Moringa oleifera: A Food Plant with Multiple Medicinal Uses

Moringa oleifera  Lam (Moringaceae) is a highly valued plant, distributed in many countries of the tropicsand subtropics. It has an impressive range of medicinal uses with high nutritional value. Different parts of thisplant contain a profile of important minerals, and are a good source of protein, vitamins, βββββ-carotene, aminoacids and various phenolics. The Moringa plant provides a rich and rare combination of zeatin, quercetin, βββββ-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol. In addition to its compelling water purifying powers and highnutritional value, M. oleifera is very important for its medicinal value. Various parts of this plant such as theleaves, roots, seed, bark, fruit, flowers and immature pods act as cardiac and circulatory stimulants, possessantitumor, antipyretic, antiepileptic, antiinflammatory, antiulcer, antispasmodic, diuretic, antihypertensive,cholesterol lowering, antioxidant, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and antifungal activities, andare being employed for the treatment of different ailments in the indigenous system of medicine, particularlyin South Asia. This review focuses on the detailed phytochemical composition, medicinal uses, along withpharmacological properties of different parts of this multipurpose tree. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons,Ltd.