Consumption of Moringa oleifera leaves during pregnancy could cause congenital deformities, a recent study published in the Italian Journal of Anatomy And Embryology has found.
Moringa oleifera is a plant that is often called the “drumstick tree”, “the miracle tree”, “the ben oil tree”, or “the horseradish tree” used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits
A study carried out by medical practitioners in the Departments of Anatomy and Surgery, University of Ibadan, used a total number of 20 pregnant rats of Wistar strain, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Prof. Adefolarin Malomo, a Consultant Neurosurgeon, who conducted the study with other doctors, including Dr Foluso Atiba and Dr Innocent Imosemi, said that the study was entitled “Noxious effect of Moringa oleifera leave extract on the developing brain, morphology and behaviour of Wistar rat”.
The study warned that the consumption of Moringa oleifera otherwise known as “moringa” could affect the body, brain and cerebral of newborns.
Maloma said that the pregnant rats used in the study were divided into two groups of 10 animals per group.
“Group one animals received distilled water and served as control animals, while group two animals received 200 mg/kg body weight of Moringa oleifera leave extract orally.
“All the animals were provided with rat cubes and water and libitum during pregnancy and lactation.
“After birth, some congenital malformations such as meromelia, phocomelia and amelia were observed in the pups of Moringa oleifera group only.
“The behaviour of the rats was significantly worse in the Moringa oleifera group, especially in the area of motor function,” he said.
“This study suggests that M. Oleifera may be embryotoxic as well as teratogenic in animals,” he said.
NAN reports that moringa often referred to as the miracle seed among Nigerians, is believed to have healing properties that can cure various illnesses.
Owing to its perceived diverse health benefits, moringa business is one of the fastest growing agribusinesses in the country.