Moringa oil are mono-unsaturated (MUFA). This feature is similar to olive oil. The main fatty acid in Moringa oil is teh Oleic acid.

Oleic acid is from the omega-9 family, commonly found in olive oli, canola oil, and sunflower oil. Unlike sunflower oil, which has about 30% of Oleic acid, Moringa oil has as much as 70%, similar to olive oil. This is great, because this fatty acid supports the heart health and prevents multiple sclerosis.

But what makes Moringa oil stand out is its behenic acid. It belongs to the saturated fatty acid variety. The average concentration is about 6 to 7 percent, but it can go even higher. As already indicated, this fatty acid gives the skin the smooth and glossy look.

Fatty Acid % Composition Type
Palmitic acid: C16:0 6.34 Saturated Fatty Acid
Palmitoleic acid: C16:1ω-7 1.28 Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid
Stearic acid: C18:0 5.7 Saturated Fatty Acid
Oleic acid: C18:1 71.6 Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid
Arachidic acid: C20:0 3.52 Saturated Fatty Acid
Gadoleic Acid: C20:1 2.24 Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid
Behenic acid: C22:0 6.21 Saturated Fatty Acid
Cerotic acid: C26:0 1.21 Saturated Fatty Acid

[4]

Nutritional and Chemical Properties of of Moringa Oil
The most important nutritional components of Moringa oil are the polyphenols, flavonoids, and sterols. Moringa oil contains some levels of vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant and helps strengthen the immune ssytem. [6]

The density of Moringa oil is 0.9 g/ml, which makes it very useful as a massage oil. The peroxide value is a measure of the extent to which the oil is rancid. Its initial value is 0.19, rather low. The iodine value, which is the measure of the degree of unsaturation is relatively low, around 66. As a comparison, it comes right after coconut oil and palm oil, whereas olive oil has a higher value (between 80 and 90).

Buying and Storage

The chemical properties described above indicate that Moringa oil is relatively stable. This translates into low randicity. When buying always choose the cold pressed variety. It has superior taste, it is denser and has more color.

Moringa Oil Home remedies and uses

People have been using this oil for preparing various home remedies. Here are some of them:

  • Sleep Aid – Add a couple of drops of lavender oil in moringa oil. Gently massage your head to induce sleep.
  • Nail Softener – To soften your dry nails just apply some Moringa oil on them.
  • Perfume base – Use moringa oil as a perfume base by adding your favorite essential oil to it. The perfume industry uses Moringa oil for that.
  • Lubricant – Moringa oil can be used for lubricating machine parts.
  • Soap ingredient – due to its cleansing, smoothing and moisturizing properties, Moringa oil is great for soap making.

 

References 

  1. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society: Extraction and identification of natural antioxidant from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree variety of Malawi; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11746-002-0542-2
    2. River water purification for drinking purposes: http://miracletrees.org/moringa_water_purification.html
    3. Indian J Exp Biol. 2012: Moringa oleifera Lam. leaf extract prevents early liver injury and restores antioxidant status in mice fed with high-fat diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22734251
    4. http://miracletrees.org/moringa-doc/moringa_oil_characteristics.pdf

 

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