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J ournal of Pharmacy Research Vol.2.I ssue 9.

September 2009
Aney Joice et al. / J ournal of Pharmacy Research 2009, 2(9),1424-1426
Review Article
ISSN: 0974-6943
Available online through
Aney J.S*, Rashmi Tambe
, Maushumi Kulkarni
, Kiran Bhise
* Department of Pharmaceutics ,
Department of Pharmacognosy
Department of Pharmaceutics M.C. E Societys
Allana College of Pharmacy,Azam Campus, Camp,Pune 411001.
Received on: 09-05-2009; Accepted on:23-07-2009
Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) is a highly valued plant, distributed in many countries of the tropics and subtropics. Moringa is
natures medicine cabinet. It is best known as excellent source of nutrition and a natural energy booster. Different parts of this plant are being
employed for the treatment of different ailments in the indigenous system of medicine. This review focuses on the pharmacological action and
pharmaceutical application along with other uses of different parts of this tree.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera, pharmacology, gelling agent, cosmetic.
*Corresponding author.
Tel.: + 91-20-26442074
Telefax: +91-
There are about thirteen species of Moringa trees in the family
Moringaceae. Moringa oleifera Lam. (synonym: Mori nga
pterygosperma Gaertn.) is the most widely known species but other
species deserve further research as to their uses (1). Moringa oleifera
is commonly known as drumstick .It is found widely in the sub Hima-
layan range and commonly cultivated in all places of India .It is a very
popular backyard tree that grows to over 9 m height .It has soft, white
corky trunk and branches bearing a gummy bark. Each tripinnately
compound leaf bears several small leaflets. The flowers are white and
the three winged seeds are scattered by the wind. The flowers, tender
leaves and pods are eaten as vegetable. The leaves are rich in iron
and therefore highly recommended for expectant mothers. Since all
essential amino acids are present Moringa may be rightly called a
complete food for total nutrition (2).
Pharmacological Importance:
Analgesic activity: The experimental studies using hot plate and tail
immersion method have shown that alcoholic extract of leaves and
seeds of Moringa oleifera possess marked analgesic activity (3).
According to the authors it is equipotent to standard drug (Aspirin
25mg/ kg.)
Anti-inflammatory activity: Poultice of leaves is beneficial in glan-
dular swellings .The root extract exhibited significant anti-inflamma-
tory activity in Carragenan induced rat paw edema (4, 5).
Antipyretic activity: The antipyretic activity of ethanolic, petroleum
ether, solvent ether and ethyl acetate extracts of seeds was screened
using yeast induced hyperpyrexia method. Paracetamol I.P (200mg/
kg) was used as standard for comparison. The ethanolic and ethyl
acetate extracts of seeds showed significant antipyretic activity in
rats (6).
Anti asthmatic activity: A study was carried out to investigate the
efficacy and safety of seed kernels of Moringa oleifera in the treat-
Pharmacological And Pharmaceutical Potential Of Moringa oleifera: A Review.
ment of bronchial asthma. The results showed an appreciable de-
crease in severity of symptoms of asthma and also simultaneous im-
provement in respiratory functions (7).
Wound healing properties: Three wound models viz excision wound,
incision wound and dead space wound were selected for assessing
wound healing activity of ethanolic and ethyl acetate extracts of leaves.
Ethyl acetate extracts (10% extract in the form of ointment) showed
significant wound healing activity that is comparable with the stan-
dard vicco turmeric cream. Phytosterols and phenolic compounds
present in these extracts promote the wound healing activity (6).
Antidiabetic activity: An extract from the moringa leaf has been shown
to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels within 3hrs ingestion,
though less effectively than the standard hypoglycemic drug,
glibenclamide (8).
Hepatoprotective activity: The methanolic and chloroform extracts of
leaves of Moringa oleifera have shown very significant
hepatoprotection against CCl
induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats
in reducing serum total bilirubin, direct bilirubuin, SGPT,and SGOT
levels. Moringa roots have been reported to possess hepatoprotective
activity. The aqueous and alcoholic extracts from Moringa flowers
were also found to have a significant hepatoprotective effect which
may be due to the presence of quercetin, a well known flavanoid with
hepatoprotective activity (9, 10).
Antitumour and anticancer activity: Few isolated bioactive com-
pounds from the seeds were tested for antitumour promoting activity
using 7, 12-dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) as initiator and 12-o-
tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) as tumour promoter. From
the results, niazimicin, a thiocarbamate from the leaves of Moringa
oleifera was found to be a potent chemopreventive agent in chemical
carcinogenesis (11). The seed extracts have also been found to be
effective on hepatic carcinogen metabolizing enzymes, antioxidant
parameters and skin papillomagenesis in mice. A seed ointment had
similar effect to neomycin against Staphylococcus aureus pyodermia
in mice. It has been found that niazimicin exhibits inhibition of tumour
promoter induced Epstein - Barr virus activation (12, 13).
