Moringa is part of a wide history of traditional medicine stemming from the ayurvedic tradition. While just about every traditional medicine and herbal remedy around the world has been used, at some point or another, as an aphrodisiac and libido-enhancer, moringa is semi-unique in that it is frequently used as a female fertility aid as well.
The question is, how much of that is true? Is moringa a good herbal remedy to take when you're pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding after pregnancy? Or, does it contain compounds that could be detrimental to pregnancy?
Before we dig deeper into the situation, it's worthwhile to keep in mind that relatively few concrete, conclusive studies have been performed about the relationship between moringa and pregnancy. Thus, you should keep several things in mind.
First, virtually all studies performed with moringa, particularly surrounding pregnancy, have been performed on rodents. Rodents are traditionally used in medical studies because they're similar enough, biologically, to humans, that a lot of the results can be assumed to be somewhat similar. However, until studies are performed on humans, it's impossible to say conclusively whether or not the results are accurate. While some human studies are currently ongoing, and some have been performed, the body of evidence is relatively small.
Second, moringa is classified as an herbal remedy, which means it is relatively unregulated by the FDA and other global governmental organizations. This means you have two major concerns to keep in mind.
- Is the moringa you're getting just the leaf, or does it include other parts of the plant, like seed pods, flowers, bark, or roots? As you'll see as you read through this post, this can make a very large difference.
- Is the moringa you're getting pure, or is it contaminated with something? There are cases every year of impure herbal remedies being recalled due to the presence of lead or some other contaminant.
As such, you should always make sure you only buy your moringa from a seller you trust. We try to be that seller, and we source our moringa through pure and ethical sources, but feel free to reach out and ask us if you have specific concerns we haven't addressed.
Third, as in all things relating to herbal remedies and health, you should always consult with your physician if you have any concerns. This holds for everyone but is especially true if you have any specific health concerns you need to monitor, such as diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or another health issue. Always double-check to make sure you aren't going to do more harm than good.
Moringa for Libido
Our goal with this post is to go through all of the phases of trying for a child. The first, perhaps, could be defined as the libido. It can be difficult to conceive a child if you're not even interested in having sex in the first place, right?
In truth, "aphrodisiacs" are largely a myth. What happens is a reduction of stress. When you're in high-stress situations or are just stressed in general, your body has to spend a lot of effort and energy in dealing with it. Stress hormones suppress sexual desire, and oxidative stress makes you feel tired and less interested in any sort of physical activity.
Moringa has been observed (in rats, of course) to have a variety of beneficial effects in this realm. There are some caveats to this, however.
First and foremost among them is that the primary study looked into the sexual performance of male rats. Moringa helped to reduce stress levels, enhance testosterone, and promote sexual behavior in male rats, but the study did not look at the reactions, biology, or hormone levels of female rats.
Another aspect is that a huge part of what benefits sexual performance and desire is antioxidants. Moringa is high in antioxidants, in particular, vitamin C. Antioxidants are not unique to moringa, so there's a possibility that these benefits could be comparable to taking a multivitamin or eating some generally healthier foods across the board.
Truly, the biggest potential drawback is that moringa may have the effect of increasing testosterone. That's good for men, but not so much for women, particularly those who are trying to conceive. Relatively few studies have been performed into female sexuality and the effects of these sorts of aphrodisiacs, so a lot more study will be needed before conclusions can be drawn.
That said, if you're looking to stimulate your partner, it's possible that giving them a moringa supplement can help. Just make sure you get their consent first, of course!
Moringa for Conception
Sexuality and pregnancy is a two-person act, and as such, we need to look at it from both sides of the coin.
In men, as mentioned above, moringa has been observed to increase sexual performance. One of the indicators of fertility is sperm motility – that is, how quickly and strongly sperm can move – and it has been shown that moringa can improve motility. Additionally, moringa's ability to improve health and libido in men can lead to stronger, longer-lasting erections, and the higher testosterone levels can make a sexual performance that much higher.
For women, again, moringa hasn't been studied quite as much. However, many of the same benefits extend to women as well as men. Lower stress levels, lower levels of cortisol in the blood, a better balance of hormones, and mood; all of these effects are greatly beneficial for conception. Your body is more likely to conceive when you're healthy, so eating healthy supplements regularly can help.
Thousands of women have taken moringa as part of a ritual to help conceive, and it hasn't caused any huge detrimental issues that have been documented, so at the very least it probably won't hurt. As always, however, make sure to consult with your doctor first.
Moringa for Pregnancy
Once you've managed to conceive, the battle has just begun. Growing a child within you is a hugely stressful time. Your body devotes most of its energy to the developing child and can cause all manner of huge hormonal swings and nutritional needs.
Moringa has a few different potential benefits in this realm.
