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Food Nutr Bull. 2018 Mar;39(1):149-170. doi: 10.1177/0379572117749814. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

How Functional Is Moringa oleifera? A Review of Its Nutritive, Medicinal, and Socioeconomic Potential.

Author information

1
1 Department of Food Science, Faculty of Food Engineering, University of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Abstract

Moringa oleifera is an important tropical food plant that seems to have great nutritional, therapeutic, industrial, agricultural, and socioeconomic value. Dietary consumption of its parts and preparations is encouraged by several organizations, health food enthusiasts, and other specialists as a strategy of personal health preservation and self-medication in the treatment of various diseases. Studies extoling its ability to mitigate various degenerative ailments now exist in both the scientific and the popular literature. At face value, and considering the volume of reports available, much of this enthusiasm seems to be indeed justified. However, it is imperative to distinguish rigorous scientific evidence from anecdote. To achieve this, relevant experimental and review articles were sought and read critically to identify recent patterns and trends on this subject matter. Studies on the medicinal and functional properties of M. oleifera are available from various parts of the world, especially developing regions. Attempts have been made to parse the contemporary scientific data available supporting the claims regarding the phytochemical, nutritive, medicinal, environmental, agricultural, and socioeconomic capabilities of this plant. Studies reviewed provide compelling, albeit preliminary experimental evidence of therapeutic potential of the plant. It is important that M. oleifera products and preparations be properly chemically characterized and standardized before being administered.

KEYWORDS:

Global South; Moringa oleifera; bioactive compounds; functional food; nutraceuticals

PMID:
29284305
DOI:
10.1177/0379572117749814
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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