Written by Gloria Cavallaro and originally published on Yahoo! News.
In short, it’s a tree called the moringa oleifera. It’s native to arid climates and sandy soil: most moringa originates in India, at the foot of the himalayas, but it’s also grown in Thailand, Taiwan, Africa, and the Philippines. The leaves of the Moringa tree are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and more.
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It’s being hailed as a so-called ‘superfood’ primarily because its leaves are very rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid (chlorogenic acid, has been shown to slow cells’ absorption of sugar, and we all know sugar is one of our worst enemies). As noted in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, “The leaves of the moringa oleifera tree have been reported to demonstrate antioxidant activity due to its high amount of polyphenols. Moringa oleifera extracts of both mature and tender leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity against free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to major biomolecules, and give significant protection against oxidative damage.”
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Not only is Moringa incredibly amazing to eat, it’s also a super anti-aging skincare ingredient that pledges to clear skin of acne, inflammation, reduce wrinkles, and restore health to your shining locks. Moringa oil, which is pressed from the seeds of the moringa tree, is perhaps the most remarkable product the tree produces—in fact, Egyptians were buried with jars of it. Moringa oil, also known as ben or behen oil, is unique in that it keeps for years without turning rancid. It’s also easily absorbed into the skin.
Although it hasn’t yet gained the widespread popularity of oils like argan or rose, moringa is slowly popping up in skincare brands. Emma Hardie, London-based aesthetician for Sophie Dahl, Angelica Huston, and the Spice Girls, swears by the oil and includes it in her proprietary skincare line.
Charlotte’s Book Premiere Provider Julia March, sought-after aesthetician and skin care therapist, has been drinking moringa tea and using products containing moringa for some time. After years of undetected Celiac’s disease, March began looking for natural supplements with the highest levels of nutrients to reverse her severely anemic state. In her search, she learned about moringa. “Moringa contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, A,” she explains. It also boasts minerals “iron, fiber, calcium, zinc (so needed for a repair of epithelial tissues!), copper, sulfur (which provides acne skin benefits, just like from Zinc), folic acid, selenium, chromium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium (another great mineral important for the skin, hair and nails).” She uses moringa products—including cleansers, lotions, tea, and powder supplements—in her practice and everyday routine.
Abigail James, one of the UK’s top facialists and skin health experts, has long been enjoying the benefits of the moringa plant. “I have added Moringa powder as a super food to my diet for years,” she revealed, “and know it’s amazing for the skin.” In addition, she blends her own oils with pure Moringa oils for a uniquely personalized skin care regimen.
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Says facialist James, “It’s an oleic acid omega9, so it absorbs deeper than a thicker oil without feeling oily. Because of its properties and texture it’s ideal for many skin types: aging skin, skin suffering from rosacea, and specifically skin with adult acne. Where jojoba or coconut [oil] might be too oily for congested skin, [oil from the moringa seed] will actually help re-balance your natural oil production.” It’s also high in Vitamins A and C, which is rare for oil.“Vitamins C and A in an oil formula are quite unique,” James explains, “with their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as high antioxidant content, making it great for supporting and preventing free radical damage.”
If you have access to a moringa tree, you can use the fresh leaves to make tea or powder. In the event that you don’t have this luxury (like most of us!) the best option is to buy moringa powder, tea, or supplements. In your skincare, look for products that are high in moringa oil, or, alternatively, you can buy pure Moringa oil.CHARLOTTE’S TIPS + RECOMMENDATIONS