- It's high in iron. Iron is a critical component of blood. It helps clot, it helps keep your blood healthy and clean, and it helps prevent anemia. Since your developing child needs plenty of oxygen and nutrients, you need healthy blood to carry them. Moringa can help bolster blood iron, to promote more oxygen and nutrient conveyance.
- It's a natural energy booster. One of the biggest changes to many lifestyles during pregnancy is cutting out caffeine. Caffeine gives you energy, yes, but it also causes all manner of problems with circulation, vasoconstriction, and more. Plus, its ability to increase blood pressure can be detrimental. Moringa can help your body stay energized and fight off fatigue, making it a good alternative to caffeine when you're pregnant.
- It helps regulate mood. As your body devotes itself to the developing child, all manner of systems goes wildly out of balance, including hormones. You'll find you have all sorts of mood swings, highs, and lows much higher and lower than you're normally used to. Moringa can help stabilize your moods, as well as boost the lower moods, so you'll be less likely to feel terrible throughout your trimesters.
- It's a bowel regulator. Moringa has fiber in it, but also nutrients that help the bowels move. Since one of the biggest issues with pregnancy is bowels getting obstructed by an expanding uterus, taking something that promotes regular bowel movements can be hugely beneficial.
There's one major caution about moringa during pregnancy, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.
Only consume moringa leaves or leaf extract. The entire moringa plant is used for a variety of purposes, including roots, bark, leaves, seeds, and pods. Most of it is edible, and indeed, a lot of it is used as a staple food for the people where it is cultivated. However, moringa leaves are the only part of the plant that does not contain compounds that cause uterine contractions.
In case you're unclear what that means, it's bad for pregnancy. Specifically, uterine contractions can cause miscarriage. It's entirely possible that portions of moringa, particularly the roots and bark, have been used as an abortive and contraceptive.
The leaves are fine, nutritious, and even beneficial to women who are pregnant. The roots, bark, and other parts of the tree, conversely, can be dangerous to a pregnancy. It's best to make sure you know what kind of moringa you're getting, to stay on the safe side. To quote WebMD directly:
"Pregnancy: It's POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use the root, bark, or flowers of moringa if you are pregnant. Chemicals in the root, bark, and flowers might make the uterus contract. In traditional medicine, the root and bark were used to cause miscarriages. There is not enough information available about the safety of using other parts of moringa during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use."
So, there you go. It's not guaranteed that getting the wrong moringa will terminate a pregnancy, but it's a risk, and it's not a risk you want to take. Stay on the safe side and either avoid moringa entirely or make sure you're getting 100% pure moringa leaves or leaf extract.
Moringa for Breastfeeding
You've dealt with sexual desire, you've dealt with conception, and you've dealt with the ups and downs of pregnancy. What about after the child is born, and you're feeding them directly? Breastfeeding is still a time during which you need to be aware of what you take into your body. Various nutrients and chemicals can make their way into breast milk, and can thus be transferred to the infant child. Normally this is good, to make milk highly nutritious. Sometimes, though, it's bad, and you want to make sure you're not giving your child bad chemicals.
Moringa has been used as a lactation enhancer as part of its traditional medicine background. The highly nutritious leaves are used for their vitamin and mineral content, and they can increase both the nutritional value and the volume of breast milk you produce.
Again, pretty much all of the same caveats apply. Stay away from moringa that isn't made using the leaves, and you'll probably be fine. Moringa helps your body stay healthy while you're nursing your child, especially while you're recovering from giving birth.
Moringa may also be useful if you suffer from post-partum depression. Since the herbal remedy can help bolster your serotonin and dopamine, as well as reduce cortisol and other signs of stress, it can help alleviate symptoms of depression stemming from an imbalanced endocrine system.
If you want to read a deeper and more detailed analysis of moringa and its effects on breastfeeding, we wrote an article specifically about that not too long ago. Feel free to check it out!
Supplementing the Body
In general, one of the best benefits of moringa is simply that it's a very healthy vegetable. Even something like moringa juice can be hugely beneficial to you since it's packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytonutrients. If you can't find fresh moringa leaf – and you probably can't, outside of the areas where it's cultivated – you can go with the ground or powdered moringa options, or even a moringa juice. Both are fine options.
Just make sure you follow all of the usual directives. Make sure you get plenty of checkups and ensure that you're healthy and that any ongoing medical issues are controlled. Moringa can be an incredibly useful supplement, but you want to avoid it if you have hypothyroidism, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, or another issue that could be exacerbated by the herb.
We know that some of you out there have gone through a pregnancy with moringa already. If you have, let us know how it went! Did it help you out? Of course, unless you've had two pregnancies, one with and one without, it may be difficult to codify how much it helped. Still, tell us your story, we'd love to hear it.