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Moringa oleifera: a food plant with multiple medicinal uses

PHYTOTHERAPY RESEARCH
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
Published online 6 November 2006 in Wiley InterScience REVIEW ARTICLE
Moringa oleifera: A Food Plant with
Multiple Medicinal Uses

Farooq Anwar1, Sajid Latif1, Muhammad Ashraf 2 and Anwarul Hassan Gilani3*
1Department of Chemistry, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan
2Department of Botany, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan
3Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi-74800, Pakistan
Moringa oleifera Lam (Moringaceae) is a highly valued plant, distributed in many countries of the tropics
and subtropics. It has an impressive range of medicinal uses with high nutritional value. Different parts of this
plant contain a profile of important minerals, and are a good source of protein, vitamins,
β-carotene, amino
acids and various phenolics. The Moringa
plant provides a rich and rare combination of zeatin, quercetin, β-
sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol. In addition to its compelling water purifying powers and high
nutritional value, M. oleifera
is very important for its medicinal value. Various parts of this plant such as the
leaves, roots, seed, bark, fruit, flowers and immature pods act as cardiac and circulatory stimulants, possess
antitumor, antipyretic, antiepileptic, antiinflammatory, antiulcer, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive,
cholesterol lowering, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and antifungal activities, and
are being employed for the treatment of different ailments in the indigenous system of medicine, particularly
in South Asia. This review focuses on the detailed phytochemical composition, medicinal uses, along with
pharmacological properties of different parts of this multipurpose tree. Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons,
Ltd.

Keywords: Moringa oleifera; phytomedicine; food plant; medicinal uses; pharmacological properties; natural coagulant.
kelor tree (Anwar and Bhanger, 2003). While in the Nile valley, the name of the tree is ‘Shagara al Rauwaq',which means ‘tree for purifying' (Von Maydell, 1986).
Moringa oleifera Lam (syn. M. ptreygosperma Gaertn.) In Pakistan, M. oleifera is locally known as ‘Sohanjna' is one of the best known and most widely distributed and is grown and cultivated all over the country (Qaiser, and naturalized species of a monogeneric family Morin- 1973; Anwar et al., 2005).
gaceae (Nadkarni, 1976; Ramachandran et al., 1980).
Moringa oleifera is an important food commodity The tree ranges in height from 5 to 10 m (Morton, 1991).
which has had enormous attention as the ‘natural It is found wild and cultivated throughout the plains, nutrition of the tropics'. The leaves, fruit, flowers and especially in hedges and in house yards, thrives best immature pods of this tree are used as a highly nutri- under the tropical insular climate, and is plentiful near tive vegetable in many countries, particularly in India, the sandy beds of rivers and streams (The Wealth of Pakistan, Philippines, Hawaii and many parts of Africa India, 1962; Qaiser, 1973). It can grow well in the (D'souza and Kulkarni, 1993; Anwar and Bhanger, 2003; humid tropics or hot dry lands, can survive destitute Anwar et al., 2005). Moringa leaves have been reported soils, and is little affected by drought (Morton, 1991).
to be a rich source of β-carotene, protein, vitamin C, It tolerates a wide range of rainfall with minimum calcium and potassium and act as a good source of annual rainfall requirements estimated at 250 mm and natural antioxidants; and thus enhance the shelf-life of maximum at over 3000 mm and a pH of 5.0–9.0 (Palada fat containing foods due to the presence of various types and Changl, 2003).
of antioxidant compounds such as ascorbic acid, flavo- Moringa oleifera, native of the western and sub- noids, phenolics and carotenoids (Dillard and German, Himalayan tracts, India, Pakistan, Asia Minor, Africa 2000; Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003). In the Philippines, and Arabia (Somali et al., 1984; Mughal et al., 1999) is it is known as ‘mother's best friend' because of its uti- now distributed in the Philippines, Cambodia, Central lization to increase woman's milk production and is America, North and South America and the Caribbean sometimes prescribed for anemia (Estrella et al., 2000; Islands (Morton, 1991). In some parts of the world Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003).
