Foods/Supplements-Vitamins: Moringa Oleifera

I wouldn't normally have posted on Moringa Oleifera, because there is a paucity of PCa data [2] [3]. But there are 41 PubMed hits for <"Moringa oleifera" cancer>, albeit only 4 having an in vivo component.

I have researched natural substances for a number of cancers, since I live in a newish subdivision with many retirees who have fled Florida for the more temperate climate of the mountains of western NC, but arrived with soon to be detected cancer. The odd thing is that all the cancers have been different - & not one of them breast cancer. Something I think about when everyone is wearing pink.

But in each case, there wasn't much of anything in PubMed. Whereas, dozens of phytochemicals have been investigated in PCa research. With so many readily available online, I didn't come to this project (thanks Nalakrats!) with much expectation.

[1] Moringa Oleifera. aka drumstick tree; horseradish tree.

"It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables."

The fact that it is widely used as food implies a certain degree of safety.

[2] (2011, Nigeria) "Nigerian foodstuffs with prostate cancer chemopreventive polyphenols"

"Chlorogenic acid, rutin, quercetin glucoside, kaempferol rhamnoglucoside, procyanidins"

A bit flimsy. No mention of PCa cell lines in this in vitro study. Not really a PCa study. More a hypothesis.

[3] (2015 - Egypt) "In Vitro Anticancer Activities of Anogeissus latifolia, Terminalia bellerica, Acacia catechu and Moringa oleiferna Indian Plants."

PC-3 PCa cells included in the nine cell lines tested. The abstract says nothing about moringa + PC-3.

That's it for studies that mention PCa.

[4] Glucosinolates.

I'm familiar with this topic because all of the chemicals from cruciferous vegetables in PCa studies are glucosinolates. The important thing to remember is that glucosinolates are inactive. They exist in a cellular compartment, with the activating enzyme, Myrosinase, in another. Cells must be chewed or pureed, etc, to bring the two together. The myrosinase cleaves the glucose element from the glucosinolate, thereby activating the desirable chemicals: DIM, sulforaphane & PEITC.

The catch - cooking destroys myrosinase.

One researcher has suggested adding raw grated horseradish to cooked broccoli.

Horseradish is in the cruciferous family. Moringa oleifera is not, in spite of it being the "horseradish tree". It's root tastes like horseradish.

[4a] "The glucosinolates are natural components of many pungent plants such as mustard, cabbage, and horseradish. The pungency of those plants is due to mustard oils produced from glucosinolates when the plant material is chewed, cut, or otherwise damaged. These natural chemicals most likely contribute to plant defence against pests and diseases, but are also enjoyed in small amounts by humans and are believed to contribute to the health promoting properties of cruciferous vegetables."

[4b] "Myrosinase ... is a family of enzymes involved in plant defense against herbivores."

"A member of the glycoside hydrolase family, ... myrosinase is the only known enzyme found in nature that can cleave a thio-linked glucose. Its known biological function is to catalyze the hydrolysis of a class of compounds called glucosinolates."

[4c] (2003 - Johns Hopkins)

Describes: "The separation and purification of glucosinolates from a variety of plant sources (e.g. seeds of broccoli, arugula and the horseradish tree)" ...

[4d] (2016 - Italy/France)

"Isothiocyanates (ITCs) released from their glucosinolate precursors have been shown to inhibit tumorigenesis and they have received significant attention as potential chemotherapeutic agents against cancer. Astrocytoma grade IV is the most frequent and most malignant primary brain tumor in adults without any curative treatment. New therapeutic drugs are therefore urgently required. In the present study, we investigated the in vitro antitumor activity of the glycosylated isothiocyanate moringin ... produced from quantitative myrosinase-induced hydrolysis of glucomoringin ..."

"Moringin showed to be effective in inducing apoptosis ..." "Our in vitro results demonstrated the antitumor efficacy of moringin derived from myrosinase-hydrolysis of {glucomoringin} in human malignant astrocytoma cells."

[4e] (2016 - Germany/Italy)

"Sulforaphane (SFN) and moringin (GMG-ITC) are edible isothiocyanates present as glucosinolate precursors in cruciferous vegetables and in the plant Moringa oleifera respectively, and recognized for their chemopreventive and medicinal properties. In contrast to the well-studied SFN, little is known about the molecular pathways targeted by GMG-ITC. We investigated the ability of GMG-ITC to inhibit essential signaling pathways that are frequently upregulated in cancer and immune disorders, such as JAK/STAT and NF-κB. "

"This work ... identified STAT5, and to a lesser extent STAT1/STAT2, as novel targets of moringin. It also contributes to a better understanding of the biological activities of the dietary isothiocyanates GMG-ITC and SFN and further supports their apparent beneficial role in the prevention of chronic illnesses such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and immune disorders."

