WHAT IS MORINGA OIL?
Welcome back to the Ingredient Spotlight Series, where we teach you about the many ingredients found in our curated clean beauty collection. Next up is one that is well known around the world for its amazing, miracle-like benefits for the hair, skin, and body. We’re talking about Moringa Oil!
WHAT IS MORINGA OIL?
Moringa Pod Oil is an oil extracted by cold pressing the seeds of the Moringa Oleifera. After the seeds are picked from the Moringa Oleifera fruit, they are dried and crushed to obtain the oil. Organic moringa tree oil contains 90 different types of nutrients, 36 anti-inflammatory agents, and 46 antioxidant proteins.
THE MORINGA TREE
Derived from the flowering plant family Moringaceae, the Moringa Oleifera is a small, fast-growing, drought-resistant, and deciduous plant (meaning it sheds its leaves annually). It is the most nutrient-dense tree in the world and the most widely cultivated genus of trees and shrubs with low potential for invasion. This tree is also the most economically valuable species of its kind. It is commonly known by many other names across the globe, including moringa, miracle tree (for the precious medicinal uses of its parts), drumstick tree (for its long, slender, and triangular pods), horseradish tree (for the horseradish-like taste of its roots), and benzolive tree (for the ben oil formed from the seeds). The Moringa Tree is native to the Himalayan foothills in northern India, but is now widely grown across several tropic and subtropic countries. In fact, nine species of moringa can be found in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia alone.
The name Moringa comes from the Tamil word “Morungai”, meaning stick. Oleifera, however, is a compound word; in Latin, “oleum” means oil and “ferre” means carry, and so the name of the species directly translates to “containing oil”.
Did you know that every part of the Moringa Tree, even the bark and roots, are edible? It’s true! Many parts of the world even consider the flowers of the Moringa Tree to be a delicacy.Their similarity in flavor to mushrooms in particular makes them a delicious addition to salads. They can also be fried and eaten ala carte, or made into a calming flower tea. In addition, moringa leaves are often dried and turned into a very nutritious superfood called Moringa Leaf Powder , while the moringa fruit or drumstick is used directly in food preparations.
Every part of Moringa Tree also has enormous benefits, especially the oil. Let’s discuss a few of them.
MORINGA OIL FOR HAIR
It is no secret that pure oils play a significant role in any hair care regimen. Whether you get them through a moisturizing shampoo, a dry scalp mask, or add them directly to your L.O.C. method, oils are essential to lock in moisture and keep our hair looking its best. You’ve already heard about the coconut, argan, and castor oils of the world, but what can all the different vitamins and minerals present in organic moringa oil do that others can’t?
Moringa’s high concentration of antioxidant proteins can help restructure and strengthen your hair. It also contains zinc which helps with keratin production. Keratin (short for keratinocytes) make up the inner and outer root sheaths of the hair, protecting the hair follicle in layers.
PROTECTS + MOISTURIZES
Speaking of protecting follicles, Moringa Oil acts as a natural protectant and moisturizer for hair. By protecting strands against sun damage and color depletion, moringa can help hair retain its color. If you’re looking for an incredibly effective and deeply moisturizing heat protecting serum, NUELE’s award-winning Hair Serum is perfect for you!
FIGHTS SPLIT ENDS
Moringa seeds are also packed with amino acids which are very helpful in reversing the damage of split ends.
IMPROVES SHINE + ELASTICITY
Thanks to having one of the highest, naturally occurring behenic acid levels - a common ingredient in conditioners - Moringa Oil can naturally revitalize dull, brittle hair strands. The result? Shiny, bouncy hair you’ll love!
DETOXIFIES THE SCALP
One characteristic of Moringa Oil for hair we haven’t discussed yet is its qualities in comparison to other carrier oils. Moringa is light, dry, fluid, and sharp, which gives it one mysterious and unique ability: to deeply penetrate and detoxify the skin. Another standout property is its concentration of monounsaturated fats (made up mostly of oleic acid) that can cleanse the scalp and protect its moisture levels at the same time.