M. oleifera is referred to as the ‘drumstick tree' or the A number of medicinal properties have been ascribed ‘horse radish tree', whereas in others it is known as the to various parts of this highly esteemed tree (Table 1).
Almost all the parts of this plant: root, bark, gum, leaf,fruit (pods), flowers, seed and seed oil have been usedfor various ailments in the indigenous medicine of South * Correspondence to: Professor Anwarul Hassan Gilani, Department Asia, including the treatment of inflammation and of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University Medical infectious diseases along with cardiovascular, gastro- College, Karachi-74800, Pakistan.
E-mail: anwar.gilani@aku.edu intestinal, hematological and hepatorenal disorders Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
Received 16 August 2006 Revised 13 September 2006 Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Accepted 16 September 2006 F. ANWAR ET AL. Table 1. Some common medicinal uses of different parts of Moringa oleifera
Antilithic, rubefacient, vesicant, carminative, antifertility, The Wealth of India, anti-inflammatory, stimulant in paralytic afflictions; act as a cardiac/circulatory tonic, used as a laxative, abortifacient, treating rheumatism, inflammations, articular pains, lower back or kidney pain and constipation, Ruckmani et al., 1998 Purgative, applied as poultice to sores, rubbed on the Morton, 1991; Fuglie, temples for headaches, used for piles, fevers, sore throat, 2001; Makonnen et al., bronchitis, eye and ear infections, scurvy and catarrh; leaf 1997; The Wealth of juice is believed to control glucose levels, applied to reduce India, 1962; Dahot, 1988 glandular swelling Rubefacient, vesicant and used to cure eye diseases and for Bhatnagar et al., 1961; the treatment of delirious patients, prevent enlargement of Siddhuraju and Becker, the spleen and formation of tuberculous glands of the neck, to destroy tumors and to heal ulcers. The juice from the rootbark is put into ears to relieve earaches and also placed in atooth cavity as a pain killer, and has anti-tubercular activity Used for dental caries, and is astringent and rubefacient; Gum, mixed with sesame oil, is used to relieve headaches,fevers, intestinal complaints, dysentery, asthma andsometimes used as an abortifacient, and to treat syphilis andrheumatism High medicinal value as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, Nair and Subramanian, abortifacient, cholagogue; used to cure inflammations, 1962; Bhattacharya et muscle diseases, hysteria, tumors, and enlargement of the al., 1982; Dahot, 1998; spleen; lower the serum cholesterol, phospholipid, Siddhuraju and Becker, triglyceride, VLDL, LDL cholesterol to phospholipid ratio 2003; Mehta et al., 2003 and atherogenic index; decrease lipid profile of liver, heartand aorta in hypercholesterolaemic rabbits and increasedthe excretion of faecal cholesterol Seed extract exerts its protective effect by decreasing liver Faizi et al., 1998; Lalas lipid peroxides, antihypertensive compounds thiocarbamate and Tsaknis, 2002 and isothiocyanate glycosids have been isolated from theacetate phase of the ethanolic extract of Moringa pods (The Wealth of India, 1962; Singh and Kumar, 1999; compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates Morimitsu et al., 2000; Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003).
(Fahey et al., 2001; Bennett et al., 2003). The stem bark The seeds of Moringa are considered to be anti- has been reported to contain two alkaloids, namely pyretic, acrid, bitter (Oliveira et al., 1999) and reported to moringine and moringinine (Kerharo, 1969). Vanillin, show antimicrobial activity (The Wealth of India, 1962).
