Malunggay Herbal Medicine

Malunggay uses, health benefits, side effects, warnings.of use.

Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera), is a popular plant known for high nutritional value as well as an herbal medicine. Malunggay is a plant that grows in the tropical climates such as the Philippines, India and Africa. Malunggay is widely used as vegetable ingredient in cooking, as herbal medicine for a number of illness and other practical uses.

Malunggay Tree

Malunggay Scientific Name : Moringa Oleifera

Also known as: "Malunggáy" in Philippines, "Sajina" in India, "Shojne" in   Bengal, "Munagakaya" in   Telugu, "Shenano" in   Rajasthani, "Shevaga" in   Marathi, "Nuggekai" in Kannada, "Drumstick Tree, Horse Radish Tree, Ben Oil Tree" in English, "La mu" in Chinese.

The Malunggay plant can grow to as high as 9 meters with erect white trunks. The compound leaf has about 3 to 9 leaflets. Malunggay has white fragrant flowers that produces long pods with 3-angled winged seeds.

malunggay leavesMalunggay may be propagated by planting its seeds about an inch in the ground or matured malunggay stem cuttings of about 3 feet in length may also be planted into the ground. Planted malunggay cuttings grows faster compared to planted seeds.

Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) has been used as herbal medicine in many cultures for hundreds of years, Malunggay is known as a very nutritious plant where it is used to combat malnutrition in third world countries especially for infants and nursing mothers.

malunggay podThe malunggay pods are the most valued and widely used part of the plant. Malunggay pods contains essential amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients. Malunggay pods may be eaten raw or may be prepared or cooked. Malunggay pods may be fried and may produce a clear, odorless and sweet oil mostly called - Ben Oil.

Malunggay leaves may be eaten as greens, in salads and as vegetable ingredients for soups and other tropical viands. Malunggay flowers are cooked and eaten either mixed with other foods or fried in batter.

Malunggay Health Benefits and Traditional Medicinal Uses

Malunggay in Traditional and Folkloric Medicine

Malunggay is widely believed to contain high value nutrients and consumption of which promotes general well being. Malunggay is also called a "miracle tree" primarilly for the various health benefits it can provide for almost all kinds of diseases and medical conditions. More over almost all of its parts have use - from its roots, pods, barks, flowers and leaves. Listed below are some of the traditional herbal treatment of malunggay.
  • Malunggay leaves pounded and combined with coconut oil is used to treat scalp problems and to promote hair growth.
  • Boiled malunggay leaves contain immune boosting nutrients used in sickness recovery.
  • Boiled malunggay leaves used to promote milk production in nursing mothers.
  • Malunggay leaves combined with honey and calamsi to treat cough and asthma
  • Malunggay is used as skin restorer to promote skin rejuvenation.
  • Malunggay soup is used to lower high blood pressure
  • Malunggay tea from bark or leaves is used to treat insomnia and restlessness.
  • Malunggay pod is chewed to treat and prevent intestinal parasites in children.
  • Malunggay is also recommended for sufferers of diabetes
  • Malunggay is consumed to strengthen the bones especially for growing children and older people due ot high calcium content.
  • Malunggay oil or poultice is used to treat bone and ligament related conditions that involve inflammations such as gout, rheumatism, back pain, sprains and all srts of swelling.
  • Malunggay is also used to improve eye problems. Believed to contain high amount of vitamin A, more than that of a carrot.
  • Malunggay is used along with other herbal medicines to treat cancer.
  • Leaves and fruit used for constipation and as diuretic.
  • Decoction of boiled roots used to wash sores, cuts, skin ulcers, wounds and other skin diseases to alleviate pain and promote healing.
  • Malungay is also used for stomach and intestinal problems such as ulcers and constipation.
  • Malunggay roots and bark have been used as abortifacient.
  • Malunggay flower with soy milk  is used as aphrodisiac and promote fertility for men.
    While malunggay roots are believed to suppress fertility, chewed as a contraceptive by women.
  • Malunggay roots are also used to treat snake bites,
  • The juice from malunggay roots is used to treat ear related problems (otalgia).

Science Based Health Benefits from Malunggay

Malunggay, combat malnutrition, used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers. Contains vitamins A, B and C, calcium, iron and protein.

Malunggay Anti infectious: Antibacterial; Anti Fungal, . In late 1940's, The Department of Biochemistry at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (PLN Rao) have found that malunggay or Moringa Oleifera leaves contain a compound "pterygospermin" that is known in medical science as having antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti fungal properties.

