Moringa is an herbal extract with well-known, potent effects on both inflammation and oxidative damage. On top of that, it’s also got some promising evidence suggesting it might be able to improve glucose regulation and support healthy cholesterol levels.
These properties make it a favorite among people looking to build a supplement stack focused on long-term health. Want to know what makes moringa powder special? Here’s what the latest scientific research says about the benefits of this herbal extract.
Moringa powder benefits
1. Moringa oleifera has long been used for herbal medicine
Moringa originates in Northern India, and nearly every part of it, including leaves and pods, have been used medicinally for thousands of years.
This small tree goes by several names, such as ben oil tree, drumstick tree and horseradish tree. Pods and leaves are often consumed in parts of India and Africa, and preparations can be made from bark, flowers, sap and roots. (1)
In the Western locations, the most common dietary supplement from moringa oleifera is dried leaves sold in capsules or powder form.
2. Moringa powder is a rich source of antioxidants
Besides the usual antioxidants (vitamins A and C), moringa oleifera leaves are also a good source of chlorogenic acid and quercetin (2).
Quercetin has been shown to help in lowering blood pressure, which could potentially reduce the risk of developing heart disease (3).
Chlorogenic acid is a compound also found in coffee and known for its positive effects on controlling blood sugar (4).
One study with women taking a teaspoon and a half of moringa oleifera powder each morning for 12 weeks showed blood levels of antioxidants improved significantly over the trial period (5).
Moringa oleifera may also have potential use as a natural preservative; shelf life on certain foods can be extended due to the antioxidant content (6).
3. Moringa powder may help reduce your risk of type two diabetes
High blood sugar levels are associated with diabetes, a growing problem in the modern world. Keeping blood sugar in normal ranges is vital for good health, and moringa oleifera has been tested for its effects on blood sugar.
A small three-month study had 30 women taking 7 grams of moringa oleifera leaf powder daily, and blood sugar levels dropped by 13.5% over the course of the trial (7).
In a different study, six diabetics took a much larger dose of moringa oleifera powder (50 grams) with a meal, which reduced the rise in blood sugar levels by more than 20% (8).
4. Moringa powder can act as an anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is a protective mechanism that the body uses as a natural response to infection or injury, but when it becomes chronic, inflammation can lead to health issues like heart disease and cancer (9,10).
Moringa oleifera leaves appear to be among those plant compounds that can help the body scale back on inflammatory activity, along with foods like pomegranate and turmeric. (11)
This potential benefit has not yet been studied in humans, but lab results using animals and test tubes look promising.
5. Moringa powder could also help control cholesterol
High levels of blood cholesterol have long been associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease; controlling cholesterol may play an important role in decreasing those risks.
Oats, almonds and flaxseed have all been shown to help lower blood cholesterol readings, and moringa oleifera has performed well in both animal and human studies monitoring cholesterol levels. (12)
6. Moringa powder could prevent the negative effects of arsenic exposure in your diet
Exposure to arsenic over long periods of time increases the risk of developing cancer (13). It may also jack up the risk of heart disease (14).
Exposure to high levels of arsenic can be a problem in areas of the world where water contaminated with arsenic is used to grow crops; rice, which is a staple in certain regions, is a common source of arsenic exposure (15).
Studies indicate that laboratory animals gained some protection against arsenic toxicity through feeding on moringa oleifera leaves and seeds, but more studies are required to confirm and refine these results (16).
7. Moringa could help attenuate the negative effects of diabetes
Much of the emerging research on moringa oleifera powder has narrowed in on the fact that some of the biologically active compounds in moringa are structurally similar to insulin, a naturally-occurring hormone in your body that regulates your blood sugar levels (17).
Since moringa is similar to insulin, the thinking goes, it might help with some of the negative effects of type two diabetes. One study published in the Journal of Diabetes used rats to induce an experimental model of diabetes, then tested the effects of a moringa supplement (18).
After experimentally inducing diabetes in the rats, the researchers gave the rats a moringa supplement as part of their normal diet and looked at whether the moringa was able to reverse some of the deleterious changes in cellular metabolism.
A review study published in 2015 called for more organized research in humans, with standardized preparations of moringa oleifera powder or extracts, to better understand whether these same antidiabetic effects will extend to humans as well (19).
8. Moringa could help improve sexual function in men
Another area where a lot of promising moringa research in animals has been emerging is in the realm of sexual function.
