Although moringa oil—an incredibly antioxidant-rich, versatile oil from the moringa tree—was used by the Greeks and Romans, it’s still considered exotic and unfamiliar to many. Its leaves, pods, and wood have been prized for millennia (it’s herbal benefits were first described in written documentation in 2000 BC), but many benefits of this plant are rather new to modern audiences. Some use moringa leaf as a dietary supplement, while others treasure the oil for skincare or culinary purposes. Read on for a Nutritional Aesthetics® look at this exceptional carrier oil—one that has become one of our very favorites for skin health!

History of moringa oil

Moringa oil is pressed from the kernels found in pods of the Moringa oleifera tree, a heat-loving tree that grows in arid and tropical climates. It’s native to native to Northern India, but is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is also known as ‘ben oil’  or ‘behen oil,’ due to its high content of behenic acid. Behenic acid is a naturally occurring essential fatty acid with excellent skin conditioning and cleansing benefits. Moringa oil can be used topically by itself for skin and hair, but is also a commonly used carrier oil in ancient and traditional Ayurvedic, Mediterranean, and North African herbal remedies, in addition to its use as a perfume base due to its long shelf life. As a culinary oil, moringa has similar benefits to olive oil.

Why choose moringa oil?

Moringa oil has many properties that make it attractive as an anti-aging, skin-healing, blemish-clearing treatment. It’s naturally rich in the cytokinin zeatin, known for stimulating cell division, growth, and delaying cells aging, as well as the fatty acids oleic, behenic, and linoleic acid, which prevent dryness and cracking. It’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and packed with antioxidants, which give it an exceptionally long shelf life of up to five years when stored properly.

For many, this oil is lightweight, and quick to absorb into the skin. It helps seal in hydration for barrier-compromised skin, but tends not to leave an oily film. Its rapid absorption rate and its antimicrobial properties make it an effective choice for cleansing beauty products that are rinsed off the skin, such as soaps and shampoos. Anecdotally, vitamin C-rich moringa oil is said to fade scars, even skin tone, and reduce blemishes when used as a cleanser or treatment. It’s also touted for its benefits to hair and scalp health.

What to consider when using moringa oil

It’s especially important to purchase your moringa oil from a reputable source. Due to the high cost and desirability of moringa oil, there is a considerable incidence of diluted and counterfeit oils. Look for fair trade suppliers, and give preference to cold pressed oil to preserve its antioxidant content. If you plan to use your moringa oil for culinary purposes, be sure to purchase a food grade oil. Cosmetic grade moringa oil is fine for topical use.


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