Moringa or Shevga is an ancient Vedic tree. In Vedas, Brahmanas and Puranas, it is mentioned as a healthy food. Its leafy vegetables were favorite food of lord Krishna, so till today on Krishna Jayanti (Lord Krishna’s Birthday) people are making vegetable from Shevaga leaves.

By Dr. Bharat Vaidya B.A.M.S., M.D.

Owner and Founder of Ayurved Sadhana

Moringa Pterygosperma, Sigru or Shevga:

One of the trees which I saw growing in our backyard in Mumbai since childhood was Moringa or as we used to called as Shevga. Now the same tree is 4 stories tall and still after 40 years giving the fruits which are pods or beans. The vegetable from leaves and soup made with dal and Moringa’s pods are still one of the favorite dishes in our house hold till now. Some other names of Moringa are Sigru, Saragvo, Shevga, Shengta, Munaga or Drumstick plant. As per traditional Ayurveda, all parts of this plant were used either as food, oil, or medicine, but now a days, most of the time its pods or beans and leaves are used in food dishes.

Interesting Ethnobotany:

Moringa or Shevga is an ancient Vedic tree. In Vedas, Brahmanas and Puranas, it is mentioned as a healthy food. Its leafy vegetables were favorite food of lord Krishna, so till today on Krishna Jayanti (Lord Krishna’s Birthday) people are making vegetable from Shevaga leaves. Charak has mentioned this plant as used in destroying parasites or worms (Krumighna), helping in fomentation (Swedopag), and throwing out unwanted toxins and metabolites (Shiro Virechan). Raj Nighantukar has mentioned three flowers varieties of this plant white, red and blue but we hardly find red or blue now.

Sir James Watt writes in his Ayurvedic Botanical Dictionary in 1889, “From seeds of this valuable plant, we get very pure and high-class oil. In market, it is known as Ben oil. This oil can be used to repair and maintain delicate machinery or swiss watches. Its oil can be used to make an excellent perfume as oil is fragrant, and it can be preserved for long times”.

Root: Moringa’s root is highly valuable to cure enlargement of liver and blisters in children (Surgeon W. Forsyth, Dinajpur). Root bark of Shevaga is hot like mustard seeds and can be used to apply on inflammation and in any Vata diseases with success. Hence, its root is excellent medicine in paralysis, epilepsy, and hysteria.

Bark: The decoction of its bark is drug of choice in liver diseases and inflammation. Its bark with cumin and rice water is best for gargling and pulling to prevent gum or other diseases of oral cavity.

Resin: In inflammation of any glands, its resin works wonder (Assistant Surgeon Bhattacharya, Chanda). The resin which comes out of this tree can be used in toothache (Dr. Popat Prabhuram, Mumbai).

Flowers: Flowers of Moringa plant is hot, spicy and wormicidal. Its flowers are strength giver and can be given to improve the immunity before or during the cold (Civil Surgeon D. Basu, Faridpur). Shevaga’s flowers boiled with milk is best rejuvenative medicine and increases immunity tenfold (Surgeon D. R. Mudliar, Chingalpat).

Leaves: The paste of Moringa’s leaves, two cloves of garlic, turmeric, little bit of rock salt, cumin and hing can be applied on wounds and biting by dogs or can be taken internally. Within 4 to 5 days, wounds heal (Surgeon Major Thompson, Madras). This plant is excellent digestive (Agni Deepak). If person is not feeling hungry, then vegetable from its leaves is the best food to consume.  The Moringa destroys Vata or air element in the body. If there is excessive gas or pain in the G.I. tract, its leaves’ vegetable works best (Vaidya Sathe Mumbai, Prabhuram Ayurvedic College, Mumbai, India).

Seeds: Its seeds crushed with black paper can be sniffed in headaches and migraines (Vaidya Rughnath Indraji, 1899).

Pods: Moringa’s pod or Drumsticks are pungent and bitter. Drumstick pods uncooked are sweet and little bitter and with salt, they are sweet, bitter, and salty.

It is also wonderful to see that how God has created so many plants around us which are useful and depending on the shape and structure, we can deduce in which disease prevention we can use it which is called as Signature of Almighty in Ethnobotany. The marrow from Moringa’s Pod resembles bone human marrow and hence, it is used since childhood for growth of children and continued in adulthood. In my home, we will have at least 3 to 4 times in week the dal or soup with Moringa’s pod or drumsticks which is very delicious and its fun to eat the marrow along with seeds inside.

External and Internal Uses:

  • External uses: The paste of bark or leaves can be applied locally to reduce swelling and inflammation. The poultice made from the paste of Shevga’s leaves and sesame seeds by adding ghee works the best for wounds.
  • Digestive system: It is excellent digestive or agni kindler as it is sharp and has hot properties, especially vegetable from leaves are best. Pods helps motility and even strengthens G.I. lining. This vegetable helps to kill bad microniz gut bacteria and replace it with healthy one.
  • Circulatory system: It helps blood circulation in arteries and veins due to its hot properties, support heart health and when combined with dry ginger, it also helps to remove vitiated Vata.
  • Nervous system: It is best bone marrow (Majja) tonic and thus helps nervous system. It is excellent nervine stimulant and hence its pods and leaves dishes are used since childhood as brain tonics.
  • Respiratory system: Moringa destroys Kapha and Vata. Hence, it is useful in Asthma or Pneumonia. Its seeds powder can be used in Shirodhara and Shiro Virechana.
  • Reproductive system: It is very potent stimulant of reproductive system, so it was used as a abortive or miscarriages. Hence, it is contraindicated during pregnancy. It is excellent anti-inflammatory, hence used in scanty menstruation and painful menstruation.
  • Skin: Its decoction internally is best anti-inflammatory and works through G.I. tract, Plasma and Blood.
  • In Cirrhosis of spleen, Moringa’s decoction mixed with Pippali, Rock salt and Chitrak works best. In internal cysts, its root juice with honey works best.

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