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Drumstick (Sahjan): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction:  

Often seeing floating in your bowl of sambhar, Drumstick is scientifically known as Moringa oleifera Lam. It belongs to the family Moringaceae. It is a small, fast-growing, evergreen tree that grows in tropical regions. It is found in the Himalayan areas of India, Bangladesh,  Afghanistan and Pakistan. Drumstick is also known as horseradish tree or drumstick tree (in English), Subhanjana (in Sanskrit), Haritashaaka or Akshiva (in Ayurveda) and Sainjna or Saguna (in Hindi).1 

drumsticks benefits

Every part of the drumstick might contain essential properties for human health; hence, it may be one of the crucial nutritional herbs. For many years, the drumstick has been used as traditional medicine. According to the Ayurvedic system of medicine, drumsticks may have potential use and be helpful for various diseases due to their high nutritional value, water retention and capacity for purification.1 

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Drumstick: 

Drumstick provides large and rare varieties of vital minerals and nutrients. Pods, leaves, flowers, barks, roots and seeds of drumsticks also contain bioactive compounds.1 

Nutritional components Value/100 grams 
Energy 37 kcal 
Protein 2.1 g 
Fat 0.2 g 
Carbohydrate 8.53 g 
Fibre 3.2 g 
Calcium 30 mg 
Iron 0.36 mg 
Magnesium 45 mg 
Phosphorus 50 mg 
Potassium 461 mg 
Sodium 42 mg 
Zinc 0.45 mg 
Copper 0.084 mg 
Manganese 0.259 mg 
Selenium 0.7  µg 
Vitamin C 141 mg 
Thiamine 0.053 mg 
Riboflavin 0.074 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.12 mg 
Folate 44  µg 
Vitamin A 4  µg 
Table 1: Nutritional value of raw drumstick pods per 100 grams2 

Also Read: Cauliflower: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More!

Based on my observations, I have found that different parts of the Moringa tree, including the leaves, pods and roots, may possess analgesic properties, which means they can help alleviate pain. I recommend considering the use of Moringa as a natural remedy for pain relief.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Drumstick: 

The major constituents of the drumstick possess biological activities that might play a role in its potential use in several medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, homoeopathy, unani, yoga, naturopathy and siddha.1 The potential properties of drumstick are as follows: 

  • It may have an anti-oxidant property  
  • It may be an anti-diabetic (reduces blood glucose levels)  
  • It may have anti-cancer (prevents the growth of cancer cells) potential  
  • It may have an anti-seizure property      
  • It may be an anti-asthmatic  
  • It might help in alleviation of inflammaton    
  • It may act as an anti-parasitic agent  
  • It may have an anti-bacterial property  
  • It may have an anti-fungal property  
  • It may be an anti-pyretic (reduces fever) agent    
  • It may act as an anti-ulcer (reduces the formation of ulcers)agent    
  • It maight have an anti-spasmodic (relieves muscle spasms) property  
  • It may have an anti-allergic potential  
  • It may help with blood pressure-lowering  
  • It might help with kidney stone-reducing  
  • It might be hepato-protective (prevents damage to the liver)  
  • It might help with cholesterol-lowering  
  • It may act as a laxative (manages constipation)  
  • It may act as a diuretic (promotes urine formation).1,3  

Also Read: Potato: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

I highly recommend incorporating Moringa into your diet as it might be an exceptional source of vitamin A. This essential nutrient has the potential to safeguard your eye health and prevent deficiencies. Including Moringa in your meals, especially for your children, is a great step towards maintaining optimal vision and promoting overall eye well-being.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of Drumstick (Sahjan) for Overall Health: 

Drumsticks might have a wide range of uses with high nutritional value. Various parts of this plant act as stimulants that might possess various activities employed to help with different diseases in the indigenous systems of medicine, particularly in South Asia.3 Some of the potential uses of drumstick are described as follows. 

1. Potential Uses of Drumstick for Diabetes  

The leaf extract of drumstick might show potential anti-diabetic properties that might help lower blood glucose levels. An animal study (Gupta R et al. 2012) showed that the extract of leaves of drumsticks might help reduce the progression of diabetes and may induce a reduction in serum glucose levels by increasing the production of protein and insulin hormone.1  

Another animal study (Ndong M et al. 2007) showed that  the extract of drumstick leaves might help control glucose levels, urinary sugar and protein levels, haemoglobin, and total protein in the blood. However, more studies are required to ascertain above-mentioned claims. Kindly consult a doctor as diabetes is a serious condition and should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. 

