Moringa, also known as the miracle tree or the drumstick tree, has been taking the world by storm. Formerly a key part of ayurvedic medicine, the plant has been processed into a supplement and is now widely available around the world. It has a wide range of benefits, including some for your hair's health.
We've written extensively about moringa before, but one thing we haven't touched on is those hair benefits. We've covered sleep benefits, benefits for women's health, and even liver benefits, but we have yet to look at how moringa can affect your hair. Well, today, that all changes. What benefits does moringa have for your hair?
Moringa's Benefits for Hair
Moringa actually has a surprising number of benefits for your hair. Bear in mind, however, that these benefits may be different for each individual. When you try moringa, you may or may not see any or all of these effects. Some are more common than others, and some are only useful if you have particular issues with your scalp. It may also depend on how you take moringa, which we'll talk more about later.
Moringa is antimicrobial.
Bacteria and fungus are two of the leading causes of scalp issues around the world. These scalp issues can result in everything from itchiness and minor dandruff, all the way to painful blisters, hair loss, and psoriasis-like infections.
Moringa itself has compounds in it, including pterygospermin, which is a chemical with potential antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. One study has identified it as a promising candidate, though there are no secondary studies to verify this one, so evidence remains somewhat scarce. Additionally, this benefit is likely only relevant when the moringa is applied topically rather than ingested as many other benefits.
Moringa is high in vitamins C and E.
One of the most damaging things that can happen to any part of your body is called oxidative stress. Free radicals are charged particles that circulate throughout your body, created by stray oxygen and other damage from the world around you. These free radicals strip electrons from other atoms in your body, damaging them. This can result in anything from the death of a cell to damage to DNA, leading to improper replication and even cancer. Obviously, this is a bad thing!
Vitamins C and E are both known to be antioxidants. Antioxidants are particles with a ton of electrons to give away. So, when a free radical encounters an antioxidant, they essentially neutralize one another. Most importantly, this means the free radical only damages the vitamin molecule and not part of your body.
What does this have to do with hair? Well, free radicals can damage hair, leading to anything from premature graying to thinning to brittle hair. Antioxidants reduce this potential stress. This can keep your hair follicles, and the hair they grow, healthy.
Moringa is rich in amino acids.
Amino acids are the tiny building blocks your body uses to assemble just about every kind of cell it has. Usually, your body has to spend effort breaking down protein into its component parts in order to stockpile those amino acids. However, when you eat certain foods that are rich in aminos, those aminos can be stockpiled or immediately used much more easily.
Moringa is one such food item that is rich in amino acids. You can get quite a few of them, which gives your body more fuel to use to repair damage to "less essential" things like your hair, as opposed to focusing everything on your organs and muscles. The more aminos you have, generally, the better off you'll be.
Moringa peptides can delay hair graying.
Another hair-specific benefit comes from certain peptides present in moringa. These peptides, when applied topically, form a kind of protective coating around the hair shaft. This coating helps act as a sort of sunblock, which prevents UV rays from the sun from damaging the melanin in your hair. That melanin is a natural pigment and is what is responsible for your hair color.
Thus, by applying moringa topically to your hair, you protect it from damage and depigmentation. This is especially important for your scalp and the melanin in your hair follicles, which is what determines how much pigment makes it into the hair in the first place.
Moringa has high levels of biotin.
Biotin is another name for a vitamin, specifically vitamin B7. Part of the B complex, this vitamin has a lot of different uses throughout your body. In particular, however, biotin is a frequently used vitamin in the production of healthy hair.
The idea is that biotin stimulates your hair follicles to produce more keratin. Since keratin is the primary nutrient used in the creation of hair, producing more of it leads to longer, stronger hair.
That said, studies into the effects of biotin are rather limited and somewhat contradictory. Some indicate that biotin might be able to prevent undue hair loss due to deficiencies. Others believe that biotin can stimulate hair growth above and beyond your "baseline" hair growth rates. Still others fail to find much of a link between them at all. It varies a lot, unfortunately.
Moringa is rich in vitamin A.
Vitamin A is probably the most universally recognized vitamin for hair treatments. It's in virtually every hair care product out there, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.
The trouble with vitamin A is that you need to stick within a relatively narrow range. If you have too little vitamin A, your body won't be able to use it to produce more hair, so your hair growth will slow, and it may start to thin out, as it falls out faster than it can be replaced.