β-sitosterol [14], β-sitostenone, 4-hydroxymellin and
The seed can be consumed fresh as peas; or pounded, octacosanoic acid have been isolated from the stem of roasted, or pressed into sweet, non-desiccating oil, com- M. oleifera (Faizi et al., 1994a).
mercially known as ‘Ben oil' of high quality. The unique Purified, whole-gum exudate from M. oleifera has property is the ability of its dry, crushed seed and seed been found to contain L-arabinose, -galactose, -glucuronic press cake, which contain polypeptides, to serve as natu- acid, and L-rhamnose, -mannose and -xylose, while a ral coagulants for water treatment (Ndabigengesere and homogeneous, degraded-gum polysaccharide consisting Narasiah, 1998).
of L-galactose, -glucuronic acid and L-mannose has been So far no comprehensive review has been compiled obtained on mild hydrolysis of the whole gum with acid from the literature encompassing the efficacy of this (Bhattacharya et al., 1982).
plant in all dimensions. Its versatile utility as a medi- Flowers contain nine amino acids, sucrose, D-glucose, cine, functional food, nutraceutical and water purify- traces of alkaloids, wax, quercetin and kaempferat; the ing potential motivated us to bridge the information ash is rich in potassium and calcium (Ruckmani et al., gap in this area, and to write a comprehensive review 1998). They have also been reported to contain some on the medicinal, phytochemical and pharmacological flavonoid pigments such as alkaloids, kaempherol, attributes of this plant of high economic value.
rhamnetin, isoquercitrin and kaempferitrin (Faizi et al.,1994a; Siddhuraju and Becker, 2003).
Antihypertensive compounds thiocarbamate and isothiocyanate glycosides have been isolated from the acetate phase of the ethanol extract of Moringa pods(Faizi et al., 1998). The cytokinins have been shown Moringa oleifera is rich in compounds containing the to be present in the fruit (Nagar et al., 1982). A new simple sugar, rhamnose and a fairly unique group of Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
Fiqure 1. Structures of selected phytochemicals from Moringa: niazinin A [1], 4-(4′-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isoth-
iocyanate [2], 4-(-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocyanate [3], niazimicin [4], 4-(α-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl glucosinolate
[5], benzyl isothiocyanate [6], aglycon of deoxy-niazimicine (N-benzyl, S-ethylthioformate) [7], pterygospermin [8], niaziminin [9 + 10],
O-ethyl-4-(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl carbamate [11], niazirin [12], glycerol-1-(9-octadecanoate) [13], β-sitosterol [14], 3-O-(6′-O-oleoyl-
together with seven known bioactive compounds, 4(α- the Moringa seed (Guevara et al., 1999). Figure 1 L-rhamnosyloxy)-benzyl isothiocyanate [3], niazimicin
shows the structures of selected phytochemicals from Lately, interest has been generated in isolating [12], β-sitosterol [14] and glycerol-1-(9-octadecanoate)
hormones/growth promoters from the leaves of M. [13] have been isolated from the ethanol extract of
oleifera. Nodulation of black-gram (Vigna munga L.) Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
F. ANWAR ET AL. Table 2. Sterol composition (grams per 100 g of fatty acids) of the M. oleifera oils
∆7,14 Stigmastadienol ∆7,14 Stigmastanol has been shown to increase vigorously with the appli- Unani systems of medicine (Mughal et al., 1999). The cation of an aqueous-ethanol extract (Bose, 1980) of medicinal attributes (Table 1) and pharmacological M. oleifera leaves, although the nature of the active activities ascribed to various parts of Moringa are ingredient is still unknown. Moringa leaves act as a detailed below.
good source of natural antioxidant due to the presenceof various types of antioxidant compounds such as ascor-bic acid, flavonoids, phenolics and carotenoids (Anwar Antihypertensive, diuretic and cholesterol lowering
et al., 2005; Makkar and Becker, 1996). The high con- centrations of ascorbic acid, oestrogenic substances and β-sitosterol [16], iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, vi-
The widespread combination of diuretic along with lipid tamins A, B and C, α-tocopherol, riboflavin, nicotinic and blood pressure lowering constituents make this plant acid, folic acid, pyridoxine, β-carotene, protein, and in highly useful in cardiovascular disorders. Moringa leaf particular essential amino acids such as methionine, juice is known to have a stabilizing effect on blood pres- cystine, tryptophan and lysine present in Moringa leaves sure (The Wealth of India, 1962; Dahot, 1988). Nitrile, and pods make it a virtually ideal dietary supplement mustard oil glycosides and thiocarbamate glycosides (Makkar and Becker, 1996).