[5] (2007 - India)

"the only herb that has been shown to play a role in the treatment of female reproductive disorders is Moringa oleifera Lam., whose effectiveness is derived from a combination of antitumor and hormonal properties. Although the name “Shigon” for M oleifera is mentioned in the “Shushruta Sanhita” of India, which was written in the beginning of the first century AD, there is evidence that the cultivation of this tree in India dates back many thousands of years. Moringa oleifera Lam. contains a unique combination of isothiocyanate and glucosinolates. The effectiveness of the moringa plant in treating ovarian cancer became evident after the publication of recent studies demonstrating that benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) induce apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells in vitro. We knew that isothiocyanates have antitumor activity in cancers of the lung, breast, skin, esophagus, and pancreas, but we did not know that it can also induce apoptosis in ovarian cancer cell in vitro."

"With regard to the female reproductive system, Moringa oleifera root is shown to have unique estrogenic, antiestrogenic, progestational, and antiprogestational activities. Root-bark yields 2 alkaloids: moringine and moringinine. Moringinine acts as a cardiac stimulant, produces a rise in blood pressure, acts on sympathetic nerve endings as well as smooth muscles throughout the body, and depresses the sympathetic motor fibers of vessels in large doses only. M oleifera confers significant radiation protection as well."

"A hormonal etiology of epithelial ovarian cancer has long been suspected, and now the role of FSHR has also been demonstrated. Moringa oleifera can interfere with hormone receptor-related and neoplastic growth-related cytokine pathways via centrally acting mechanisms."

[6] (2011 - Singapore)

"... these findings suggest that the leaf extracts from M. oleifera had strong antiproliferation and potent induction of apoptosis."

[7] (2011 - Thailand)

"Moringa oleifera Lam (horseradish tree; tender pod or fruits) is a major ingredient in Thai cuisine and has some medicinal properties."

"The findings suggest that M. oleifera Lam pod exerts suppressive effects in a colitis-related colon carcinogenesis model induced by AOM/DSS and could serve as a chemopreventive agent."

[8] (2010 - Nigeria)

"The high antioxidant/radical scavenging effects observed for different parts of M. oleifera appear to provide justification for their widespread therapeutic use in traditional medicine in different continents. The possibility that this high antioxidant/radical scavenging capacity may impact on the cancer chemopreventive potential of the plant must be considered."

In PCa, we use phytochemicals that are dietary antioxidants, at doses that are pro-oxidant. It is therefore a concern when an antioxidant (e.g. alpha lipoic acid) continues to act as an antioxidant at highish doses. Standard cancer treatments usually kill cells by inducing reactive oxygen species [ROS]. It is pointless to mix oxidant & antioxidant agents.

However, [6] reported:

"{Moringa oleifera leaf extract} at various concentrations was found to induce ROS production suggesting modulation of redox-sensitive mechanism."

[9] (2013 - Israel)

"Fewer than 6% patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas live up to five years after diagnosis. Chemotherapy is currently the standard treatment, however, these tumors often develop drug resistance over time. Agents for increasing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy or reducing the cancer cells' chemo-resistance to the drugs are required to improve treatment outcome. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), a pro-inflammatory transcription factor, reportedly plays a significant role in the resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to apoptosis-based chemotherapy. This study investigated the effect of aqueous Moringa Oleifera leaf extract on cultured human pancreatic cancer cells - Panc-1, p34, and COLO 357, and whether it can potentiates the effect of cisplatin chemotherapy on these cells."

"Moringa Oleifera leaf extract inhibited the growth of all pancreatic cell lines tested. This effect was significant in all cells following exposure to ≥0.75 mg/ml of the extract. Exposure of Panc-1 cells to Moringa leaf extract induced an elevation in the sub-G1 cell population of the cell-cycle, and reduced the expression of p65, p-IkBα and IkBα proteins in crude cell extracts. Lastly, Moringa Oleifera leaf extract synergistically enhanced the cytotoxic effect of cisplatin on Panc-1 cells."

[10] (2013 - South Africa)

"This study investigated the antiproliferative effect of MO {Moringa oleifera} leaf extract (MOE) in cancerous A549 lung cells."

"MOE exerts antiproliferative effects in A549 lung cells by increasing oxidative stress, DNA fragmentation and inducing apoptosis."

[11] (2014 - Iran)

"... leaf extracts of M. oleifera significantly decreased the viability of Hela {tumor} cells in a concentration-dependent manner."