On the other hand, if you have too much vitamin A, your body starts to throw a fit. Your hair will cycle faster, which means it grows more, but also falls out faster. Often, this is outweighed, and you end up losing hair. This is why so many hair growth products have carefully-regulated amounts of vitamin A and tell you not to combine them with other products.
Moringa is high in vitamin A, which means it can be good for getting you to that range if you have a deficiency. However, if you're bordering on too much vitamin A, then your moringa supplements might do more harm than good.
Moringa is also high in zinc.
Zinc is another good nutrient for hair growth and hair strength, and unlike vitamin A, there's no evidence that too much of it could have a negative impact. High levels of zinc have been shown to increase the speed at which hair follicles recover from damage, as well as the overall health of your scalp. Zinc is also part of your immune system, so having enough of it floating around can help you more effectively fight off illness.
Moringa oil is also a moisturizer.
This is another topical application. When you apply moringa oil to your hair and scalp, you help moisturize them both. For your hair, this means it's more resilient to damage, less likely to get tangled up (similar to how aloe vera works), and won't break or fray as easily. For your scalp, moisturizing it helps minimize dandruff and damage to your hair follicles themselves. It's generally just good to have some kind of moisturizer as part of your beauty routine, though you don't necessarily need to use moringa for it.
How to Use Moringa for Hair Health
Moringa is an extremely flexible product. You can find it in a lot of different preparations. The question is, which ones should you use if you want to benefit your hair health?
Generally, you can break down your options into two categories.
The first category is ingestion. That is, eating the moringa. You can come across moringa as a raw vegetable, but this is actually one of the least effective ways to get moringa. That's because it's less concentrated, and it's less consistent. One stalk or leaf of moringa can have different sets of nutrients from another, and while on average they'll be equivalent, the variation from day to day means your hair results might be fickle and inconsistent. Plus, you may have a hard time finding it as a vegetable consistently.
When ingesting moringa as a supplement, you have a lot of different choices. You can get moringa powder, and mix it into a smoothie or use it as a powder to mix into water. You can get moringa juice, which is a concentrate that can be diluted and mixed with other beverages. Juice has the added benefit of additional juices and ingredients added to it to increase its efficacy. You can also find it in capsule form, which makes it extremely easy to take a daily dose just like you would any other pill or capsule vitamin.
You may have noticed up above that several of the benefits we mentioned about moringa are "only applicable to a topical application." What that means is that eating moringa, whether it's as a vegetable or as a supplement, does not provide those benefits.
So, how do you get them? Well, you need a topical application. That means you need some way to put moringa on your hair. While you could certainly do so with the powder, this is a waste of powder and won't be very effective.
Instead, what you need is the second option; a moringa oil. Moringa oil usually comes from the seeds rather than the leaves, which can be pressed to extract the oil. That oil can then be concentrated and shipped in a small vial, similar to an essential oil. You can dilute some of that oil into a carrier like coconut oil or tea tree oil and then use that as a hair treatment.
By applying the oil directly to your scalp and hair, you get some of the benefits directly and near-immediately. Things like the sunblock properties, the antimicrobial properties, and the moisturizing properties are all only available this way. You won't get them if you eat moringa capsules.
On the other hand, some of the nutritional benefits, like zinc, antioxidants, and amino acids, don't carry through your hair. Only some substances, like vitamin A, are really absorbed by your hair directly. The rest need to reach your hair follicles internally.
So, how do you best take moringa? Our answer is simple: both ways!
That's right; there's no reason not to do both, so long as you don't go overboard with too much vitamin A. Take a daily supplement with moringa capsules or a dose of juice. Meanwhile, use the oil as a hair treatment before you go out for the day or before you go to sleep at night.
It can take some time to figure out exactly what your hair care routine should look like. It can also take a while for the effects of moringa to become apparent. However, that's no reason not to stick with it. Pick a routine and go with it for at least a month, and you'll be sure to see some sort of effect. From there, you can adjust what kinds and what dosages you take, to get the results you want.
Moringa isn't the only supplement you can take to boost your hair health. Luckily, we have a handful of other articles you can read to learn more. For example, why not check out:
- 6 Ways to Naturally Repair Your Sun-Damaged Hair
- Which Natural Oils are Best for Protecting Your Hair?
- 8 Tips to Prevent Hair Knots and Tangles While Sleeping
This is just some of the advice we've produced on this site. If you're interested in hair care, moringa, other aspects of beauty, or other aspects of health, please browse around our blog or search for your chosen topic. And, if we haven't written something to cover your question, feel free to leave us a comment and ask. We'll do our best to answer, either directly or in another post later on down the line. Thanks for reading!