have been isolated from Moringa leaves, which were The composition of the sterols of Moringa seed oil found to be responsible for the blood pressure lower- mainly consists of campesterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, ing effect (Faizi et al., 1994a; 1994b; 1995). Most of ∆5-avenasterol and clerosterol accompanied by minute these compounds, bearing thiocarbamate, carbamate or amounts of 24-methylenecholesterol, ∆7-campestanol, nitrile groups, are fully acetylated glycosides, which are stigmastanol and 28-isoavenasterol (Tsaknis et al., 1999; very rare in nature (Faizi et al., 1995). Bioassay guided Anwar and Bhanger, 2003; Anwar et al., 2005; Table 2).
fractionation of the active ethanol extract of Moringa The sterol composition of the major fractions of Moringa leaves led to the isolation of four pure compounds, seed oil differs greatly from those of most of the con- niazinin A [1], niazinin [1] B, niazimicin [4] and niazinin
ventional edible oils (Rossell, 1991). The fatty acid com- A + B which showed a blood pressure lowering effect position of M. oleifera seed oil reveals that it falls in in rats mediated possibly through a calcium antagonist the category of high-oleic oils (C18:1, 67.90%–76.00%).
effect (Gilani et al., 1994a).
Among the other component fatty acids C16:0 (6.04%– Another study on the ethanol and aqueous extracts 7.80%), C18:0 (4.14%–7.60%), C20:0 (2.76%–4.00%), of whole pods and its parts, i.e. coat, pulp and seed and C22:0 (5.00%–6.73%) are important (Tsaknis et al., revealed that the blood pressure lowering effect of seed 1999; Anwar and Bhanger, 2003; Anwar et al., 2005).
was more pronounced with comparable results in both Moringa oleifera is also a good source of different ethanol and water extracts indicating that the activity tocopherols (α-, γ- and δ-); the concentration of those is widely distributed (Faizi et al., 1998). Activity-directed is reported to be 98.82–134.42, 27.90–93.70, and 48.00– fractionation of the ethanol extract of pods of M. 71.16 mg/kg, respectively (Anwar and Bhanger, 2003; oleifera has led to the isolation of thiocarbamate and Tsaknis et al., 1999).
isothiocyanate glycosides which are known to be the
hypotensive principles (Faizi et al., 1995). Methyl p-
hydroxybenzoate and β-sitosterol (14), investigated in
the pods of M. oleifera have also shown promising
MEDICINAL USES AND PHARMACOLOGICAL
hypotensive activity (Faizi et al., 1998).
Moringa roots, leaves, flowers, gum and the aqueous infusion of seeds have been found to possess diuretic Moringa oleifera also has numerous medicinal uses, activity (Morton, 1991; Caceres et al., 1992) and such which have long been recognized in the Ayurvedic and diuretic components are likely to play a complementary Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
role in the overall blood pressure lowering effect of 1961), while the juice from the stem bark showed anti- bacterial effect against Staphylococcus aureus (Mehta The crude extract of Moringa leaves has a significant et al., 2003). The fresh leaf juice was found to inhibit cholesterol lowering action in the serum of high fat the growth of microorganisms (Pseudomonas aeruginosa diet fed rats which might be attributed to the presence and Staphylococcus aureus), pathogenic to man (Caceres of a bioactive phytoconstituent, i.e. β-sitosterol (Ghasi et al., 1991).
et al., 2000). Moringa fruit has been found to lowerthe serum cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides, lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein Antitumor and anticancer activities
(VLDL) cholesterol to phospholipid ratio, atherogenicindex lipid and reduced the lipid profile of liver, Makonnen et al. (1997) found Moringa leaves to be heart and aorta in hypercholesteremic rabbits and a potential source for antitumor activity. O-Ethyl- increased the excretion of fecal cholesterol (Mehta 4-(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)benzyl carbamate [11] together
et al., 2003).