2. Potential Uses of Drumstick for Wound Healing  

Various animal studies (B.S. Rathi et al. 2006, V.I. Hukkeri et al. 2006) suggest that the extracts from dried leaves of drumstick might show wound healing action in animal models over granuloma (dead space), excision and incision. It also significantly decreases scar area, and might help in increasing the wound closure and may strengthen skin breaking.4 However, more studies are required on humans to prove the potential uses of drumstick for wound healing.  

3. Potential Uses of Drumstick for Kidney  

Barks, leaves, seeds, flowers and roots of drumsticks might have a diuretic activity that may be helpful for urine formation in patients with kidney dysfunction. It might also help to lower the deposition of oxalate salts (stones forming units) in the kidneys. An animal study (R.V. Karadi et al. 2008) found that the extract of drumstick root lowers the kidney retention of salts and excretion in the urine. Moreover, these extracts also reduce elevated serum uric acid and creatinine levels.4 This information is insufficient as these studies were done on animals. However, more studies on humans are required to back this claim. Kidney diseases are serious and must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor, so kindly consult a doctor. We recommend do not use drumsticks to self-medicate yourselves before taking medical advice.  

4. Potential Uses of Drumstick for Cancer  

The leaves and seed of drumstick might show potential anti-tumour activity. They contain certain compounds which might act as inhibitors and may inhibit the activity of tumour promoting molecules. In-vitro studies on human cancer cells showed the potential toxic effects of drumstick leaf extracts on cancer cells at the highest dose contributing to least viability of cancerous cells.4 However, much more extensive research is required to prove the potential use of drumstick for cancer. Moreover, cancer is a serious condition and must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.  

5. Other Potential Uses of Drumstick  

  • Barks, leaves, seeds and roots of drumstick might have anti-microbial activity against bacteria and fungi and might be prescribed by your Ayurvedic physician for specific conditions.1
  • When mixed with sesame oil, the gum produced by the drumstick might help with digestive problems, headaches, dysentery (infection in the stomach), fevers and asthma.3
  • The juice from the bark of the drumstick root might help with earache (pain inside the ear) and toothache.3 

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of drumsticks in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need of further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of drumsticks on human health.   

Also Read: Brinjal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Be careful when consuming Moringa leaves! They contain a high concentration of saponins, which can interfere with the absorption of important minerals like zinc and magnesium. It is important to be mindful of this potential risk and consider the impact on your mineral intake.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

How To Use Drumstick? 

Drumstick can be used in the following ways: 

  • The entire plant might have potential use for muscle spasms or muscle cramps. It might also act as a  cardiac and circulatory tonic and may acts as an anti-septic and a diuretic. 
  • The seeds of drumsticks are acidic and contain many stimulants that might be helpful for the central nervous system (CNS). 
  • The bark of the stem and flowers of the drumstick might be helpful to lower glucose levels in the blood. 
  • Flowers of drumstick might stimulate gallbladder contraction and increase the flow of bile. 
  • Pods of drumstick might be helpful for high fever. 
  • Juice of leaf of drumstick might help with hiccoughs (contractions of the diaphragm).  
  • Leaves of drumstick might be helpful for influenza (viral infection of the respiratory system). 
  • The dried root bark of drumstick might help with piles, goitre (swelling of the thyroid gland) and internal abscess (formation of pus).4 

You should always consult your Ayurvedic physician before consuming a drumstick for regular use. They will be the best person to prescribe you the correct form and dosage as per your health condition. 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Side Effects of Drumstick: 

Over the last few years, drumstick has been significantly researched due to its natural origin and fewer side effects. It is an anti-allergic agent and might be used as a herbal remedy under the supervision of an Ayurvedic physician.4,5  However, some people might experience allergic reactions to the seedpods of the drumstick. The most common side effects are: 

  • Facial angioedema (swelling underneath the skin) 
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) 
  • Irritation of skin in lower limb 
  • Occupational asthma is caused by exposure to inhaled irritants. 

Also Read: Moringa Powder Benefits: Research-Based Overview of Its Health Advantages

Precautions to Take With Drumstick: 

Drumstick (Sahjan) is generally considered to be safe if it is consumed in small quantities. However, general precautions have to be followed to avoid complications. 