[12] (2015 - Saudi Arabia)

"... suggests that the anti-cancer properties of Moringa oleifera could be attributed to the bioactive compounds present in the extracts from this plant. This is a novel study because no report has yet been cited on the effectiveness of Moringa extracts obtained in the locally grown environment as an anti-cancer agent against breast and colorectal cancers. Our study is the first of its kind to evaluate the anti-malignant properties of Moringa not only in leaves but also in bark. These findings suggest that both the leaf and bark extracts of Moringa collected from the Saudi Arabian region possess anti-cancer activity that can be used to develop new drugs for treatment of breast and colorectal cancers."

[13] (2015 - Korea)

"It has previously been reported that cold water-extracts of Moringa oleifera leaf have anticancer activity against various human cancer cell lines, including non-small cell lung cancer. In the present study, the anticancer activity of M. oleifera leaf extracts was investigated in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells."

"... it was demonstrated that M. oleifera leaf extracts induce the apoptosis of HepG2 cells."


The Moringa oleifera cancer literature seems to be in its infancy & is literally all over the map at present. MO extracts are more likely to be of interest to those with the types of cancer cells studied, rather than men with PCa, IMO.

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14 Replies

  • Patrick, I hope you will be doing one of these on Neem Leaf extract. (It is the reason behind, I continue to believe, my former 2+ years-and-unheard-of-by-Mayo "bicalutamide withdrawal response.")

  • RJ

    What is bicalutamide withdrawal response


  • I had been doing a combined androgen blockade of Lupron plus bicalutamide, which suppressed my PSA rise for some months. Then, when it began rising again, my oncologist had me drop the bicalutamide (keeping on with the Lupron) and said that a small % of men saw a 2-3 month drop in PSA. If so, it would buy time before moving on to more cytotoxic treatments. My PSA plummeted and remained "undetectable" for more than two years. Mayo oncology was both happy and impressed; my oncologist often declared she had never seen such a lengthy response. My understanding is that there is no test currently available that might help determine who would benefit, but I think most men who fail with a combined androgen blockade would be dropping the bicalutamide anyway.

  • It's interesting that 2 of the 4 PCa studies that I cite in my new Neem post are from a Mayo lab.


  • Thank you for your research, Patrick! I did have Kohli as my first oncologist, but I was transferred to another in 2011 as I prepared to begin Sipuleucel-T immunotherapy. As we prepared for that procedure I dropped bicalutamide; I also self-started on neem leaf extract that same day (unrelated ... had been reading about it and thought I'd give it a try). I wrote above about a 2+ year long "bicalutamide-withdrawal response," although it may have had as much to do with the neem leaf as with the no bicalutamide. Official diagnosis, of course, could only deal with the "BWR" and would not even write down the neem leaf.

    My current clinical trial at the NIH (enzalutamide plus Prostvac-Tricom) forced my going off the neem leaf, but as I near the end of this trial I am considering starting on it again.

  • Patrich,

    Did I miss that post, Neem?


  • RJ,

    What was the dose for the leaf extract that you took, and was it an oil or a capsule? Where did you purchase it?

    Thank you.

    A member of the Reluctant Brotherhood,


  • Sorry, Big Rich, away from my computer for 3 weeks. I found my supply at a local Health Food Store - eyedropper kind of bottle. It came from a company in WI named NeemAura, website: They have many products and neem information.

    But for this discussion ... There are 2 extracts, a 1:15 herb to menstruum ratio and a 1:5 ratio. I used the 1:5 ratio. I took 7 drops in a small glass of water in the morning and 5 drops in the evening. There was a taste, but it was not all that bad.

  • Thank you for the reply. I am thinking about taking Provenge. What did you experience regarding side effects and validity; in otherwords, was it worth the effort. Did it slow down the beast.


  • I remember no real side effects with Provenge ... perhaps a light flu-like day after the re-infusion, but nothing that I really recall. My 3rd shipment got overlooked at LAX and arrived an hour late, so that one got cancelled and I had to have a 4th leukapharesis a week later. The whole process did NOT slow down PSA's rise at all, but my oncologist advised me that it probably wouldn't. Still, no one, and I mean no one, really knows if it may still be working alongside my enzalutamide and Prostvac-Tricom clinical trial. I have no idea.

    The biggest issue for me, since my arm veins were not suitable, was the installation of a Palindrome double-barreled catheter that was buried in my chest wall and then inserted into a neck vein to descend close to the heart. It's insertion, then daily care for the duration, and its removal are no little things.

  • Could they ascertain whether the veins in the subject's arms were suitable before their transfusion treatment began?


  • Yes, it's part of the prep work. (It's a significant enough procedure to insert said catheter that it wouldn't be done spontaneously.)

  • Thank you for the reply.


  • I too would like Patrich to do a Neem Leaf extract tutorial.