with 4(α-L-rhamnosyloxy)-benzyl isothiocyanate [3],
niazimicin [4] and 3-O-(6′-O-oleoyl-β-D-glucopyranosyl)-
β-sitosterol [15] have been tested for their potential
Antispasmodic, antiulcer and hepatoprotective
antitumor promoting activity using an in vitro assay which showed significant inhibitory effects on Epstein–Barr virus-early antigen. Niazimicin has been proposed M. oleifera roots have been reported to possess anti- to be a potent chemopreventive agent in chemical car- spasmodic activity (Caceres et al., 1992). Moringa leaves cinogenesis (Guevara et al., 1999). The seed extracts have been extensively studied pharmacologically and it have also been found to be effective on hepatic car- has been found that the ethanol extract and its con- cinogen metabolizing enzymes, antioxidant parameters stituents exhibit antispasmodic effects possibly through and skin papillomagenesis in mice (Bharali et al., 2003).
calcium channel blockade (Gilani et al., 1992; 1994a; A seed ointment had a similar effect to neomycin against Dangi et al., 2002). The antispasmodic activity of the Staphylococcus aureus pyodermia in mice (Caceres and ethanol extract of M. oleifera leaves has been attrib- Lopez, 1991).
uted to the presence of 4-[α-(L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl]- It has been found that niaziminin [9 + 10], a thio-
o-methyl thiocarbamate [3] (trans), which forms the
carbamate from the leaves of M. oleifera, exhibits inhi- basis for its traditional use in diarrhea (Gilani et al., bition of tumor-promoter-induced Epstein–Barr virus 1992). Moreover, spasmolytic activity exhibited by dif- activation. On the other hand, among the isothiocyanates, ferent constituents provides pharmacological basis for the traditional uses of this plant in gastrointestinal benzyl] [2], significantly inhibited tumor-promoter-
motility disorder (Gilani et al., 1994a).
induced Epstein–Barr virus activation, suggesting that The methanol fraction of M. oleifera leaf extract the isothiocyano group is a critical structural factor for showed antiulcerogenic and hepatoprotective effects in activity (Murakami et al., 1998).
rats (Pal et al., 1995a). Aqueous leaf extracts also showedantiulcer effect (Pal et al., 1995a) indicating that theantiulcer component is widely distributed in this plant.
Other diverse activities
Moringa roots have also been reported to possesshepatoprotective activity (Ruckmani et al., 1998). The Moringa oleifera has also been reported to exhibit other aqueous and alcohol extracts from Moringa flowers were diverse activities. Aqueous leaf extracts regulate thy- also found to have a significant hepatoprotective effect roid hormone and can be used to treat hyperthyroidism (Ruckmani et al., 1998), which may be due to the pres- and exhibit an antioxidant effect (Pal et al., 1995a; 1995b; ence of quercetin, a well known flavonoid with hepato- Tahiliani and Kar, 2000). A methanol extract of M. protective activity (Gilani et al., 1997).
oleifera leaves conferred significant radiation protec-tion to the bone marrow chromosomes in mice (Raoet al., 2001). Moringa leaves are effective for the regu- Antibacterial and antifungal activities
lation of thyroid hormone status (Tahiliani and Kar,2000).
Moringa roots have antibacterial activity (Rao et al., A recent report showed that M. oleifera leaf may be 1996) and are reported to be rich in antimicrobial agents.
applicable as a prophylactic or therapeutic anti-HSV These are reported to contain an active antibiotic prin- (Herpes simplex virus type 1) medicine and may be ciple, pterygospermin [8], which has powerful antibac-
effective against the acyclovir-resistant variant (Lipipun terial and fungicidal effects (Ruckmani et al., 1998). A et al., 2003). Table 1 depicts some common medicinal similar compound is found to be responsible for the anti- uses of different parts of this plant. The flowers and bacterial and fungicidal effects of its flowers (Das et al., leaves also are considered to be of high medicinal value 1957). The root extract also possesses antimicrobial with anthelmintic activity (Bhattacharya et al., 1982).
activity attributed to the presence of 4-α-L-rhamnosyloxy An infusion of leaf juice was shown to reduce glucose benzyl isothiocyanate [3] (Eilert et al., 1981). The aglyc-
levels in rabbits (Makonnen et al., 1997).