Together, this makes moringa the perfect addition to any hair mask for dry scalp. Mflorens No. 1 is an all-natural, whole blend of nutrient-rich, cold-processed oils and more that will penetrate the dermal layers of the scalp to intensely exfoliate, detoxify, and cleanse for optimal cellular function and regeneration. Get a healthy scalp with the best scalp mask and hair mask for damaged hair!
PROMOTES HAIR GROWTH
Once the scalp is detoxified and free of impurities, there’s more room for your hair to thrive. It’s a good thing Moringa Oil for hair is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fatty acid that locks in moisture and promotes growth.
(The Back To Your Roots Scalp + Prewash by Shaz & Kiks is a great way to use moringa oil for hair growth. Try the curly or normal version.)
MORINGA OIL FOR THE SKIN
Moringa oil is multi-purpose and has been used in skincare for thousands of years. For example, the Romans and Greeks used it in their skin lotions, ointments, and perfumes. In Egypt, moringa was used to protect the skin from the sun’s rays, sand, and dust during long travels across deserts. We already talked a bit about moringa’s unique abilities when it comes to hair, but let’s also discuss the many things it can do for the skin.
FORMS A PROTECTIVE BARRIER
As mentioned above, moringa is predominantly made up of a fatty acid called oleic acid or Omega-9 (approximately 77% of the total in fact), but it contains others that work alongside it to form and maintain cell membranes within the skin. They also defend cells against the outside environment. For instance, Phytol, another of these essential acids, assists in activating helpful enzymes in the body and decreases blood cholesterol levels. It is also a precursor to Vitamin E and Vitamin K, which help protect us from toxins and protect the heart respectively.
REPAIRS DAMAGE CAUSED BY POLLUTION
Speaking of the environment, Moringa Oil for skin can also restore and protect the skin’s original barrier. No matter where you live, your skin may be exposed to a wide range of pollutants that can penetrate the deeper layers of the epidermis, affect the skin's structural integrity, and even compromise its hydration levels. This can cause skin issues such as fatigue or deregulate oil secretion. The phytochemicals present in Moringa Oil will ensure that the skin remains hydrated, even when exposed to pollution.
(The Vitalessence Serum Oil by ANDA uses moringa and other organic ingredients to offer immediate replenishment to balance and protect from environmental stressors.)
FIGHTS ACNE + DARK SPOTS
Not only can moringa fight off the destruction of the skin’s barrier function, but it possesses antiseptic and antimicrobial properties as well. It can regulate the production of excess sebum, prevent dirt and bacteria from getting clogged into the pores, and quickly heal acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and spots. If a flawless complexion and tighter pores are what you’re striving for, then look no further than Moringa Oil for skin which is amazing for all skin types.
NOURISHES DRY SKIN
If Moringa Oil can bring dull hair back to life, it can certainly do the same for the skin. It softens, maintains moisture, and makes the perfect moisturizer for dry, chapped lips and skin. If you have sensitive skin, Moringa Oil can also fight against issues like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
SLOWS CELL AGING
Another distinguishing feature moringa has is the natural ability to work against the signs of aging. Its many antioxidants (namely the plant hormone cytokinins) delay tissue aging and destruction, thus slowing down the process. It also helps remove wrinkles, prevents the sagging of facial skin, and, due to the oil’s richness in Vitamin C, stabilizes collagen which, in turn, helps reduce fine lines.
RESTORES SKIN’S NATURAL GLOW
We already touched on how this special oil can detoxify the scalp, but it can also do something similar for the skin as well. Gently massaging the skin with two to three drops of moringa, mixed with a few drops of Olive oil, will purify it of pollutants and reveal its natural glow. Incorporate into your daily skincare routine through cream or lotion to alleviate other skin problems.
MORINGA OIL FOR THE BODY
Here’s another fun fact about this wonder oil: according to modern research, moringa can help prevent at least three hundred known diseases! No wonder each and every part of the Moringa Oleifera has so much medicinal value. Let’s see what other benefits it has for the human body.
