by Aarifah Loonat
Native to warm, tropical and sub-tropical regions such as India, Arabia, Africa and western Himalayas, Moringa Oleifera is a plant packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
It is used for food, medication and industrial purposes. However, not many South Africans are aware of the many health benefits of Moringa. With a global pandemic at hand, Moringa tea is a herbal asset to your kitchen and here’s why:
Dried moringa leaves contain the following mineral contents: Protein and amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamin E, among others.
Research shows that Moringa’s mineral contents reflects a nutritional balance. Moringa leaves are also an excellent source of natural antioxidants due to the presence of different types of antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids.
Moringa has almost 540 compounds that can treat or prevent around 300 health issues. Moringa leaves may be used for headaches, piles, fevers, sore throats, bronchitis, and eye and ear infections. It is believed to control glucose levels.
The mineral content makes it an immune system booster. In fact, many tea merchants describe Moringa as a super-immune booster. The Moringa plant is known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research finds that Moringa leaves are a potential source of antitumor activity. It can also be used to treat hyperthyroidism and is effective in regulating the thyroid hormone status.
Moringa leaves are a dark green in colour and are shredded fine and dried for tea drinking purposes. Moringa tea can be mixed with fruity flavours of tea including Strawberry Moringa, Lemon and Ginger Moringa, Pomegranate Moringa, among others. Some Moringa can be bought in these flavours, or alternatively you can brew two teabags to create a flavour infusion.
Moringa Oleifera tastes amazing with mint as well. A teabag contains finer leaves, while loose leaf Moringa has bigger shards of the dried leaves. Loose leaf Moringa makes for a stronger brew. Moringa tea is best enjoyed with hot, not boiling water and without milk. Best results come from steeping your leaves in the hot water for 2-3 minutes before consumption.
The Moringa I tried is grown in Sri Lanka and differs from South African Moringa in taste. Sri Lankan Moringa has a subtle, earthy taste. It is not bitter like the South African breed, but it is not sweet either. When brewed, the tea is a light green, almost yellow colour. However, all the nutrients are in the leaves, so I would recommend consuming the leaves as well. If the taste of Moringa is not your cup of tea, try breaking open your teabag (or use loose leaves) and mix it in your smoothies, oats or even sprinkle it on food salads to get all its health benefits.