Malunggay Anti Cancer Malunggay or Moringa has been shown in studies to have an anti-tumor capacity. Moringa contains benzyl isothiocyanate. There are many studies that have shown this chemical and compounds derived thereof to have anti-cancer and chemoprotective capabilities. This chemoprotective aspect is critical for those who are battling cancer; this helps strengthen cells so that they can tolerate chemotherapy. Malunggay is also considered in the treatment of prostate cancer and skin cancer. (Ref: Fuglie LJ (2000) New Uses of Moringa Studied in Nicaragua. ECHO Development Notes #68, June, 2000. ttp://

Malunggay anti-inflamatory: Malunggay has been found to inhibit inflammation in a controlled scientific study conducted by Philippine DOST Scientists (Amelia P. Guevara, Carolyn Vargas and Milagros Uy). When an aquous seed extract of malunggay has been administered to a carrageenan induced inflammation, its was noted that the aquous seed extract of the Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) inhibited the development of edema in ratpaw. The Malunggay is traditionally used to prevent and treat inflammations associated with rheumatism, arthritis and joint pains.

Malunggay - Reproductive health. Fuglie LJ (1999) The Miracle Tree: Moringa oleifera: Natural Nutrition for the Tropics has reported that Malunggay or Moringa Oleifera is widely believed to have an aphrodisiac action that enhances the sexual activity. Malunggay or moringa oleifera young leaves is also widely used to increase the flow of milk for lactating mothers.

Malunggay Preparations, Usage and Side Effects

Malunggay Herbal Medicine Preparation and Usage

Malunggay as food. Malunggay pods may be eaten raw or may also be fried with peanut similar taste. Malunggay leaves and flower may also be cooked together with other vegetables and meat to form soups or viands.

Malunggay decoction for washing sores and wounds, Boil malunggay roots and let it cool to tolerable warm temperature and use it to wash wounds and sores. By gargling the Malunggay decoction, it may also be used to wash mouth sores and sore throats.

Malunggay poultice. Grounded Malunggay seeds, leaves and bark may be applied topically as poultice onto swollen flesh to relieve inflammation.

Malunggay oil may be taken internally as mixed with foods, it is known to be a powerful antioxidant even used by the early people from Egypt. Malunggay oil also known as Ben oil is widely used as oil base for perfumes and cosmetics. The oil is extracted from Malunggay seeds by pressing.

Malunggay Tea Preparation
(as shared by Ms. Rhea Rodrigo - from comments thread below)

  1. Pick out 4 to 5 branches from the tree. Choose those with lots of leaves.
  2. Place them on a tray and leave in a dry place anywhere in your home for 3-4 days or until the leaves dry up and become crumpled. No need for sunlight.
  3. Pick out the crumpled leaves from the twigs and place in a dry pan over a low fire. Do not place water or oil in the pan.
  4. Cook the leaves, turning them over with a cooking spoon so that the leaves are cooked evenly. They are cooked when they are toasted but not burned.
  5. Store the cooked leaves in any container with a cover.
  6. To make the tea, take a tablespoon of the cooked leaves from the container and place in a cup of hot water. Let sit until the water absorbs the green color and nutrients of the leaves. It takes the same amount of time as making ordinary tea from tea bags.
  7. Remove the leaves from the cup.
  8. Option: add honey.

Where to Get Malunggay?

Malunggay tree can be found in the wild as well as culitvated in warm ttopical countries. The pods and leaves are harvested and are sold in wet markets and in the vegetable section in Asian grocery stores.

For other countries where malunggay trees don't grow, food grade preparations in forms of powder, tablets, syrups and capsules can be bought in respected health stores and Asian stores. Liniments, creams and lotions containg malunggay oil may also be available.

There are few online stores that sell malunggay tablets and capsules, Amazon is one, a sample product is Organic Moringa Powder 120 Veg Capsules. We do not endorse this product just for sample purpose only, and there are a ton of other related moringa products listed, we therefore suggest that you examine carefully the background of the manufacturer and analyze product reviews to be certain of quality.

Malunggay Warnings and Side Effects

Although malunggay consumption is generally accepted as safe. But according to Indian traditional usage, Malunggay may have an abortificient effects. (Ref: Nath D, N Sethi, et al. (1997) Survey on indigenous medicinal plants used for abortion in some districts of Uttar Pradesh. Fitoterapia 68(3): 223-225)

Malunggay Herbal Medicine: Useful References

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Article last reviewed: Alexiz Malelo / 30.09.2016