Herb of the Season: Sahijan (Moringa olifeira)

Ayurvedic energetics:
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), Madhura (slightly sweet)
Vipaka – Katu
Veerya – Ushna (hot)
Doshic signature – KV=P+
Gunas – Laghu (light, easy to digest), Rooksha (dryness), Teekshna (strong, piercing)
Other qualities: Kshara – Has alkaline properties; Shobhanjana – Very auspicious tree; Teekshnagandha – Strong and pungent odor

Other Names: Munaga (Hindi), Munagai (Tamil), Nugge Mara (Kannada), Nugge kayi (Kannada), Sahijan (Hindi), Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna

Sahijan (Moringa) is a plant that is native to the sub-Himalayan areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan but currently is also grown throughout the tropics. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine. Traditionally, Moringa is used for “tired blood” (anemia); arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism); asthma; cancer; constipation; diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy; stomach pain; stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure; kidney stones; fluid retention; thyroid disorders; and bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections.

Sahjian is also used to reduce swelling, increase sex drive (as an aphrodisiac), prevent pregnancy, boost the immune system, and increase breast milk production. It is also used as a general nutritional supplement or tonic. Moringa is sometimes applied topically to the skin as a microbicidal or drying agent (astringent). It is also used topically for treating pockets of infection (abscesses), athlete’s foot, dandruff, gum disease (gingivitis), snakebite, warts, and wounds. Moringa contains copious quantities of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. As an antioxidant, it protects cells from oxidation damage. Sahjian is used as part of diet in India since ages. Its use in treatment is seen in Ayurveda from the times of Sushruta. Sahjian is a generally safe plant medicine when taken orally and used in appropriate dosages.

Contemporarily, Sahjian is put to the following uses, inter alia:

Circulatory & Digestive: Many of its parts like drumstick leaves, fruit, oil etc. have immense health benefits targeted towards many systems like digestive, heart and circulatory systems.
Pain: Because of its analgesic effects, Moringa is used as an ingredient in many Ayurvedic pain relief oils.
Anti-inflammatory: Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, it is an ingredient of Shothaghna Lepa – a paste application used to relieve swelling, pain and redness.
Vulnerary: Because of its wound healing benefits, and usefulness in abscess etc., it is an ingredient in Aragwadhadi kashayam.
Headache: Moringa leaves paste applied externally, or used as vegetable helps to relieve headache. Its seed powder, in the form of nasya treatment cures headache. Oil prepared with Moringa is useful to relieve headache.
Diabetes: Many studies have been conducted to prove the anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant effect of Moringa.
Parasites: Moringa flowers are useful in intestinal worms. It balances pitta and kapha.
Dermatologic: Oil prepared with Moringa is useful to relieve headache, pungent, useful in skin diseases and diabetes.
Moringa leaves for balanitis: Leaves are ground to make a paste. It is applied over the inflamed area.
Drumstick during pregnancy and lactation: Drumstick leaves, root bark and flowers are contra-indicated during pregnancy and it is best to best to avoid for 4 weeks after delivery.

Article provided by William Courson, BVSA, Dpl. Ayur., C.H. an Ayurvedic Practitioner, faculty member and the College Dean of Institutional Development at Sai Ayurvedic College & Ayurvedic Wellness Center.

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