one of deoxy-niazimicine (N-benzyl, S-ethyl thiofor- Moringa oleifera is coming to the forefront as a re- mate) [7] isolated from the chloroform fraction of
sult of scientific evidence that Moringa is an important an ethanol extract of the root bark was found to be source of naturally occurring phytochemicals and this responsible for the antibacterial and antifungal activi- provides a basis for future viable developments. Differ- ties (Nikkon et al., 2003). The bark extract has been ent parts of M. oleifera are also incorporated in various shown to possess antifungal activity (Bhatnagar et al., marketed health formulations, such as Rumalaya and Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
F. ANWAR ET AL. Septilin (the Himalaya Drug Company, Bangalore, The coagulation mechanism of the M. oleifera coagu- India), Orthoherb (Walter Bushnell Ltd, Mumbai, In- lant protein has been explained in different ways. It dia), Kupid Fort (Pharma Products Pvt. Ltd, Thayavur, has been described as adsorption and charge neutraliza- India) and Livospin (Herbals APS Pvt. Ltd, Patna, tion (Ndabigengesere et al., 1995; Gassenschmidt et al., India), which are reputed as remedies available for 1995) and interparticle bridging (Muyibi and Evison, a variety of human health disorders (Mehta et al., 1995a). Flocculation by inter-particle bridging is mainly characteristic of high molecular weight polyelectrolytes.
Moringa seeds have specific protein fractions for Due to the small size of the M. oleifera coagulant pro- skin and hair care. Two new active components for tein (6.5–13 kDa), a bridging effect may not be con- the cosmetic industry have been extracted from oil cake.
sidered as the likely coagulation mechanism. The high Purisoft® consists of peptides of the Moringa seed. It positive charge (pI above 10) and small size may sug- protects the human skin from environmental influences gest that the main destabilization mechanism could be and combats premature skin aging. With dual activity, adsorption and charge neutralization.
antipollution and conditioning/strengthening of hair, theM. oleifera seed extract is a globally acceptable innova-tive solution for hair care (Stussi et al., 2002).
Microbial elimination with Moringa seeds
Moringa seeds also possess antimicrobial properties(Olsen, 1987; Madsen et al., 1987). Broin et al. (2002) WATER PURIFYING ATTRIBUTES OF
reported that a recombinant protein in the seed is able M. OLEIFERA SEED
to flocculate Gram-positive and Gram-negative bac-terial cells. In this case, microorganisms can be removed Moringa seeds as coagulant
by settling in the same manner as the removal of col-loids in properly coagulated and flocculated water Moringa seeds are one of the best natural coagulants (Casey, 1997). On the other hand, the seeds may also discovered so far (Ndabigengesere and Narasiah, 1998).
act directly upon microorganisms and result in growth Crushed seeds are a viable replacement of synthetic inhibition. Antimicrobial peptides are thought to act coagulants (Kalogo et al., 2000). In Sudan, seed crude by disrupting the cell membrane or by inhibiting essen- extract is used instead of alum by rural women to treat tial enzymes (Silvestro et al., 2000; Suarez et al., 2003).
the highly turbid Nile water because of a traditional Sutherland et al. (1990) reported that Moringa seeds fear of alum causing gastrointestinal disturbances and could inhibit the replication of bacteriophages. The an- Alzheimer's disease (Crapper et al., 1973; Miller et al., timicrobial effects of the seeds are attributed to the 1984; Martyn et al., 1989; Muyibi, 1994).
compound 4(α-L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl isothiocynate Moringa seeds are very effective for high turbidity (Eilert et al., 1981).