Multiple different studies have found that moringa or its extracts can improve sexual function and arousal, at least in rats. One such study, published by researchers in India, examined the effects of moringa on sexual activity in rats (20).
Compared to administration of a placebo, rats who had been administered moringa were more sexually active and more successful in their sexual endeavors. Other work, such as a study published by a research team in Sudan, has found similar results (21).
Perhaps most interesting is a 2015 paper published by researchers in Thailand that found that moringa could reverse sexual dysfunction in rats that was attributable to stress (22).
Because of the oxidative damage induced by chronic high stress levels, male rats (and humans, it should be noted) suffer sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction and lowered libido.
As such, moringa could be useful as a fertility supplement or an ingredient in male enhancement pills for men whose sexual performance is being compromised because of high stress levels.
Moringa powder side effects
Too much moringa could interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals in your gut. One downside to eating leaves of this tree is the high levels of anti-nutrients, which can interfere with absorption of vitamins, minerals and proteins in the digestive system. (23)
Using capsules filled with moringa oleifera powder won’t add up to a significant boost in the amount of nutrients in your diet. But if you’re eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough of the nutrients mentioned above shouldn’t be a concern.
Thus far, research on moringa powder in humans has not reported any adverse side effects. Studies in rats and other animals have identified some risks, like loss in body weight, but these risks only occurred at doses far higher than what is achievable with a typical oral dose (24).
Moringa powder dosage
Aim for two to seven grams per day if you want to follow the scientific research. According to one study, moringa leaf powder is typically used in human research studies at doses ranging from two to seven grams per day (25).
Some studies use higher doses, but only for short periods. Occasional studies have used larger doses (up to 50 grams) but not for an extended period of time. For now, starting around two to four grams per day is a good starting point, with an increase in dosage if you feel that you are not getting the desired effects.
This dosage range also lines up nicely with the approximate doses used in animal studies, scaled to doses appropriate for the human body.
Moringa powder benefits FAQ
Q: What is moringa good for?
A: Moringa is most commonly used as a way to lower blood lipids, help improve the negative consequences of type two diabetes, and as a way to improve sexual function, particularly in men.
On all three of these fronts, most of the evidence supporting the use of moringa is based on research in lab animals, not humans, so moringa does not have quite as much evidence supporting its use as, say, green tea extract, which has been heavily studied in humans.
Nevertheless, many people find the evidence on moringa convincing enough to add to their daily supplementation routine.
Q: How do you use moringa powder?
A: Moringa powder is easy to mix into a smoothie or a protein shake, but it also mixes well with powdered green drinks.
Moringa has a slightly sharp, grassy taste to it, somewhat similar to matcha or spirulina, and it does have a tendency to clump up, so not everybody likes mixing it with plain water.
Q: What can moringa cure?
A: Moringa hasn’t been shown to cure anything just yet, but it does show a lot of promise for helping to reduce some of the negative health effects associated with conditions like type two diabetes, as well as dysregulated sexual function in men (based on results from animal studies, at least).
It could also be a useful way to reduce blood lipid levels, which are a significant factor for cardiovascular disease.
Q: What is in moringa powder?
A: Moringa powder contains several biologically active compounds, including quercetin, but scientists have not identified the compound or compounds that are actually responsible for the primary benefits of moringa.
This limitation has hampered the use of moringa in human research, and makes prescribing doses tricky. Regardless, moringa powder is just the dried and powdered extract of the moringa oleifera plant, so the primary source from which it is constituted does not change.
Q: Can moringa help with hypothyroid?
A: Some preliminary research suggests that moringa can indeed boost the levels of particular thyroid-related hormones, but these studies have been small, and have been limited to lab rats, not humans.
One paper found increases in levels of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are compounds produced by the thyroid.
It’s not clear if this is a direct result of moringa acting on the thyroid, or is a more general effect of the antioxidant effects of moringa (because the same study found that blood lipid levels also decreased in the same animals when given a moringa supplement).
You may find moringa incorporated into some thyroid supplements, but more research in humans is needed to see if these animal results translate to humans.
Related: Our best moringa powder picks
Moringa powder is a versatile herbal extract with a broad range of potential use cases: it’s a good pick if you want a supplement that can fight systemic inflammation, and it could also be helpful at improving glucose control and regulating cholesterol levels.
It’s easy to mix into shakes, smoothies, and green drinks for boosting the antioxidant capacity of these or any other health drink. Adding a few grams of moringa powder to your favorite health drink is an easy way to leverage the potential benefits of this natural supplement.