Why women with infertility should avoid moringa tea, products

Moringa leaf is used to tackle malnutrition, boost the immune system and enhance breast milk production in resource-limited settings. Now, experts have warned that it is not safe at conception and during pregnancy because it can be inimical to fetal development.

In a new study, researchers investigated the effect of the intake of low amounts of moringa leaves before conception attempts as well as its effect during conception under laboratory conditions and found it can cause contraction of the womb with varying intensities.

According to the animal study, both the cold and hot moringa leave extracts significantly produced contraction of the womb with varying intensities. It also indicated that it had anti-infertility properties.

For the study, the researchers assessed both the cold and hot moringa leave extracts on samples of womb obtained from non-pregnant female animals as well as female Wistar rats in the laboratory. The contractile force of the muscles strips from the womb of the non-pregnant female animals was measured. Also, pregnancy length, delayed labour, mortality and birth complications in the Wistar rats were monitored.

Cold moringa leaf extract administered before and after mating, respectively produced 100 per cent and 80 per cent inhibition of conception, while 96.6 per cent and 58 per cent effect was comparatively produced by its hot extracts.

The 2019 study entitled, “Aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera leaf used in Nigerian ethnomedicine alters conception and some pregnancy outcomes in Wistar rat,” was published in the South African Journal of Botany. It involved A.F. Attah; J.O. Moody; M.A. Sonibare; H.H. Salahdeen; O.O. Akindele; P.O. Nnamani; O.A. Diyaolu and Y. Raji.

In this study, none of the extracts prevented the animals from mating and this suggests that the animals’ cycles contained at least one estrus during the two weeks of mating although this does not supply any information about the regularity of the cycle.

Studies in the recent past have shown that about 50 per cent of human conception get aborted or do not result in successful delivery. Standard methods that have been frequently used to detect early gestational evidence have demonstrated that between 32 per cent and 42per cent of pregnancies do not progress to parturition as a result of a miscarriage. Many factors may be tied to this including the consumption of unknown plants that can cause abortion.

The leaf of the plant has additionally been reported to be used in the Central African Republic to induce uterine contraction and facilitate childbirth. Also, in northern Nigeria, its fresh leaves are a component of a local meal made up of powdered groundnut cake, chilli, sweeteners, and local roasted beef called “Suya”.

Likewise, Nigerian women, especially those from northern geopolitical extraction is known for its intake to increase breast milk. Moreover, there limited scientific documentation of lactating women not getting pregnant during the period of its accelerated intake despite unprotected sexual activity, and raising the question about its potential usefulness as nutritional cum child-spacing supplement.

The high nutritional content of Moringa leaves has also attracted much interest due to the levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium and adequately high protein quality which contends with that of milk and eggs.

The researchers, however, declared that the cold extract seemed to have a more adverse effect on the maintenance of pregnancy possibly because of the presence of unfriendly metabolites which have not been inactivated partially or completely by heat. The pups born to the hot extract group had severely altered morphometry which suggests that the growth and development of these pups have been compromised during the gestation period.

They suggested that the interference with the physiology and the function of the reproductive system may have been triggered by an alteration in the synthesis of hormones, storage, liberation, transport or excretion.

Several indigenous plant extracts have been described to possess chemical substances that can alter the smooth release of reproductive hormones culminating in the inhibition of conception or the contraction of the womb.



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