Moringa oil is extracted from the seeds of Moringa oleifera, also known as the Drumstick tree. Moringa oil has got a special name, it is Ben oil. It is called so because it has high amounts of behenic acid. Moringa oil has been mentioned as a very useful oil in the medicinal books of Greece and Rome. Even today, this oil is used for a number of industrial applications. It is great for topical use on the skin and the hair. It is also a nice cooking oil with a soft, appealing taste.
Moringa oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of Moringa oleifera. This tree is native to the Himalayan foothills. This tree grows long pods which contain seeds. It is quite nutritious. The nutrition of moringa leaves is even superior to the highly nutritious vegetables like spinach. Its seeds are also quite nutritious as they contain high levels of B vitamins and Vitamin C. The oil can be extracted either by cold pressed method, or by solvent extraction . In olden times, it was extracted using hand pressing.
There are many varieties of Moringa oil, depending on the variety of Moringa tree from which the oil is extracted. Oil taken from different locations has slight differences in nutrition and properties, like India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Malawi and other parts of Africa. Other species in the genus Moringa are also used to make moringa oil, but they are not Ben oil. This is especially reserved for Moringa oleifera oil.
( Photo credit : Krish Dulal )
The organic Moringa seed oil should not contain harmful solvents like hexane.
Moringa oil is also known as Ben Oil, Behen Oil.
Moringa oil exerts many therapeutic properties because of its unique nutrition.
- Antioxidant – Ben oil has strong antioxidant capacity. 
- Anti-inflammatory – The oil reduces inflammation both topically and internally.
- Anti-aging – The oil provides nutrition to our skin and relieves aging signs.
- Anti-microbial – It is traditionally used in Sudan to purify water and is shown to reduce bacterial counts. 
- Disinfectant – can be used to treat wounds.
- Carrier – It is excellent carrier oil for aromatic compounds.
- Hepatoprotective – Moringa oil protects the liver from damage. 
- Emollient – Moringa oil is a great moisturizer for the skin.
- Preservative – This oil resists rancidity and also used as preservative in certain products.
- Exfoliant – drives away dead skin cells.
- Enfleurage – Moringa oil absorbs the aroma of essential oils and other fragrat compounds like herbs, nuts, seeds, spices and chemicals. This makes it the perfect perfume base.
Color, Taste and Aroma
Ben oil is light yellow in color. It is odorless with a mild taste.
( Photo credit : Marcel blankenstein )
Moringa seed oil offers many health benefits when used on the skin and also when taken internally.
1. Excellent Moisturizer
Ben oil is one of the best moisturizers for the skin. It should be applied to the skin as a massage oil. It imparts glow to the skin and makes it well moisturized, but not too oiled. This oil is absorbed well into the skin, making it a nice ingredient in many home made cosmetic products. This brilliant moisturization effects is because of very high amount of omega- 9 fatty acid ( oleic acid ) in moringa oil. It also makes the skin quite smooth, because of the behenic acid in it. Behenic acid is used in many products for its ability to smooth the skin and condition hair. This oil slips easily on the skin and spreads well.
2. Other Benefits for Skin
Besides moisturization, moringa oil can do a lot more for your skin.
- Moringa oil pacifies dry skin. It is helpful in dry, irritated skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. 
- Acne – Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, moringa seed oil can be used as a spot treatment for acne. It also aids the body in healing acne scars.
- It adds gloss to the skin, which may be needed sometimes, especially when the weather is dry.
- It can be applied over scars left behind by wounds, scrapes, bruises and burns. Moringa oil mixed with tamanu oil is a powerful scar diminishing formula.
- Fungal infections – Moringa oil can deal with certain fungal infections because it contains anti-fungal activity. One can use it on ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch.
- Anti-Aging – Regular application of moringa oil reduces the striking appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on the skin It can be combined with an astringent product like aloe vera or witch hazel to make saggy skin taut.
