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Using Moringa to Support Your Milk Supply

moringa

Moringa is called the Miracle Tree. It is a super fast growing perennial tree that can grow in conditions that other plants may not survive and can grow 9 - 12 feet per year. The leaves are fairly sparse on the branches and the pale yellow flowers have a pleasant scent. The seed pods are long growing up to one foot in length. They are green when young and brown when they are mature containing up to 20 seeds.(1) 
Moringa is also called Mulunggay and is part of the Moringaceae family. It is native to South Asia and is considered a superfood. Part of the reason it has the name Miracle Tree is because every part of the tree can be used in some way.
  • The roots of Moringa oleifera taste like horseradish. It can be toxic so it is not recommended to consume.(5)
  • The flowers appear soft and delicate, but taste like mushrooms when they are cooked.(2)
  • The seed pods are typically eaten when they are young and green. They can be eaten raw or cooked into soups and stews.(3)
  • Moringa seeds are used for water purification.(4)
  • The leaves of the moringa plant are eaten as food and also are used as a supplement for many conditions including increasing milk production.
Vitamins in Moringa leaves:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid
Minerals in Moringa leaves:
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Moringa is high in protein. Together with the B vitamins it contains, Moringa can boost your energy and help prevent feeling exhausted. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is important for your eyes, immune system and essential for supporting the rapid growth of babies. Moringa can be helpful for parents who are low in iron and calcium. Moringa is a plant based source of iron just like spinach. Both are non-heme forms which means it is not as bioavailable as heme iron, but because Moringa also is high in vitamin C, it helps the body absorb the iron much better.(6)


Moringa has been used for generations, especially in the Philippines for increasing the nutrition of new mothers as well as supporting healthy lactation and increasing milk supply. Rich in antioxidants, Moringa is beneficial for increasing nitric oxide which plays a role in regulating blood pressure and improving circulation.(8) Moringa leaves are nitrate rich and converts to nitrites producing nitric oxide in the body necessary for our immune system and nervous system. One study showed colostrum to have high levels of nitrite. The importance of this is that the baby's gut is not yet colonized with the bacteria that converts nitrate to nitrite so colostrum’s high nitrite content is protective for the infant.(9) 


Prolactin is a key hormone for making milk. It is released when the baby nurses, removing milk which signals the body to make more milk. Prolactin has its own circadian rhythm as well and is highest during the middle of the night and early morning. When milk is removed during these hours, it informs the body to boost milk supply and supports the following day's milk production.(10) A double-blind, randomized controlled study of 68 mothers showed Moringa significantly increased milk production postpartum. There were 31 mothers in the treatment group who received a supplement made with Moringa leaves and 37 mothers in the control group taking a placebo. All of the parent’s babies were born before 37 weeks and were pumping milk for their babies who were in the NICU. They pumped their milk from days 1-5 postpartum for the study and their volume of milk was measured. On day 3, the mothers taking Moringa had 28-32% more milk than the placebo group. By day 5, the Moringa group had a 152-176% increase of milk compared to the control group.(11) 


Moringa is one of the herbs in Legendairy Milk’s Milkapalooza and Cash Cow. Milkapalooza’s blend of herbs helps boost milk supply quickly. Cash Cow can be used in the last weeks of pregnancy supporting the body for giving birth as well as the establishment of milk supply. Both supplements increase overall nutrition for the lactating parent.


Moringa has been shown to have certain health benefits for men as well. It has been used to increase sperm count and motility and be beneficial to prostate health.(7)


Cautions:

  • Moringa helps regulate blood pressure so discuss taking it with your doctor if you are on high blood pressure medications
  • If you are on diabetes medication, discuss taking Moringa with your doctor first since it is shown to lower blood glucose levels
  • Moringa improves thyroid function so talk to your healthcare provider before supplementing with Moringa if you take thyroid medication
  • Some medications that are broken down by your liver may not be compatible with taking Moringa(12)
  • Moringa should not be taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. 
Footnotes:
  1. https://www.outdoorhappens.com/total-guide-to-moringa-why-you-should-grow-the-miracle-tree-or-drumstick-vegetable/
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/on-the-table-moringa-flowers/article22618945.ece
  3. http://www.ilovemoringa.com/How-To-Eat-Moringa-Seed-Pods.html
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468227620301022#:~:text=Moringa%20seed%20powder%20is%20an,moringa%2Dseed%2Dclarified%20water.
  5. https://www.morningardens.com/can-you-eat-every-part-of-the-moringa-tree/
  6. https://www.healwithfood.org/nutrition-facts/moringa-vs-spinach-benefits.php
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/moringa-benefits-for-men#1.-May-promote-prostate-health
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-nitric-oxide#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4
  9. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027145849.htm
  10. https://www.laleche.org.uk/breastfeeding-at-night/
  11. https://miracletrees.org/moringa-doc/moringa_breastfeeding_study.pdf
  12. https://www.rxlist.com/moringa/supplements.htm

Resources:
https://miracletrees.org/moringa-doc/moringa_breastfeeding_study.pdf 
http://www.ilovemoringa.com/MoringaOleifera.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera
https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/prolactin/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319916#risks-with-existing-medications
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25374169/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501899/

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