Safe Use Of Moringa Oleifera With Medication
In our latest question and answer, we discuss the safe use of the botanical product Moringa Oleifera and whether or not it interacts with prescription medication.
Hello, I want to know if you are familiar with a dietary supplement/herb called Moringa Oleifera? I need to know if this Moringa (1 tsp.daily/4 capsules, can be taken with the following daily prescriptions: My Husbands prescriptions: *Omega 3-acid 1 gram capsules *Sertraline 50 mg *Carvedilol 25 mg *Olmesartan Medox/HCTZ 40-25 mg *Metformin 500 mg My prescriptions: *Fenofibrate 165 mg *Triamterene 3.75 mg/HCTZ 25 mg Thank you, Dea Tompkins
Moringa Oleifera (also known as Moringa pterygosperma) is native to the sub-Himalayan areas of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and is widely cultivated. It is utilized in a wide range of applications including in the making of food/food products and is taken orally for reported health benefits. Reported health benefits include improving the symptoms of anemia, arthritis, asthma, constipation, diabetes and blood lipid disorders, to name a few. Topically, moringa is used as an antiseptic and astringent, for wound management.
It's almost impossible to definitely say it does or doesn't interact with the medications you listed as it is a natural, botanical product that has few, if any studies done looking at potential drug interactions. What we usually look at in situations like these, is whether or not the botanical product could negatively affect the disease state those medications treat. For example, we would recommend against a natural product is it worsened blood pressure, and you are taking a blood pressure medication.
The good news is that Moringa has a long history of safety when used in food amounts as the leaves, fruit, and seeds are commonly used.
A few studies on moringa leaf or seed have shown no significant side effects or drug interactions when used in medicinal amounts (up to 3 grams) lasting up to 90 days. You must note that these trials that did not find any safety concerns used only the leaf and seed portion of the plant. Conversely, moringa root or root extract contains spirochin, apotentially toxic alkaloid. I couldn't find any studies regarding the safety of taking root extract orally and it would be best to avoid based on a lack of data.
Also, it should not be used during pregnancy. Historically, moringa root bark and extract have been used to induce abortion by causing contractions of the uterus. It is unknown if this actually does occur, but again, it would be best to avoid based on the lack of data.
Based on your question, it looks like we are dealing with a few disease states:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
From on those disease states, there are some precautions we need to take into consideration based on what we know about the effects of moringa:
- Diabetes: Research in animals shows that moringa can lower blood glucose levels. I could not find any studies in humans. Due to this glucose lowering, there is the potential of moringa having an additive effect on the diabetes medication currently prescribed. This could potentially increase the risk of hypoglycemia. This is one of those situations where it looks like there could be some benefit (due to glucose lowering), but may also be somewhat unsafe due to the risk of dropping blood sugar too low.
- Hypertension: Research shows that morgina may be beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Just like the effect on blood glucose, this may be both a positive and a negative as there is the risk of having your blood pressure drop too low, causing hypotension.
Lastly, there is some evidence that moringa can inhibit certain metabolizing enzymes in the body, namely an enzyme known as cytochrome P450 3A4. This could potentially increase certain drugs levels, increasing the risk of side effects. There just isn't enough data however to be sure whether or not there would be a problem with the drugs you listed.
Whenever you are considering taking an natural, botanical product in addition to your prescribed medication, it is always highly recommended that you speak with your doctor. It is important they have your complete medical and medication history so they can properly assess your health situation. Morgina does have a long history of safe use as a culinary component and as a medicinal product for short term use, but you should still speak with your doctor regarding your potential use so they may provide you an appropriate recommendation.
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