RELIEVES PAIN + HELPS WITH RELAXATION
Creams and lotions aren’t the only places you can add moringa to improve your lifestyle. Add two drops to warm bath water to cleanse the body, relieve stress, remove fatigue, and ease the mind. Massaging with an additional four drops, mixed with almond oil, can help lighten rheumatic pain, eliminate excess fluids through urine, protect the body from harmful infection, and boost the immune system.
HEALS MINOR WOUNDS QUICKLY
Moringa’s antiseptic properties also make it a popular choice to apply to cuts, scratches, scrapes, wounds, bruises, abrasions, sunburns, rashes, insect bites, snake bites, and punctures in order to avoid infection. Its large concentration of oleic acid makes moringa the perfect natural anti-inflammatory agent to soothe the damage, heal, and make you feel better, without signaling more pain in the process.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
Speaking of the omega-9 fatty acid, Moringa Oil has the ability to boost heart health in a major way as well. By stimulating circulation and lowering cholesterol levels, moringa can lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis, a common form of arteriosclerosis in which fatty substances form a deposit of plaque on the inner lining of artery walls. One component of moringa we haven’t mentioned yet are sterols - mostly unsaturated substances derived from plants - that, in the body, have been shown to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol”.
REDUCES INFLAMMATORY CONDITION SYMPTOMS
If you suffer from arthritis, edema, headaches, sore muscles, chronic fatigue, or joint disorders, you may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of Moringa Oil. It can ease tissue swelling and eliminate pain, making it a good choice for both chronic and acute health problems. In addition, the active compounds and antioxidants found in this oil can soothe inflammation in the gut, balance bacterial levels, and optimize digestion, thereby reducing acidity and related conditions.
(Try the Exhale Detoxifying Foot Soak by NATURALLY LONDON to reduce swelling, aches and pains in the extremities.)
The flower of the moringa plant is not the only delicious and nutritious delicacy used in cooking. Because Moringa Oil is high in protein and healthy fats, it makes a great alternative to more expensive ones. In fact, moringa is becoming a widespread nutritional and economical staple in the food-insecure areas where Moringa oleifera are grown. It is good for baking and deep-frying, as it has a higher smoking point than olive oil (400 ºF), and it features a mild, slightly bitter, and nutty taste that resembles mustard.
And the best part? Unlike other oils, moringa doesn’t lose its nutrients when exposed to high temperatures. This is due to its outstanding oxidative stability. Below are many more of the necessary vitamins and nutrients present in moringa:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- Folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
The health benefits of moringa don’t stop there! It is believed to be connected to the prevention and curing of a seemingly endless list of diseases and conditions. These include but are not limited to:
- Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Stomach disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis
- Liver damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs
- Bacterial, fungal, and microbial infections caused by Salmonella, Rhizopus, and E. coli, or that can result in athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Herpes simplex 1 symptoms
- Menopause symptoms
- Chronic skin diseases like psoriasis
- Intestinal Spasms
- Thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism
- Kidney stones
- Even though it is great for making dull hair shine, behenic acid (another acid present in moringa) is a saturated fat that could damage the cardiovascular system. Therefore, it is essential to use Moringa Oil in moderation.
- Moringa extract may decrease how quickly any medication is broken down by the liver, so it is best to avoid using them at the same time.
- Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar, which moringa also does effectively, so it is vital to ensure blood sugar levels do not get too low.
- Taking Moringa oleifera supplements in capsules won’t supply a large number of nutrients. Therefore, taking pure Moringa oil instead is the best way to ensure all benefits.
There are so many more advantages we could attribute to this miracle tree oil that we wish we could cover them all. However, much research is still being done to determine just how far its healing powers go, so there is likely more good left for moringa to do. If you think this ingredient might be beneficial to you, we’ve curated an entire list of products that incorporate moringa oil for you to explore.