Don’t you think it’s so true when Grandma says “go and rummage in the kitchen. There surely is an ingredient that can help with your concern”. In many kitchens around the world, you’ll find moringa. It’s added to soups and curries, or it’s pickled.
You may have seen moringa become a popular addition to smoothies or listed in the ingredients of natural skin and hair products. But it also has found its way into blushes, lip oils, and eye shadows.
So what’s this craze about? To understand why moringa is popping up everywhere and talked about among nutritionists skin and hair specialists alike, let me ask you: What skin concerns do you have? Do you want to
- Reduce the signs of ageing
- Reduce and lift dark spots
- Clarify and banish blemishes
- Alleviate itchy and red skin
- Maintain plump and elastic skin?
Most likely you want to address more than one thing. Now, imagine you get to address all concerns at once with just one bottle or ingredient. No more overflowing bathroom cabinets and complicated routines where you have to be careful when to use what.
Moringa is this all-natural multi-talker. Don’t you think it deserves to be praised as an all-around wonder ingredient?
So what is this wonder ingredient, moringa?
Moringa is a plant native to the Indian subcontinent. It’s also cultivated in Africa, Arabia, South East Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean Islands, and South America. It likes dry and hot climates and sandy soil. It grows fast. In one year, it can grow up to 7 meters.
Due to its long and slender seed pods, it’s also called drumstick tree. It’s also known as the ben oil tree or the miracle tree.
Do you know why moringa is called the miracle tree? It has earned this moniker because it can prevent at least 300 known diseases. Each and every part of the plant including leaves, fruits, seedpods, seeds, flowers, and oil can be eaten or has precious medicinal value.
Long before it came to be recognised as “super food”, moringa has been priced by diverse healing traditions including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was used for
- Reducing inflammation
- Boosting immunity
- Preventing cell damage induced by free radicals
- Helping upset stomachs
- Controlling infections
Moringa is very nutrient dense. It’s in fact so nutritious in some parts of the world, the leaves, seed pods, and seeds are used to help treat and prevent malnutrition.
Different parts of the tree have a different nutrient profile. The leaves are rich in antioxidants, protein, minerals and vitamins A, B, and C. The leaves are what people commonly call super food. That’s mainly because they’re rich in antioxidants, the best known is vitamin C, but it also contains beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid.
The seed pods, the drumsticks, provide you with dietary fibre, and contain vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. The seeds, when removed from the pods contain high levels of vitamin C and moderate amounts of B vitamins and dietary minerals.
From the mature seeds, an edible oil can be extracted. This oil is called “ben oil” because it’s rich in behenic acid. It’s a fatty acid most commonly used to provide soothing relief for dry and sensitive skin. Behenic acid is important in maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier.
What does moringa do for your skin?
It’s probably easier to answer what moringa doesn’t do for your skin. Also, you have the choice to use moringa leaves, moringa powder made from the leaves, or moringa oil extracted from the seeds.
Moringa oil is a popular ingredient for cosmetic products. It’s lubricant, emollient and soothing. These properties help to restore the skin’s natural oils and improve overall levels of hydration.
Moringa oil also contains oleic acid (70%), palmitoleic acid, and linoleic acid. The high of oleic acid means it’s a highly moisturising oil. One, that may benefit dry and sensitive skin, since it mimics the fatty acids that already occur in your skin. Hence it can easily penetrate into your skin, bringing nutrients where it’s needed.
It should come as no surprise that you can find moringa oil in hair care products like shampoos in personal care products such as lotions, body oils, soaps, deodorants, and creams, in makeup like lip balms, and in skin care products such as anti-ageing and other face creams.
Moringa leaves can be used fresh or are dried and ground down to the now very popular moringa powder. It’s excellent both for your body and your skin. If you’re following the Asian skin care philosophy, there really is no separation: What’s good for your body is also good for your skin.
You can add a spoon of moringa powder to your smoothy for great results on your skin. Applying the powder directly to your skin is an easy and effective way to address the problem at its root.
Both the moringa leaves and oil are packed with antioxidants. They help your skin respond to stress with resilience.
Boost your skin’s collagen production
Moringa is known to have high vitamin C content. In fact, it’s seven times higher than in oranges. Vitamin C is very important for your skin. It increases collagen production in your skin.
Moreover, it can stabilise the newly formed collagen. It prevents it from breaking down over time. This means your skin stays firmer for longer. It also means it can help reduce the appearance of pores since your skin is firmer.
Slow down the signs of ageing
Just by living your everyday life, your skin is exposed to aggressors such as pollution and UV rays. In reaction, our bodies make free radicals that damage cells. The free radicals can damage anything from cell membrane to DNA. You can see damage ranging from changes to your skin colour such as dar spots to your skin weakening and sagging.
The high content of antioxidants including vitamins A and C, or quercetin means that if you use moringa, these antioxidants can protect you from the damage induced by free radicals.
Balance your natural oil levels
Moringa is beneficial both for oily and dry skin. Due to its high antioxidant content, your skin is less stressed out. This means, lower stress levels and this again means lower inflammation. Stress and inflammation are what trigger sebum production in your skin.
Moringa can also help dry skin since it contains vitamin B. As a natural humectant, it draws water from the environment to your skin and increases the water level in the skin cells. Of course, if you use moringa oil instead of the leaves, you’ll get the extra benefits of the different kinds of fatty acids such as oleic acid.
Besides oleic acid, moringa oil also contains palmitoleic and linoleic acids. Oleic and palmitic acid are permeation enhancers. This means they help nutrients penetrate into your skin more easily to where they can do their job.
Linoleic acid is an important component for your body to make ceramics. Ceramides are one of the moisturising elements in your skin. Important to know is that your body doesn’t produce linoleic acid. Hence we need to either eat it or apply it to the skin.
To your body, moringa oil looks similar to sebum, the oil naturally produced by your skin. This means that it can help to balance all skin types without feeling greasy.
Since moringa is anti-inflammatory as well as anti-microbial, it can help your skin heal, clear breakouts, and prevent infection.
In other words, it can ease the processes that cause breakouts. When your skin is under stress, be it from exposure to the sun and environment, lack of sleep, or plain stress it leads to inflammation. The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties help to contribute to clearer skin.
Lift dark spots
The high antioxidant content not only improves your complexion by preventing blemishes. It can also help even out your skin tone. Vitamin C is the classical ingredient to reduce and prevent dark spots.
Moringa is a very healthy and delicious plant. It provides your body and your skin with essential nutrients.
You can try to moringa at home. Moringa powder is easy to use in drinks or home made packs. You can find the green powder at health stores. Since it’s a hardy plant, you can also try to grow the plant yourself.
If you want to know face packs recipes with moringa, feel free to let me know in the comments.