Antimicrobial activity: Moringa roots are reported to be rich in anti-
microbial agents. The active antibiotic principle, pterygospermin, has
J ournal of Pharmacy Research Vol.2.I ssue 9.September 2009
Aney Joice et al. / J ournal of Pharmacy Research 2009, 2(9),1424-1426
powerful antibacterial and fungicidal effects. The root extract also
possess antimicrobial property due to the presence of 4-alpha-L-
rhamnosyloxybenzyl isothiocyanate. The minimal bactericidal con-
centration in vitro is 40 micromol/l for Mycobacterium phlei and 56
micromol/l for Bacillus subtilis (14). An aqueous extract made from
seeds was found to be effective against Ps. aeruginosa, S.aureus
and E.coli. An extract from leaves was found to be effective at inhib-
iting the growth of fungi Basidiobolus haptosporus and B.ranarums,
Spirochin, found in root, is effective against both gram positive and
gram negative bacteria. Anthonine also found in root bark, is highly
toxic to the cholera bacterium (15). The antimicrobial activity of differ-
ent Moringa oleifera seeds extracts were tested against Scenedesmus
obliquus (green algae), Escherichia coli ATCC 13706, Pseudomonas
aeruginosa ATCC10145, Staphylococcus aureus NAMRU 3 25923,
Bacillus sterothermophilus (bacterial strains) and Herpes Simplex
virus type 1 (HSV 1) and Polio virus type 1 (sabin vaccine).. Although,
Ps. aeruginosa was more resistant to all M. oleifera extracts, B.
sterothermophilus was more sensitive than other organisms to all
extracts. The effect of aqueous methanolic extract and fixed oil on
HSV1 was highly similar, 52.22% and 45.2% (16).
Antihypertensive, diuretic and cholesterol lowering activities:
Moringa leaf juice is known to have a stabilizing effect on blood
pressure. Nitrile, mustard oil glycosides and thiocarbamate glyco-
sides have been isolated from Moringa leaves which were found to
be responsible for the blood pressure lowering effect (12). Moringa
roots, leaves, flowers, gum and the aqueous infusion of seeds have
been found to possess diuretic activity (17). The crude extract of
Moringa leaves has a significant cholesterol lowering action in the
serum of high fat diet fed rats which might be attributed to the pres-
ence of a bioactive phytoconstituent, ie, b-sitosterol (18).
Antispasmodic, Antiulcer and Anthelmentic activities: Moringa roots
and leaves have been reported to possess antispasmodic activity.
This activity of leaves has been attributed to the presence of 4- (al-
pha-L-rhamnosyloxybenzyl)-o-methyl thiocarbamate possibly through
calcium channel blockade. The spasmolytic activity exhibited by dif-
ferent constituents provides pharmacological basis for traditional uses
of this plant in gastrointestinal motility disorder (19). The methanolic
extract was found to possess significant protective actions in acetyl-
salicylic acid, serotonin and indomethacin induced gastric lesions in
experimental rats. A significant enhancement of the healing process
in acetic acid - induced chronic gastric lesions was also observed
with the extract-treated animals (20). The flower and leaves also are
considered to be of high medicinal value with anthelmentic activity
In blindness and eye infections: Though there are many causes of
blindness Vitamin A deficiency causes impaired dark adaption and
night blindness. Eating moringa leaves, pods and leaf powder which
contain high proportion of Vitamin A can help to prevent night blind-
ness and eye problems in children. Ingesting drumstick leaves (B-
carotene and leutin) with oil helps in improving Vitamin A nutrition
and perhaps delays the onset of cataract (22). Also the juice can be
instilled into eyes in cases of conjunctivitis.
Cardiac and circulatory stimulant: All parts of the tree are reported
to be used as Cardiac and circulatory stimulant. Moringinine acts on
the sympathetic nervous system and act as a cardiac stimulant (23).
Antioxidant activity: Antioxidant activity reported in oil from the dried
seeds is higher than BHT and alpha-tocopherol. Aqueous methanol
(80%) and ethanol (70%) extracts of freeze dried leaves showed radi-
cal scavenging and antioxidant activities. The drumstick leaves are
found to be a potential source of natural antioxidants (24, 25).
Antifertility activity: The aqueous extract of root and bark at a dose
of 200mg/kg and 400mg/kg, respectively showed post-coital antifer-
tility effect in rat and also induced foetal resorption at late pregnancy
(26). An aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera roots was investigated
for its estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, progestational and
antiprogestational activities. Doses up to 600 mg/kg of the extract
orally failed to induce a decidual response in the traumatized uterus
of ovariectomized rats. The antifertility effect of the extract appears to
be due to multiple attributes (27).
