Scribbling the cat: a case of the "miracle" plant, Moringa oleifera.
This paper reviews the properties of the most cultivated species of the Moringaceae family, Moringa oleifera Lam. The paper takes a critical look at the positive and the associated negative properties of the plant, with particular emphasis on its chemistry, selected medicinal and nutritional properties, as well as some ecological implications of the plant. The review highlights the importance of glucosinolates (GS) compounds which are relatively unique to the Moringa species family, with glucomoriginin and its acylated derivative being the most abundant. We highlight some new research findings revealing that not all M. oleifera cultivars contain an important flavonoid, rutin. The review also focuses on phenolic acids, tannin, minerals and vitamins, which are in high amounts when compared to most vegetables and fruits. Although there are numerous benefits of using M. oleifera for medicinal purposes, there are reports of contraindications. Nonetheless, we note that there are no major harmful effects of M. oleifera that have been reported by the scientific community. M. oleifera is suspected to be potentially invasive and moderately invasive in some regions of the world because of its ability to grow in a wide range of environmental conditions. However, the plant is currently classified as a low potential invasive species and thus there is a need to constantly monitor the species. Despite the numerous benefits associated with the plant, there is still a paucity of data on clinical trials proving both the positive and negative effects of the plant. We recommend further clinical trials to ascertain the properties associated with the plant, especially regarding long term use.