Supplements and Herbs

Moringa oleifera (drumstick plant) benefits against cancer — and more

Studies show health uses for preventing and treating many chronic diseases

by copyright 2024 © Healing Cancer Naturally

Moringa oleifera, AKA as the horseradish or drumstick tree or malunggay, is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the earth. Quite rightly considered a gift from God, its fruits, leaves, roots and seeds are a rich source of various nutrients and plant substances which inter alia are used to combat malnutrition.[1]

Even more importantly, they have also been used in India's, Sri Lanka's, Java's and Africa's traditional medicine. Diseases treated with Moringa range from fever, asthma, viral infections, cardiovascular issues, anaemia, stomach ulcers and pain all the way to poor eyesight, joint pain, skin diseases, high blood sugar levels, and as a digestive aid.[2]

The most widely used parts of Moringa oleifera are the leaves, which are rich in bioactive compounds such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, carotenoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, mustard oil glycosides (glucosinolates), isothiocyanates, thiocarbamates, tannins and saponins.[3]

Meanwhile, even modern science has discovered M. oleifera and brought amazing things to light. Among many other things, researchers have been able to show that extracts from all parts of the plant possess strong antioxidant effects[4] and that its leaves exert both preventive and soothing effects against a whole range of chronic diseases — from hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels), high blood pressure, diabetes and general inflammatory conditions to insulin resistance, liver diseases, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer.[5]

And Moringa oleifera and its bioactive components — found in significant quantities in various parts of the tree — have not "only" shown impressive effects against all of the most important causes of disease and death of our time.[6] Even our psyche is positively affected, if we are to believe animal experiments demonstrating its anxiety-relieving and calming properties.[7]


There are currently (June 2022) 133 studies on "M. oleifera and cancer" alone and almost 400 on "M. oleifera and health" that have undergone the peer review process and therefore meet the scientific gold standard. The recurring themes of these studies are M. oleifera's antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects at both the genetic and molecular level, which are both dose-dependent and selective, i.e. have little or no effect on normal cells.[8]

So the following is only a small selection — representative of many other studies.


Cardiovascular disease

A detailed list of the heart-protective components contained in Moringa can be found in the aforementioned study[5].

Individual studies have confirmed M. oleifera's significant heart-protective effects, attributed to its antioxidant, antiperoxidative and heart muscle preserving properties.[9]

A very detailed study[10] provides a comprehensive overview (scoping review) of Moringa oleifera's nutrients and bioactive compounds serving as protective factors against heart damage and vascular dysfunction, with the authors reaching the following conclusions:

The classic risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure (arterial hypertension), obesity, high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) and disorders of the lipid metabolism (dyslipidemia) (with the latter three being interrelated).

M. oleifera's preventive and alleviating effects against the vascular dysfunctions and myocardial damage associated with the above-mentioned symptoms have been demonstrated in test tubes (in vitro), in animal experiments (in vivo) as well as in clinical studies.

Numerous studies have been able to show that Moringa oleifera (administered as a leaf extract, juice or powder) reduces blood lipid levels (including total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and VLDL) as well as fasting and postprandial (= following a meal) blood glucose levels. In hypertensive and obese patients, Moringa oleifera significantly reduces blood pressure, body weight and fat as well as body mass index (BMI) .

M. oleifera also improves insulin resistance and has a vasodilatory effect. In fact, it largely repairs the damage to the aorta caused by a high-fat diet and improves endothelial dysfunction. It protects the structural integrity of the heart and enhances its contractility.

Even after a heart attack (simulated in animal experiments), Moringa oleifera was able to mitigate or minimize further damage to the heart muscle.


33 animal and 8 human studies into the effects of various Moringa oleifera extracts on glucose metabolism were able to confirm that the plant lowers blood glucose and prevents the metabolic complications typical of hyperglycemic patients. This was found to be the case both in the short and the long term.[11]

Furthermore, a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study was conducted with 65 prediabetics using Moringa oleifera leaves as a dietary supplement. For 12 weeks, the test subjects took a daily dose of either 2400 mg dry leaf powder or a placebo.

Result: In the moringa group, fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c (a form of hemolobin used to diagnose diabetes) decreased, while both increased in the placebo group.