3. Moringa Oil for Hair
It is just as good for the hair as it is for the skin. Moringa oil is a powerful hair conditioner. It should be used as a hot oil conditioner to deal with nearly any hair related problem. The hot oil treatment leaves the hair well moisturized, the hair roots are nourished, dandruff is washed out and there is much less irritation on the scalp. The best result is the conditioning. Hair is manageable and can be combed nicely. It adds shine or gloss to the hair, making them look beautiful.This effect is because of behenic acid in acid. Moringa oil also strengthens hair roots and as such can help with hair loss. It nourishes weak, damaged hair and reduces the lifelessness in them.
4. Liver health
Moringa oil has been identified to improve liver health in people whose liver has received damage due to toxicity. The liver , when it gets damaged releases certain signals regarding the damage. This is monitored using serum ALT and AST levels. This study shows that internal consumption of moringa oil lowered ALT and AST levels in liver damaged by a toxin. As a result, moringa oil can be used to lower the markers of liver damage in people whose liver is damaged by some toxins, viruses like hepatitis B, or certain medication. 
5. As a Rheumatic Oil
Moringa oil is a nice rheumatic oil. It is applied to painful, arthritic joints. It can be use directly, or used as an oil pack, just like castor oil packs. It is effective at reducing swelling and inflammation, which provides relief from the pain in the joints. This can also be used in gout.
6. Management of Hysteria
Moringa oil can be used to calm down hysteria and uncontrolled emotional instability. This is a traditional use for the moringa seed oil.
7. Boosts Gum Health
Massage moringa seed oil onto the gums. It might seem a bit awkward, but its is not irritating as the oil has a mild taste. It relieves gum inflammation and is also helpful in scurvy.
These are some home remedies using moringa oil.
- Sleep Aid – Massage the head with moringa oil with about 3 – 4 drops of lavender essential oil. It reduces irritability and sleeplessness.
- Exfoliating Oil – Mix olive oil and moringa oil in equal amounts. Add some sugar cubes to the oil and rub it on the skin.
- Nail Softener – If one has really strong, powerful nails then they may cause trouble if they become dry and grow awkwardly. Soap them in moringa oil to make nails soft so that they can be easily cut.
- Homemade Perfume – Add favourite essential oil to moringa oil to make home made perfume. Use 2 – 3 drops of this as a perfume.
Moringa seed oil has had lots of uses since it was first extracted. These are some of the prominent industrial and home uses for the Ben oil.
- Soap – Moringa oil is used in soapmaking because of its skin cleansing and moisturizing property.
- Perfume Base – Perhaps the best natural perfume base of all oils. Moringa oil was preferred by people of ancient civilizations. It was used as base for perfumes. Even today, this remains one of the most important commercial application of moringa oil.
- Oiling Machinery – Moringa oil is a preferred oil for lubricating small machine parts, like watches.
- Cooking oil– Moringa oil is a nice cooking oil. It is used for deep frying and sauteing. Its smoke point is about 200 ° C which is good for deep frying purpose. Moringa seed oil is preferred as a salad oil in many places.
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Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
Moringa oil is generally safe to use. It can also be consumed internally. There is no information on the interaction of moringa oil with medication, so consult a doctor regarding this topic.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Moringa seed oil is noted for its nutrition. It is truly unique among many other oils. There are certain nutritional aspects that make this oil incredible for use.
Fatty Acid composition of cold pressed moringa seed oil.
Moringa oil is made up mainly of MUFA ( monounsaturated fatty acids ) and Saturated Fats. It is exceptionally high in oleic acid ( omega-9 ). About 70 % of the oil is oleic acid. This may lead to blood pressure lowering effect, which is similar to what is seen when using olive oil. Oleic acid may also be helpful in preventing multiple sclerosis. Moringa oil is much more known for its high behenic acid content, which may be as high as 9 % in some oil varieties. Behenic acid is the one that lends this oil its ability to condition hair and smooth the skin. However, behenic acid may cause an increase in cholesterol as it is a saturated fat.
