Many people with cancer inquire about herbal medicine as a complementary therapy after reading anecdotal reports of herbal cancer cures online.
One such herb, known as moringa tree, is reported to prevent and cure cancer.
Research has investigated moringa as a treatment for cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other diseases.
Moringa is a plant native to India, but it is grown worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions.
There are 13 species of moringa that range in size — from leafy shrubs to tall trees. The most commonly harvested species, M. oleifera, is a small, fast-growing tree.
Cancer research on moringa has been conducted in test tubes and in mice, but not in humans. The studies involving test tubes and mice show moringa can kill several different types of cancer cells, but this hasn’t been confirmed in human clinical trials.
There are no studies about the effect of moringa on mesothelioma.
While the leaves are perfectly safe, consuming large quantities of the bark or pulp may be harmful.
Moringa side effects may include:
Moringa leaves also increased the risk of liver and kidney damage in rats. Do not consume moringa if you are pregnant, taking the diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) or taking drugs that are substrates of the cytochrome P450 family of enzymes.
All cancer research involving moringa has been conducted on mice or on cancer cells grown in labs, but not in humans.
This means the available information on moringa and cancer is theoretical and hasn’t been proven or disproven in human clinical trials.
Cancer research on moringa tree has involved cancer prevention and treatment:
The 2018 National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference shows 1 cup of chopped moringa tree leaves contains:
The levels of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants, help protect against cell damage caused by chemicals in the body, known as free radicals, which can play a role in the development of cancer.
Vitamin C helps the body maintain a healthy immune system, while vitamin A can help maintain mucous membranes that protect against infections in the respiratory and digestive tracts.
Moringa leaves also contain amino acids that may boost the immune system. This may help patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy, but no research has been conducted in this area yet.
The National Institute of Nutrition’s 1989 book, “Nutritive Value of Indian Foods,” shows a handful of moringa leaves contains:
Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked or crushed, and they can be stored as dried powder for several months without loss of nutritional value.
Moringa leaves can be blended into fruit smoothies or used as a replacement for spinach in most recipes. Dried moringa powder may be added to a curry recipe and served over rice.
According to ethnobotanical records, moringa has been used by herbalists to help with a variety of symptoms, including common mesothelioma symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough and other respiratory complications.
Additional scientific research and clinical studies are needed to understand the potential of moringa to prevent and treat cancer.
Keep in mind that cancer treatments affect people differently. As with any complementary treatment, it is best to talk with your doctor before adding moringa to your treatment regimen or diet.
If you experience any side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately.