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The African/Ethiopian Moringa: Moringa stenopetala - Is it a medicine or  a hoax?

Our little Ethiopian jungle: Front - Moringa stenopetala and background - Ethiopian banana (Ensete ventricosum).

HABTEMARIAM, S. (2015). Investigation into the Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Potential of Moringa stenopetala: Identification of the Active Principles. Natural Product Communications 10(3), 475-478.

UPDATE 2 is now available too

26 March 2015
Dr Solomon Habtemariam BSc, MSc, PhD, PGDipMS, FRSc

The African or Ethiopian Moringa, Moringa stenopetala, is a multipurpose tree endemic to Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. Its traditional uses are quite similar with that of the more popular Indian Moringa, Moringa oleifera: water purification (seed), edible seed oil, animal fodder particularly as a protein rich supplement, human food (eaten as cabbage) and a range of medicinal uses including the treatment of diabetes. In addition to its rapidly developing market share as a herbal medicine, the African/Ethiopian Moringa is  also gaining popularity in the region as nutritional supplements and/or herbal tea preparations.

Picture above: the seeds (left)  and dried powdered leaves (right) of Ethiopian/African  Moringa  (locally known as 'Shiferaw' or 'Aleko') are widely sold for various medicinal and nutritional purposes. Although some pharmacological investigations with respect to the possible antidiabetic properties of the African Moringa have already been done,  no data was available on the active ingredients responsible for such biological effects. Our present report addresses the active ingredients that accounts for the antioxidant and antidiabetic effect of the leaves.

Our findings are summarised as follow:
1. The antioxidant and antidiabetic benefit of the African/Ethiopian Moringa is within the leaves not the seeds. 2. The chemistry attributed to the antidiabetic potential of the plant is distinctively different from the Indian Moringa. 3. Our data supports multiple mechanisms of action of  the African/Ethiopian Moringa ranging from antioxidant effects to the protection of insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells. 4. Our data suggests that  even a daily intake of 1-2 table spoon of the leaves powder  could provide active ingredients with  therapeutic implications. 5. Users of this plant must however be aware that there are other chemicals in the leaves that have negative health implications (e.g. suppressing thyroid function) at high doses. 6. People on antidiabetic therapy should also consult their GP before using this plant. Reed our article for more information -   HABTEMARIAM, S. (2015). Investigation into the Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Potential of Moringa stenopetala: Identification of the Active Principles. Natural Product Communications 10(3), 475-478UPDATE 2 is now available too

Moringa stenopetala leaves from our garden in London

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Dr Habtemariam BSc, MSc, PhD........FRSM, FRSC. .... With a Principal Lecturer post at Greenwich, Dr Habtemariam is a leader of the BSc Pharmaceutical Science programme and researches on bioassay & natural products-based drug development. ....More



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