No different change scores were observed in other parameters (such as hepatic and renal function markers, release of ghrelin [a hormone that controls food intake] and composition of the gut microbiome or flora). The scientists concluded that Moringa oleifera could be used to naturally lower elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).[12], [13]

Neurodegenerative diseases incl. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and stroke

Several experimental studies have reported neuroprotective effects of M. oleifera against dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke and symptoms associated with neurotoxins (toxins destructive to nerve tissue). To date, several neuroprotective compounds have been isolated from M. oleifera.[14]


Moringa oleifera contains numerous bioactive compounds with antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, including the aforementioned isothiocyanates. These inhibit cancer cell proliferation, promote the death of malignant cells and slow down the migration and spread of tumors without having any particular effect on normal cells.

For this reason, isothiocyanates can be used clinically not only in the treatment of diabetes, neurological diseases, obesity and ulcerative colitis, but also in various types of cancer. In other words, thanks to its ability to inhibit tumor growth while protecting normal bodily functions, M. oleifera can also be used as a drug in cancer treatment.[15], [16]

M. oleifera against the four most common types of cancer

Breast cancer (mammary carcinoma)

A 2021 study showed that a methanolic extract of moringa leaves selectively suppressed breast cancer cells without significantly affecting normal MCF10A breast epithelial cells.[17]

Another study demonstrated impressive anti-cancer properties of M. oleifera leaf and bark extracts against breast and colon cancer cells. The authors suggested using M. oleifera for developing drugs against breast and colon cancer.[18]

Lung cancer (bronchial carcinoma)

Another recent study (2021) investigated the effect of a Moringa oleifera extract on various cancer and lung cancer cells. Result: The proliferation and migration of non-small cell lung cancer cells (A549 cells) were strongly inhibited, leading to cell cycle arrest and subsequently to programmed cell death (apoptosis). The moringa extract only showed minimal toxicity for the epithelial cells of the gastric mucosa (GES-1 cells). The researchers concluded that this extract has potential in both the prevention and treatment of lung cancer.[19]

Prostate cancer

Scientists from India and Saudi Arabia have confirmed that a moringa leaf extract has significant anti-cancer potential in prostate cancer. Among other things, the moringa extract induced the death of cancer cells and a corresponding change in gene expression (messenger ribonucleic acid — mRNA). M. oleifera appears to exert its antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing effect by down-regulating the so-called Hedgehog signaling pathway. In the presence of solid tumors, this pathway (which in adults is normally inactive) is often abnormally activated. Thus, supplementation with M. oleifera could be beneficial against prostate cancer cells.[20]

Colon cancer (colorectal carcinoma)

In addition to the aforementioned study on the use of moringa against breast and colon cancer cell lines[18], other studies have also found positive effects of moringa against colon cancer. For example, scientists from the Mexican Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro discovered that the fermented (pre-digested) indigestible fraction of Moringa oleifera leaves exerts antiproliferative effects on HT-29 colon cancer cells and leads to autophagocytosis (the cell's internal process by which its own components are broken down) and apoptosis.[21]

Other types of cancer

Studies on the positive effects of Moringa oleifera are also available for other common malignancies. These include malignant melanoma[22], pancreatic cancer[23], leukemia[24], brain tumors (glioblastoma)[25], uterine cancer[26], liver cancer[27], esophageal cancer[28], ovarian cancer[29] and cervical cancer[30].


