Monday, July 7, 2014

Halamang Gamot / Herbal Medicine - Malunggay (Moringa oleifera Lam.)

English: Horse raddish tree
Tagalog: Malunggay

Scientific name: Moringa oleifera Lam.

Malungay is a tree found throughout the Philippines. It is a common vegetable found in the market. They are a rich source of calcium and iron. The leaves are purgative, and diuretic.

- As high as 9 m; has a soft, white wood and corky, gummy bark. Root has the taste of horseradish. Each compound leaf contains 3-9 very thin leaflets dispersed on a compound (3 times pinnate) stalk. Flowers white and fragrant, producing long, pendulous, 9-ribbed pods. 3-angled winged seeds.

- Introduced from Malaya or some other part of tropical Asia in prehistoric times. Grown throughout the Philippines in settled areas as a backyard vegetable and as a border plant. Drought resistant and grows in practically all kinds of well-drained soils. Conserves water by shedding leaves during dry season.

- Propagation by seeds and stem cuttings.


Galactagogue, rubefacient, antiscorbutic, diuretic, stimulant, purgative.


Grown throughout the Philippines as a vegetable or border plant.

Parts utilized

Flowers, leaves, young pods

  • Ben oil, 36% – palmitic, stearic, myristic, oleic, and behenic acids, phytosterin; two alkaloids the mixture of which has the same action as epinephrine.

Commercial Use

  • Oil, known as ben oil, extracted from flowers can be used as illuminant, ointment base, and absorbent in the enfleurage process of extracting volatile oils from flowers. 
  • The oil, applied locally, has also been helpful for arthritic pains, rheumatic and gouty joints.
  •  Flowers, leaves and pods eaten as a vegetable.
  •  Source of calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins.
Medicinal Use
  •  Young leaves increases the flow of milk. Pods for intestinal parasitism.
  •  Constipation: Leaves and fruit
  •  Decoction of boiled roots used to wash sores and ulcers.
  •  Decoction of the bark used for excitement, restlessness.
  •  Pounded roots used as poultice for inflammatory swelling.
  •  Juice of roots is used for otalgia.
  •  Decoction of roots is use as gargle for hoarseness and sore throat.
  •  Boiled leaves used to help increase lactation.
  •  Seeds for hypertension, gout, asthma, hiccups, and as a diuretic.
  •  Rheumatic complaints: Decoction of seeds; or, powdered roasted seeds applied to affected area.
  •  Juice of the root with milk used for asthma, hiccups, gout, lumbago.
  •  Poultice of leaves applied for glandular swelling.
  •  Pounded fresh leaves mixed with coconut oil applied to wounds and cuts.
  •  The flowers boiled with soy milk thought to have aphrodisiac quality.