Moringa is known as the Miracle Tree. Also called Mulunggay, Moringa is part of the Moringaceae family. It is native to South Asia and is considered a superfood. Every part of this tree has its own surprising use. In particular, the leaves can work wonders for increasing milk production and supporting healthy lactation. It is a super fast-growing perennial tree that can grow in conditions other plants may not survive and can grow 9 - 12 feet per year. The leaves are relatively 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 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 necessary for your eye health and 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, meaning it is not as bioavailable as heme iron, but because Moringa is also high in vitamin C, it helps the body absorb iron much better. (6)
Moringa has been used for generations, especially in the Philippines, to increase the nutrition of new mothers, support healthy lactation, and increase 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 convert to nitrites, producing nitric oxide in the body necessary for our immune and nervous systems. One study showed colostrum to have high levels of nitrite. This is important because the baby's gut is not yet colonized with the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite, so colostrum’s high nitrite content protects the infant. (9)
Prolactin is a key hormone for making milk. It is released when the baby nurses, which signals the body to make more milk. Prolactin also has its own circadian rhythm 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 the 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 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 in milk compared to the control group. (11)
Moringa has been shown to have certain health benefits for men as well. It has been used to increase sperm count and motility and benefit prostate health. (7)
- 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.
Moringa increases nutrition, promotes healthy lactation, and enhances milk supply. This superfood has been passed down through the generations to nourish new mothers and babies. Packed with vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Moringa can boost energy levels, aid recovery after birth, raise iron and calcium levels, and support lactation throughout the breastfeeding journey.