water and show similar coagulation effects to alum(Muyibi and Evison, 1995b). The coagulation effective-ness of M. oleifera varies depending on the initial tur- Moringa seeds as biosorbent
bidity and it has been reported that M. oleifera couldreduce turbidity by between 92% and 99% (Muyibi Moringa seeds could be used as a less expensive bio- and Evison, 1995b). Moringa seeds also have softening sorbent for the removal of cadmium (Cd) from aque- properties in addition to being a pH correctant (alka- ous media (Sharma et al., 2006). The aqueous solution linity reduction), as well as exhibiting a natural buffer- of Moringa seed is a heterogeneous complex mixture ing capacity, which could handle moderately high to having various functional groups, mainly low molecular high alkaline surface and ground waters. The Moringa weight organic acids (amino acids). These amino acids seeds can also be used as an antiseptic in the treatment have been found to constitute a physiologically active of drinking water (Obioma and Adikwu, 1997).
group of binding agents, working even at a low concen- Ongoing research is attempting to characterize and tration, which because of the ability to interact with purify the coagulant components of Moringa seeds metal ions is likely to increase the sorption of metal (Ndabigengesere et al., 1995; Gassenschmidt et al., 1995).
ions (Brostlap and Schuurmans, 1988). The proteineous It is believed that the seed is an organic natural poly- amino acids have a variety of structurally related pH mer (Jahn, 1984). The active ingredients are dimeric dependent properties, generating a negatively charged proteins with a molecular weight of about 1300 Da and atmosphere and play an important role in the binding an iso-electric point between 10 and 11 (Ndabigengesere of metals (Sharma et al., 2006).
et al., 1995). The protein powder is stable and totallysoluble in water.
Moringa coagulant protein can be extracted by water or salt solution (commonly NaCl). The amount and effectiveness of the coagulant protein from salt andwater extraction methods vary significantly. In crude So far numerous studies have been conducted on dif- form, the salt extract shows a better coagulation per- ferent parts of M. oleifera, but there is a dire need to formance than the corresponding water extract (Okuda isolate and identify new compounds from different parts et al., 1999). This may be explained by the presence of of the tree, which have possible antitumor promoters a higher amount of soluble protein due to the salting-in as well as inhibitory properties. Although preliminary phenomenon. However, purification of the M. oleifera studies are under way in different laboratories to use coagulant protein from the crude salt extract may not the antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, antihypertensive be technically and economically feasible.
and diuretic activities of M. oleifera seed, these studies Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Phytother. Res. 21, 17–25 (2007)
should be extended to humans in view of the edible The available information on the α-, β- and γ- nature of the plant. Moringa roots and leaves have been tocopherol content in samples of various parts of this used traditionally to treat constipation. Studies to verify edible plant is very limited. β-Carotene and vitamins A these claims need to be carried out in the light of the and C present in M. oleifera, serve as an explanation reported antispasmodic activities, which are contrary for their mode of action in the induction of antioxidant to its medicinal use as a gut motility stimulant. Earlier profiles, however, the exact mechanism is yet to be elu- studies on the presence of a combination of spasmogenic cidated. β-Carotene of M. oleifera leaves exerts a more and spasmolytic constituents in different plants used significant protective activity than silymarin against anti- for constipation (Gilani et al., 2000; 2005a; Bashir et al., tubercular induced toxicity. It would be interesting to 2006) might be of some guidance in designing experi- see if it also possesses hepatoprotective effect against ments in which the presence of antispasmodic constitu- other commonly used hepatotoxic agents such as CCl4 ents at higher doses are explained as a possible mode and galactosamine, which are considered more suitable to offset the side-effects usually associated with high models and close to human viral hepatitis (Gilani and dose of laxative therapy. Similarly, the known species Janbaz, 1995; Yaeesh et al., 2006).
differences in the pharmacological actions of medicinal Although Moringa leaves are considered a best pro- plants (Ghayur et al., 2005; Ghayur and Gilani, 2006) tein source, it still has to be shown whether or not this may also be taken into account when planning studies protein source could compete with the more common involving contradictory results.
