Catchy commercials and remixes aside, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that impairs glucose tolerance and leads to a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Age, genetics, environment, and lifestyle influence the development of diabetes. A comprehensive review of studies conducted in both animal and human subjects have found the leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree to significantly reduce blood glucose levels and thus can be held potential as a potent anti-diabetic treatment as an addition to the diabetic medicines.
Moringa’s richness in antioxidants lends itself well to protecting the body from the effects of diabetes. High blood sugar can promote the generation of free radicals and deplete the body’s antioxidative defenses. In fact, lipid peroxidation is one of the characteristic features of chronic diabetics. Thus, the regular intake of moringa and other potent antioxidants is recommended to protect against oxidative damage. In a study with diabetic rats, the intake of moringa led to a significant increase in activity of three major detoxifying enzymes that fight free radicals and showed an overall decrease in the degradation of the body’s lipids (Jaiswal et al. 2013).
A study by Jaiswal et al. (2009) aimed to determine the effectiveness of moringa on glycemic control based on the claims of moringa as an ethnomedicine to treat diabetes. The study proved this claim valid, as the extract of moringa leaves was shown to reduce blood glucose levels in normal rats as well as the high blood glucose levels in sub, mild, and severely diabetic rats.
In another form, Ndong et al. (2006) studied the use of moringa leaf powder in diabetic GK rats, a relevant model of Type II diabetes in humans. In their trials, they credited moringa powder’s richness in fiber (the powder contains ~4% fiber) and flavonoids that slow down the uptake of glucose by the blood and other parts of the body as the mediating factors that controlled glucose levels in GK rats. They found that the incorporation of moringa leaf powder in the rats’ diets improved glucose tolerance, as slowing the rate of food passing from the stomach to the small intestine allows more time for absorption and greater control over blood glucose levels.
In a human trial by Giridhari et al. (2011), the administration of a moringa leaf tablet, coupled with a calorie-controlled diet, significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic patients over three months time. And among diabetics who are also obese, moringa powder was administered to eat with food for 20 days. At the end of the study, serum glucose levels significantly decreased by 8.9%, and cholesterol also lowered significantly (Kumar and Mandapaka 2013). >>>
The research behind moringa’s efficacy as an antidiabetic treatment is quite incredible, and even more so as the results are comparable to standard drugs used to treat diabetes. Alongside Tolbutamid and Glipizide, moringa leaf extract was actually more effective at lowering blood glucose (Jaiswal et al. 2009).
After thousands of years of ethnomedicinal use, it is clear that moringa deserves more research into its potential to address diabetes, among other chronic illnesses.
More research on moringa and diabetes can be found here:
- Anti diabetic property of drumstic in the International Journal of Health Science in the International Journal of Health Science
- Effect of Moringa Oleifera on blood glucose, LDL levels in types II diabetic people
- Geeta Watal, D. (2009). Effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves aqueous extract therapy on hyperglycemic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology,123(3), 392-396. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.03.036
- Therapeutic Potential of Moringa oleifera leaves in Chronic Hyperglycemia and Dyslipidemia
- Role of Moringa Oleifera in regulation of diabetes-induced oxidative stress
- Review of the Safety and Efficacy of Moringa oleifera
- Effect of moringa oleifera on blood glucose, LDL levels in types II diabetic obese people
**Moringa can’t be used as a replacement for your current diabetes medicine. It’s a great ingredient to incorporate into your daily diet, but it’s not a medicine. **