The term ‘Asthma’ is coined from a Greek word, means “panting”. Thus, asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the air passage that can cause:

(i) Shortness of breath.Asthma_attack-illustration_NIH

(ii) Tightness in the chest.

(iii) Coughing.

(iv) Wheezing.

Asthma patients often seem to overreact to stimuli such as aero-allergens and cold, dry air. Their air passages are inflamed and sensitive. If not treated, this increased inflammation leads to a severe condition, commonly known as “Asthma attack”.

During this condition:

(a) The muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten, thus narrowing the air passage- (Bronchospasm/ Bronchoconstriction).

(b) Overproduction of the mucus within the bronchial tubes restricts further air flow.

Asthma symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. It varies from person to person and from one episode to the other. The past decade has witnessed significant inflation in the incidences of asthma, asthma-related deaths, and
hospitalization. 

The existing anti-asthmatic drugs do not offer any cure or mitigate the complications of asthma. However, themoringa_powder2
traditional ayurvedic system has advocated the use of the ‘miracle plant’ Moringa for treating asthma.
Moringa oleifera is a medium-sized tree, mostly grown wildly in Central America, Caribbean, northern countries of South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The plant is reported to relieve children suffering from infection in the skin and the upper respiratory tract. Additionally, the seeds of the plant are found to have purgative, antipyretic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic activity.

Moringa is also found to be abundant in chlorophyll, a green pigment which provides the characteristic green color in vegetables. Chlorophyll is reported to improve the respiratory system; thereby, reducing the chance of asthma attacks. Moringa is one of the very few foods that contain chlorophyll together with other vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins). It has seven times more Vitamin C than oranges which helps to protect lung tissue and build up the immune system to prevent other infections. Magnesium, also abundant in Moringa, relaxes air passages and dilates the lungs; therefore, reducing air passage inflammation. Lab-made medications for asthma contain steroids which can affect bone development which may lead to osteoporosis. Incorporating moringa in your daily diet will assist in maintaining bone growth since it contains four times more Calcium than milk, compared to medications which may have adverse effects to bone growth.

The studies mentioned below were conducted to investigate the effects of seed kernels of Moringa oleifera on asthma:

In a study published in the “Indian Journal of Pharmacology” in 2008 [1], a research was conducted to study the effects of seed kernels of Moringa oleifera on asthma. Twenty patients of either gender with mild to moderate asthma were treated with 3 grams of powdered, dried seed kernels for three weeks. The results showed a significant increase in hemoglobin levels and improvement in severity of asthma symptoms (breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and cough), respiratory functions and other lung function parameters. No unfavorable effects were observed; leading to the conclusion that moringa is useful in treating asthma.

In another study conducted by the same group of researchers [2], the effect of alcoholic extract of moringa seed kernels on various experimental models of asthma was investigated. The result shows moringa to elicit significant anti-asthma benefits: 

  • Broncodilator: Moringa helps in dilating the bronchi and bronchioles; thereby, maintaining normal airflow to the lungs and reducing resistance in the respiratory pathway.Blausen_0620_Lungs_NormalvsInflamedAirway
  • Mast Cell Stabilization: Moringa blocks the release of histamine (allergy causing compound) produced by the mast cells; thereby helps control allergic disorders.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Moringa possesses anti-inflammatory activity similar to that of “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” (NSAIDs), but, unlike the latter, it is safe to use with no potential adverse effects.
  • Anti-Microbial: Moringa seeds are reported to have anti-microbial activity when tested against various respiratory pathogens. Hence, it protects from different microbe causing bronchial infections which might escalate the severity of asthma.

It has been discovered that moringa seeds have anti-asthmatic properties. Moringa is especially effective in treating bronchial asthma disease due to high concentrations of beta-sitosterols, which exerts anti-inflammatory effects in allergen-induced air passage inflammation. Studies show that moringa proves to be a good antimicrobial that can be used to control and improve asthmatic and other respiratory complications.

IMG_0361Reference citations:

[1] Anita Mehta and Babita Agrawal, Department of Pharmacology, L.M. College of Pharmacy, Ahmedabad – 3800009, India; Antiasthmatic activity of Moringa oleifera Lam: A clinical study; Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2008 Jan-Feb; 40(1): 28–31.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023118

[2] Anita Mehta and Babita Agrawal, Department of Pharmacology, L.M. College of Pharmacy, Ahmedabad – 3800009, India; Investigation into the mechanism of action of moringa oleifera for its anti-asthmatic activity, Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, 2008 8(1), 24-31

http://www.moringanews.org/documents/asthma