Pharmaceutical application
Gelling agent: A study was carried out to find the gelling potential of
gum exudate from the stem of Moringa oleifera. Diclofenac sodium
gels were formulated with concentration of mucilage ranging from 5.5
to 8.5%w/w. Better gel characteristics were observed at the concen-
tration of 8%. It is also reported that because the p
of the gum is
below 5.77 and the viscosity of the formulation with 8.5w/w gum is
4.6x106cps, it is ideal for topical application (28).
Suspending agent: A comparative study of gums of Moringa oleifera
and tracaganth were reported. Zinc oxide suspensions were prepared
with gum of Moringa oleifera and tracaganth. Their sedimentation
profile, redispersibility, degree of flocculation and rheologic behaviour
were compared. The results revealed that the suspending properties
of Moringa oleifera gum are comparable with that of gum tracaganth
Detoxification/water purification: Studies have shown Moringas
ability to remove hazardous materials from water. After oil extraction
of Moringa seeds the left press cake contains water soluble proteins
that are as effective coagulants for water purification. The charged
protein molecules can serve as nontoxic natural polypeptides to settle
mineral particles and organics in the purification of drinking water,
vegetable oil, depositing juice and beer. As been reported, Moringa
seeds show similar coagulation effects to alum. It is also reported that
a recombinant protein in the seed is able to flocculate gram positive
and gram negative bacterial cells. Moringa seeds could be used as a
biosorbent for the removal of cadmium from aqueous media. Thus
water purifying attributes of Moringa seeds are as coagulant, micro-
bial elimination and as a biosorbant (12).
Surfactant behavior: A study on interfacial properties and fluores-
cence of a coagulating protein extracted from Moringa seeds and its
interaction with sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) was carried out. The
study reported that 1) the protein extracted from Moringa seeds has
significant surfactant behavior; 2) the coagulant protein interacts
strongly with SDS and the protein might have specific binding sites
for SDS; 3) there is formation of protein-SDS complex (30).
Film forming property : Studies reported that gum has enormous
potential for use in the preparation of polymeric films as drug delivery
systems. The films prepared using gum of Moringa olifera(5 parts of
10%w/w of mucilage of gum of M.O. with different proportion of
plasticizers)were evaluated for parameters like water uptake, tensile
strength, folding endurance and water vapour transmission rate. The
results obtained are comparable with films made from other polymers
and concluded that the gum can be used for preparing polymeric drug
delivery systems and as a film coating agent in tablets as it has low
vapour transmission rate and satisfactory tensile strength (31).
As stabilizer: Plant phenolics have gained considerable interest in
recent years for their potential effects against food related microor-
ganisms. Phenolic extract obtained from the leaves of Moringa olifera
& Morus indica showed stabilizing activity. In the present study
effect of addition of phenolic extract from leaves of M. olifera and
M.indica on the shelf life of pineapple juice stored at 4 degree C was
J ournal of Pharmacy Research Vol.2.I ssue 9.September 2009
Aney Joice et al. / J ournal of Pharmacy Research 2009, 2(9),1424-1426
investigated by monitoring the changes in titrable acidity and sen-
sory parameters for 8 weeks. Results indicated that the extracts of
natural phenolics can be used to improve the quality and safety of
foods (32).
Cosmetic use: Various parts of Moringa olifera have cosmetic value.
Cognis Laboratoires Serobiologiques team developed PuricareTM
and Purisoft TM, two active ingredients based on botanical peptides
from the seeds of Moringa olifera tree that purify hair and skin and
offer protection against the effects of pollution (33). Moringa seed
oil, known as Behen oil is widely used as a carrier oil in cosmetic
preparations. The healing properties of moringa oil were documented
by ancient cultures. Moringa oil posesses exceptional oxidative sta-
bility which may explain why the egyptians placed vases of moringa
oil in their tombs. It is high in oleic acid and similar in composition to
olive oil. Moringa oil is light and spreads easily on the skin. It is a
good oil for use in massage and aromatherapy applications.It can be
used in body and hair care as a moisturizer and skin conditioner.
Other uses include soapmaking and for use in cosmetic preparations
such as lip balm and creams . (34). Moringa olifera butter, a semisolid
fraction of moringa oil, is used in baby products to contribute a free
radicle resistant emollient with exceptionally long lasting skin soften-
ing and soothing effects (35).
The multiple benefits of Moringa olifera made it a true miracle of
nature. Numerous studies have been conducted on different parts of
Moringa olifera, but this plant has not yet developed as a drug by
pharmaceutical industries. In view of the edible nature of the plant,
more research work can be done on humans so that a drug with mul-
tifarious effects will be available in the future market.
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