protein sources in highly productive growing or milk- Food plants are considered relatively safe as they are likely to contain synergistic and/or side effect neutra- Many studies have also been conducted on the per- lizing combinations of activities (Gilani and Atta-ur- formance of Moringa seeds as an alternative coagulant, Rahman, 2005). Moringa oleifera, known to be rich in coagulant aid and in conjunction with alum for treating multiple medicinally active chemicals, may be a good waste water. Therefore, it is important to identify the candidate to see if it contains effect enhancing and/or active constituents of Moringa seed for a better under- side-effects neutralizing combinations. Medicinal plants standing of the coagulation mechanism. Reports on the are relatively rich in their contents of calcium channel antimicrobial effects of the protein purified from M. blockers (CCBs) which are known to possess a wide oleifera are very rare.
variety of pharmacological activities such as antihyper- Since this plant naturally occurs in varying habitats, tensive, hepatoprotective, antiulcer, antiasthmatic, anti- it is naïve to expect a great magnitude of variation in spasmodic and antidiarroeal (Stephens and Rahwan, the concentration and composition of chemical ingre- 1992; Gilani et al., 1994b; 1999; 2005b; Yaeesh et al., dients in different parts of the tree. However, the 2006; Ghayur et al., 2006) and it remains to be seen extent to which the chemical composition varies in whether such activities reported to be present in populations adapted to varying habitats is not known.
Moringa oleifera have a direct link with the presence of Thus, detailed studies are required to examine this Niazimicin, a potent antitumor promoter in chemical In view of its multiple uses, the M. oleifera plant carcinogenesis is present in the seed; its inhibitory needs to be widely cultivated in most of the areas where mechanism on tumor proliferation can be investigated climatic conditions favor its optimum growth. In this by isolating more pure samples. The mechanism of ac- way, a maximum yield of its different useable parts tion of M. oleifera as prophylactic or therapeutic anti- could be achieved to derive the maximal amount of HSV medicines for the treatment of HSV-1 infection commodities of a multifarious nature for the welfare of also needs to be examined.
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DISKUSSIONSBEITRÄGE DISCUSSION PAPERS The impact of antimicrobial drug consumption and alcohol-based hand rub use on the emergence and spread of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing strains – A time series analysis Klaus KaierUwe Frank Christian Hagist Elisabeth Meyer No. 31 – Oktober 2008 gs-Universität Freiburg The impact of antimicrobial drug consumption and alcohol-

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The Surprising Reasons You Shouldn't Get Your Energy From Caffeine (And 8 Ways To Get True Energy) Millions of people struggle with fatigue – grogginess, brain fog, lack of quality sleep or sleep quantity, or even low physical energy for basic tasks of daily living, like going up and down stairs or cleaning the garage. Sound familiar? What's worse, caffeine – the most popular drug on the planet that people rely upon to combat fatigue – has daunting side effects, including extreme addiction. While a nice cup of coffee here and there is likely harmless, large doses, especially in combination with the sugar and other additives you'll find in everything from carbonated energy drinks to fancy coffee beverages at your local coffee shop, can result in caffeine toxicity or overdose side effects. What you're about to learn in this article will surprise you: caffeine and coffee don't provide actual energy, but simply FAKE ENERGY. In a nutshell, they temporarily squeeze huge amounts of adrenaline from your adrenal glands, resulting in a longer-term drop in your energy levels and even greater dependence on these compounds to get you through the day. How Caffeine Works To Give You "Fake Energy" So how exactly does caffeine give you this "fake energy"? Caffeine's primary mechanism of action is achieved via boosting the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine. Dopamine affects levels of concentration by blocking adenosine receptors in your forebrain, receptors that would normally signal your brain to be tired when it's supposed to be tired, like at bedtime. Caffeine also increases the release of adrenaline, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to make your heart beat faster, send more blood to your muscles, and tell your liver to release sugar into the bloodstream for energy. And caffeine can do more than that. For example, it can help muscles contract by causing the sarcoplasmic reticulum in muscle fibers to release calcium ions. It has been shown to reduce the percentage of maximum exertion that any given level of exercise requires. It also increases circulating and intracellular glucose and fatty acid availability. Research also shows that the amount of caffeine we consume matters. Consumption of 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (about one to one and a half cups of brewed coffee) appears to not produce some of the energizing effects, and as much as 6 mg/kg may be needed. That's a lot of coffee, especially for women, considering that high