The A-Z of Indian Superfoods: Drumstick

Drumsticks are fruits of the Moringa plant that have long been used in the Indian diet. Only recently has it caught the world’s eye as an exceptional superfood for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

By Dr. Lakshmi K
25 Jul 2021

Drumstick or Moringa oleifera, a small native tree of the sub-Himalayan regions of northwest India, is also known as “the miracle tree”. Its leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, seed oil, bark, and roots are known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties.

It is widely used in traditional phytomedicine (??herbal medicine with therapeutic and healing properties). Numerous studies back the incredible medicinal properties of (moringa) drumsticks. Drumsticks have been used therapeutically in ancient medicine for their antimicrobial, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and for their ability to protect the heart, liver and brain function.

Nutritionally, drumsticks are rich in essential vitamins ( Vitamin C, A, B and K), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium) and amino acids. It is also abundant in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants such as flavonoids, ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolics.


Benefits Of Drumsticks

Protect cardiac health

Naturally, occurring antioxidants called polyphenols are plant compounds that decrease oxidative damage in tissues. These specific antioxidants found in drumsticks are known for their ability to boost immunity, protect cardiac health, and improve blood circulation. Besides that, moringa is known for its anti-epileptic, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, antihypertensive (high blood pressure) effects.


Slow the growth of certain cancers
Studies also show that compounds in moringa leaf slow the growth of pancreatic cancer. Moringa has the potential therapeutic ability to fight cancer, studies suggest that it is a chemo-preventive agent as it decreases the incidence of tumours multiplying.


Improve blood sugar control
Drumsticks are well known for their pharmacological action in the treatment of diabetes. Studies show that it has insulin-like properties that can improve how the body processes sugar. Research on rodents found that extracts of dried drumstick powder produce N-benzyl compounds that trigger pancreatic cells to release insulin. Moringa has chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and allow cells to take up or release glucose (sugar) as needed.


Slow ageing and balance hormones
Drumsticks have been shown to slow down the effects of ageing. A study published in the Journal of Food Science And Technology tested the action of moringa along with amaranth leaves on the level of inflammation and oxidative stress in menopausal adult women, results showed a significant increase in antioxidant status with a decrease in markers of oxidative stress and better-fasting blood glucose control.


Eliminate infections and toxins
In Ayurveda, drumsticks have been used therapeutically to treat stomach ulcers, liver disease, kidney disease, yeast infections, and fungal infections. Moringa oil helps in improving liver function by detoxifying heavy metal toxins. It also helps with kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, fluid retention, and diarrhoea.


Manage hormonal weight gain
Since drumsticks have properties to improve insulin sensitivity and hormone balance, it indirectly offers an advantage to those with diabetes or polycystic ovaries. You can add moringa powder to your smoothies in the morning or drumstick fruits to your soups or sambar. Moringa powder can also be added to multigrain rotis.


Boost mood and energy
Moringa is a high-protein food that is a rich source of the amino acid, tryptophan. It acts as a neurotransmitter that helps produce the feel-good hormone, serotonin. It is also rich in compounds that improve thyroid health which in turn helps in maintaining high energy levels, fight fatigue, depression, low libido, mood swings, and insomnia.


But, Consume With Caution
Avoid moringa alongside any drugs that lower blood pressure. Do not consume along with thyroid medicine like levothyroxine since the compounds in moringa aid in thyroid function.
If you are on medication for diabetes or prediabetes, ensure that your blood sugar levels do not drop too low.


Ways To Add Drumsticks Or Moringa Powder To Your Diet.


Green Moringa Smoothie
You’ll need a teaspoon of moringa or drumstick powder, half a glass of milk of your choice, two tablespoons of pineapple, and a bunch of spinach. Just blend and drink to start your day with an iron and Vitamin C-rich treat.


Drumstick Dip
Boil six drumsticks, remove the flesh and grind with a sprig of parsley, add half a teaspoon of pepper, one tablespoon of olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt to taste. Serve with toast or pita bread.


Moringa Raita
Heat one teaspoon coconut oil, add half a teaspoon of jeera seeds. Let seeds sputter in the oil. Add one green chili, one cup of tender drumstick leaves and salt. Sauté for a few seconds until drumstick leaves shrink. Cool the mixture before adding to a cup of yoghurt. Whisk the yoghurt in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed drumstick leaves, mix in black salt and black pepper powder. Serve chilled.



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