|Gamma Linoleic Acid (18:3)||–||PUFA|
|Stearic Acid (18:0)||5.8 %||Saturated fat|
|Palmitic Acid (16:0)||5.4 %||Saturated fat|
|Palmitoleic Acid (16:1)||–||MUFA|
|Oleic Acid (18:1)||67.6 %||MUFA|
|Linoleic Acid (18:2)||0.69 %||PUFA|
|Alpha Linolenic Acid(18:3)||–||PUFA|
|Erucic Acid (22:1)||–||MUFA|
|Gadoleic Acid (20:1)||–||MUFA|
|Behenic Acid (22:0)||6.74 %||Saturated fat|
|Arachidic Acid (20:0)||3.72 %||Saturated fat|
Source : 8
Complete Nutritional Value of Moringa Oil
Moringa oil contains some vitamins, minerals in small amounts. However, the most striking aspect of this oil’ nutrition is the content of flavonoids, phenols and sterols. These are the prominent nutrients in moringa seed oil.
Moringa oil contains three varieties of Vitamin E. That is α-tocopherol (105 mg/kg), ϒ-tocopherol ( 39 mg/kg) and δ-tocopherol (77 mg/kg). Vitamin E tocopherols are strong antioxidants. It protects the skin when applied topically and also boosts the immune system. 
Cold pressed moringa oil contains small amounts of many phytosterol and cholesterol as well. These are the ones that are found in high amounts.
- β – Sitosterol – Reduces cholesterol, strong antioxidant and has shown anti-diabetic activity. 
- Campesterol – Strongly anti-inflammatory and reduces osteoarthritis.
- Stigmasterol – Reduces absorption of cholesterol and lowers blood glucose.
These are antioxidant compounds which exert a protective effect on our body. Even in small amounts, they exert strong health benefits. Flavonoids strengthen the blood vessels and lower inflammatory problems. Total flavonoid content in moringa oil is 18 mg RAE per gm.
Chemical properties of Moringa Oil
|Density||0.90 g/ml||great for massage oil|
|Storage temperature||–||Ideal temperature for storage|
|Comedogenicity||–||Pore clogging potential ( 0 – 5 )|
|pH||4.3||Measure of Acidity|
|Peroxide Value||0.19||Measure of Initial Rancidity|
|Saponification Value||188||Measure of the average carbon chain length|
|Iodine Value||65.83||Measure of unsaturation of oil|
|Free Fatty Acids||–||Percentage of volatile oils|
Source : 8
Buying and Storage
Moringa oil is one of the most stable oils. It hardly gets rancid and can be used for many days. Though it is extracted using various processes, the healthiest one is the cold pressed oil. It is more dense, has more color and even more taste than filtered or solvent extracted oils.
1. Physico-chemical and Antioxidant Properties of Moringa oleifera Seed Oil. H.A. Ogbunugafor et. al.Pakistan Journal of Nutrition.
2. Determination of Antimicrobial Activity and Resistance to Oxidation of Moringa peregrina Seed Oil. Stavros Lalas , Olga Gortzi Vasilios Athanasiadis John Tsaknis and Ioanna Chinou. Molecules.
3. Evaluation of the Hepatoprotective Efficacy of Moringa oleifera Seed Oil on Ccl4-Induced Liver Damage in Wistar Albino Rats. Olatosin TM et. al. The International Journal Of Engineering And Science (IJES)
4. Moringa oil mediated activation of the alyternative cellular energy pathway in the therapy of diseases. US 20110208110 A1.
5. Analytical Characterization of Moringa oleifera Seed Oil Grown in Temperate Regions of Pakistan. FAROOQ ANWAR,AND M. I. BHANGER. JF0209894
6. Characterization of Moringa oleifera Variety Mbololo Seed Oil of Kenya. J. Tsaknis ,S. Lalas , V. Gergis , V. Dourtoglou , and V. Spiliotis
7. Antidiabetic and antioxidant potential of β-sitosterol in streptozotocin-induced experimental hyperglycemia. Gupta R, Sharma AK, Dobhal MP, Sharma MC, Gupta RS. J Diabetes.
8. A total characterization of Moringa oleifera. Tsaknis J. et. al.