Moringa oil is extracted from the moringa oleifera plant, and can be produced in different ways. For pharmaceutical purposes, moringa seeds are mechanically pressed in a cold-pressing process. For this, the oil is extracted from whole mature moringa seeds with a press, the degree of extraction being dependent on the capacity of the press and the inlet temperature of the seed. In the press type, the oil reaches a temperature of between 30 to 40 °C. The cloudy oil is filtered to remove fine particles. Additional levels of purification can be efficiently included. As an alternative purification system, the oil is left in storage long enough for the solids to settle and then removed by decanting. For technical reasons, on the other hand, hot pressing, which does not exceed 55°C, is used. For this purpose, the moringa seeds are first preheated very gently in a special heat conditioner and then pressed with a screw press. This makes it possible to maximise the degree of extraction without altering the quality of the oil or cake resulting from the process. Press cakes can also increase the oil yield by undergoing solvent extraction, if required by the customer. The resulting oil is pure and, depending on the use, may need to undergo a specific further refining process or step.
Characteristics and shelf life
Depending on the production method, cold-pressed in-shell moringa oil is pale yellow or greenish in colour and has a mild, pleasant smell, a light perfumed odour and is described as herbaceous-floral. It is rich in oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid), linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid), antioxidants such as vitamin E, and beneficial phytochemicals such as isothiocyanates.
Cold-pressed oil contains high levels of β-sitosterol (up to 50.07%), stigmasterol (up to 17.27%) and campesterol (up to 15.13%). Moringa oil has a flash point of around 250°C and a boiling point of over 225°C, which makes it difficult to ignite. The solidification point is around -25°C and the melting point is between 18.9°C and 19°C.
The shelf life of moringa oil can vary depending on several factors, such as the quality of the oil, the way it is processed and stored. However, under the right conditions, moringa oil usually has a relatively long shelf life of 1-2 years. To prolong shelf life, it should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat. A cool, dark place is ideal to prevent oxidation. Store in an opaque, airtight container to protect from light and air.
Pharmaceutical and medical uses
Moringa oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties for skin and hair. It has also been traditionally used in herbal medicine for various applications.
In the pharmaceutical industry, moringa oil is used as a base for the formulation of medicines and dietary supplements due to its health-promoting properties, such as its antioxidant and oleic acid content.
Moringa oil is used in the manufacture of industrial chemicals, such as lubricants and machine oils, due to its lubricating capacity and resistance to oxidation.
Moringa oil is used in the manufacture of cosmetic and personal care products, such as moisturisers, lotions, shampoos, conditioners and soaps. Its high content of oleic acid and antioxidants makes it beneficial for skin and hair.
In the kitchen
It is used in the food industry for food products such as salad dressings, sauces, margarines and baked goods. Moringa oil is known for its healthy fatty acid profile and its ability to resist oxidation.
In folk medicine
Moringa oil has been used in folk medicine in various cultures for centuries because of its potential health benefits. Some of the traditional and popular uses of moringa oil in medicine include:
- skin care: moringa oil is used topically to treat skin conditions such as rashes, acne, minor burns and insect bites due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also used as a moisturiser to hydrate and soothe the skin.
- Hair and scalp: It is applied to the hair and scalp to promote hair growth, improve scalp health and prevent dryness and dandruff.
- Relief of pain and inflammation: In some cultures, moringa oil is used internally or massaged into sore areas to relieve muscle and joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to this effect.
- Digestive health: It is believed that moringa oil may help digestive problems, such as constipation, due to its oleic acid content and natural laxative properties.
- Immune boosting: In some traditions, it is used as a tonic to strengthen the immune system due to its antioxidant content and essential nutrients.
- Wound treatment: Moringa oil has been used to clean and disinfect minor wounds and cuts due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Blood pressure control: Its potential effect on lowering blood pressure has been studied, and some people use it to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
In addition to its general use in natural medicine, moringa oil has been used specifically in Ayurvedic medicine, a system of traditional medicine that originated in India many centuries ago, because of its potential health-promoting properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, moringa oil is used in various forms and various therapeutic uses are attributed to it, including:
- Body massage: Moringa oil is commonly used in Ayurvedic massages to soothe and relax muscles, relieve stress and improve blood circulation. It is believed that massage with moringa oil can help balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) in the Ayurvedic system.
- Relief of nasal congestion: In Ayurvedic medicine, moringa oil is sometimes used in the practice of Nasya, which involves the application of oil into the nostrils to relieve congestion, improve breathing and promote mental clarity.
- General health promotion: Moringa oil is considered a general health tonic in Ayurvedic medicine due to its essential nutrient content.
In veterinary medicine
Moringa oil has also been used in veterinary medicine because of its potential health benefits for animals. Some of the uses in veterinary medicine include:
- nutritional supplement: Moringa oil is used as a nutritional supplement for animals, especially poultry and livestock. It is a source of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and protein, and is used to improve the general health and performance of animals. Press cakes are particularly useful for supplementing animal feeds.
- Improved coat quality: Moringa oil has been used to improve coat quality in pets such as dogs and cats. It is believed that the nutrients in the oil may contribute to a healthier and shinier coat. Press cakes may be an interesting alternative for pet food, in moderate amounts.
- Immune system support: As in folk medicine for humans, moringa oil is used in animals to strengthen their immune system and aid in disease prevention.
- Treatment of skin problems: Moringa oil is applied topically on animals to treat skin problems such as irritations, insect bites and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help in healing and relieving discomfort.
- Parasite control: Some studies have investigated the potential of moringa oil to help control internal parasites in animals.
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In addition to our own knowledge gained through testing on our presses, the following sources were used to create the article:
- Öle, natürlich kaltgepresst, Basiswissen & Rezepte, Marcus Hartmann, Hädecke, 2008
- Heilende Öle, Pflanzenöle als Nahrungs- und Heilmittel, Neue Erkenntnisse, Günter Albert Ulmer Verlag Tuningen
- Lexikon der pflanzlichen Fette und Öle, Krist, Buchbauer, Klausberger, SpringerWienNewYork, 2008