1. Miracle Tree helps in Niger's food crisis
2. Jacob O Popoola, Olawole O Obembe: Local knowledge, use pattern and geographical distribution of Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) in Nigeria. In: Journal of Ethnopharmacology. November 2013, PMID 24096203
Shalini Arora, Saurabh Arora: Nutritional significance and therapeutic potential of Moringa oleifera: The wonder plant
3. Alessandro Leone, Alberto Spada, Alberto Battezzati, Alberto Schiraldi, Junior Aristil, Simona Bertoli: Cultivation, Genetic, Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Moringa oleifera Leaves: An Overview. In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2015, PMC4490473
4. Sunday E Atawodi et al.: Evaluation of the polyphenol content and antioxidant properties of methanol extracts of the leaves, stem, and root barks of Moringa oleifera Lam. In: Journal of Medicinal Food. 2010, PMID 20521992
5. Marcela Vergara-Jimenez, Manal Mused Almatrafi, Maria Luz Fernandez: Bioactive Components in Moringa oleifera Leaves Protect against Chronic Disease. In: Antioxidants (Basel). December 2017. PMC5745501
7. Muhammad Torequl Islam et al.: Anxiolytic-like effects of Moringa oleifera in Swiss mice. In: Cellular and Molecular Biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France). June 2020. PMID 32583774
8. Shanmugapriya Ramamurthy êt al.: Moringa oleifera: Antioxidant, Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory, and Related Properties of Extracts in Cell Lines: A Review of Medicinal Effects, Phytochemistry, and Applications. In: The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. December 2021. PMID 35656691
9. Mukesh Nandave et al.: Moringa oleifera leaf extract prevents isoproterenol-induced myocardial damage in rats: evidence for an antioxidant, antiperoxidative, and cardioprotective intervention. In: Journal of Medicinal Food. February 2009. PMID 19298195
10. Fenty Alia et al.: The Potency of Moringa oleifera Lam. as Protective Agent in Cardiac Damage and Vascular Dysfunction. In: Frontiers in Pharmacology. January 2022. PMC8818947
11. Esther Nova et al.: Potential of Moringa oleifera to Improve Glucose Control for the Prevention of Diabetes and Related Metabolic Alterations: A Systematic Review of Animal and Human Studies. In: Nutrients. July 2020. PMID 32664295
12. Sonia Gómez-Martínez et al.: Moringa oleifera Leaf Supplementation as a Glycemic Control Strategy in Subjects with Prediabetes. In: Nutrients. December 2021. PMID 35010932
13. Fenty Alia et al.: The Potency of Moringa oleifera Lam. as Protective Agent in Cardiac Damage and Vascular Dysfunction. In: Frontiers in Pharmacology. January 2022. PMC8818947
14. Saurav Ghimire et al.: Moringa oleifera: A Tree of Life as a Promising Medicinal Plant for Neurodegenerative Diseases. In: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. December 2021. PMID 34843254
15. Yu-Yao Wu, Yan-Ming Xu, Andy T. Y. Lau: Anti-Cancer and Medicinal Potentials of Moringa Isothiocyanate. In: Molecules. December 2021. PMC8708952
16. Dharmeswar Barhoi et al.: Aqueous Extract of Moringa oleifera Exhibit Potential Anticancer Activity and can be Used as a Possible Cancer Therapeutic Agent: A Study Involving In Vitro and In Vivo Approach. In: Journal of the American College of Nutrition. January 2021. PMID 32191153
17. Umiey Fahietah Mohd Fisall et al.: Dichloromethane fraction of Moringa oleifera leaf methanolic extract selectively inhibits breast cancer cells (MCF7) by induction of apoptosis via upregulation of Bax, p53 and caspase 8 expressions. In: Molecular Biology Reports. May 2021. PMID 34086162
18. Abdulrahman Khazim Al-Asmari et al.: Moringa oleifera as an Anti-Cancer Agent against Breast and Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines. In: PLoS One. August 2015. PMID 26288313
19. Jing Xie et al.: Alkaloid Extract of Moringa oleifera Lam. Exerts Antitumor Activity in Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer via Modulation of the JAK2/STAT3 Signaling Pathway. In: Evidence- Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. June 2021. PMID 34211571
20. Fahad Khan et al.: Moringa oleifera methanolic leaves extract induces apoptosis and G0/G1 cell cycle arrest via downregulation of Hedgehog Signaling Pathway in human prostate PC-3 cancer cells. In: Journal of Food Biochemistry. August 2020. PMID 32588472
21. Laura H Caicedo-Lopez et al.: Colonic metabolites from digested Moringa oleifera leaves induced HT-29 cell death via apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy. In: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. June 2021. PMID 33302731
22. Mitochondria-mediated Caspase-dependent and Caspase-independent apoptosis induced by aqueous extract from Moringa oleifera leaves in human melanoma cells
23. Combined Effect of Moringa oleifera and Ionizing Radiation on Survival and Metastatic Activity of Pancreatic Cancer Cells and
24. Chemopreventive and anti-leukemic effects of ethanol extracts of Moringa oleifera leaves on wistar rats bearing benzene induced leukemia
25. Anticancer activity of glucomoringin isothiocyanate in human malignant astrocytoma cells
26. Jab1 Inhibition by Methanolic Extract of Moringa Oleifera Leaves in Cervical Cancer Cells: A Potent Targeted Therapeutic Approach
27. A potential oral anticancer drug candidate, Moringa oleifera leaf extract, induces the apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells
28. The Antiproliferative Effect of Moringa oleifera Crude Aqueous Leaf Extract on Human Esophageal Cancer Cells
29. Inhibitory role of a smart nano-trifattyglyceride of Moringa oleifera root in epithelial ovarian cancer, through attenuation of FSHR - c-Myc axis
30. Jab1 Inhibition by Methanolic Extract of Moringa Oleifera Leaves in Cervical Cancer Cells: A Potent Targeted Therapeutic Approach

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