  • Drumstick may act as an anti-fertility agent, and may lead to abortion. It also affects the process of implantation during pregnancy.4 Hence, pregnant women should take precautions while consuming drumsticks. Avoid having dishes made from drumsticks. However, if any unusual symptoms occur, immediately consult your Ayurvedic physician. 
  • The seedpods of drumstick might cause severe allergic reactions leading to skin irritation, low blood pressure and swelling all over the body. Hence, extra precautions need to be taken by sensitive individuals to avoid such hypersensitivity reactions. Consult your Ayurvedic physician if any health-related issue appears. 

Kindly do not self-medicate, alter, replace or discontinue any ongoing treatement on your own. Please ensure to consult your doctor regarding health issues. 

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

Drumstick contains many bioactive compounds, which interact with certain drug-metabolising enzymes resulting in alteration in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination from the body and possibly causing toxicity and failure of treatment. The leaf extract of the drumstick inhibits one of such enzymes, which is responsible for the detoxification of drugs.6 

Kindly consult a doctor before consuming drumsticks and make sure that it is safe for you.  

Also Read: Radish: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs): 

What are the vitamins present in drumsticks? 

Drumstick contains vitamins such as vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6 and B9 which might be beneficial for various health conditions.2 However, people should not use drumsticks to self-medicate themselves prior to consulting a doctor. 

Are drumsticks good for pregnancy? 

There is insufficient and inconclusive data regarding the potential use of drumsticks during pregnancy. Kindly consult your gynaecologist and confirm its safety before eating it.  

Does drumstick helps to manage thyroid? 

Yes. The leaf extracts of drumstick might be helpful for thyroid hormones that might further help with hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormones).3 

What are the other common names of drumsticks? 

The other common names of drumsticks are Murinna or Sigru (in Malayalam), La ken (in Chinese), Suragavo (in Gujarati), Sainjna or Soanjna (in Punjabi), Morigkai (in Tamil), Rawang (in Arabian) and Mulaga or Munaga (in Telugu).4 

What is the primary diagnostic test for allergy caused by a drumstick? 

A skin prick test is a potential diagnostic tool for determining allergic reactions caused by drumstick.

Is moringa and drumstick same?

Yes, moringa and drumstick typically refer to the same plant, Moringa oleifera. In some regions, the long, slender pods of the Moringa tree are commonly referred to as drumsticks due to their resemblance to drumsticks used in percussion instruments. Moringa is known for its nutritional benefits and is consumed in various forms worldwide.

Does drumstick have calcium?

Yes, drumstick (Moringa oleifera) contains calcium, albeit in relatively modest amounts compared to other calcium-rich foods. However, it can still contribute to your overall calcium intake, which is important for maintaining bone health, especially during pregnancy and lactation.

Does drumstick increase uric acid?

Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) is not known to significantly increase uric acid levels. In fact, it is often considered beneficial for managing uric acid due to its anti-inflammatory properties and potential to support kidney health. However, individual responses to foods can vary, so it’s advisable to monitor your body’s reaction and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about uric acid levels.

Does drumstick increase blood pressure?

Drumstick (Moringa oleifera) is not known to significantly increase blood pressure. In fact, it may have the opposite effect due to its high potassium content, which can help regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. However, individual responses to foods can vary, so it’s essential to monitor your blood pressure levels and consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns.

Can drumstick be eaten raw?

Yes, drumstick pods can be eaten raw, but they are often cooked before consumption to soften their tough texture and enhance flavor. However, some people enjoy adding raw drumstick to salads or using it as a crunchy addition to dishes.

Can dogs eat drumstick vegetable?

Yes, dogs can eat cooked drumstick vegetable in moderation, but it’s important to remove seeds and tough fibrous parts beforehand to prevent digestive issues. Introducing new foods gradually and consulting with a veterinarian is advisable for any dietary changes for your dog.

Can Kidney patients eat drumstick?

Kidney patients can generally eat drumstick in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, they should consult with their healthcare provider or a dietitian to determine if it’s suitable for their specific condition and dietary restrictions. Drumstick is relatively low in potassium and phosphorus, making it potentially suitable for some kidney patients, but individual dietary needs may vary.

Is drumstick good for diabetes?

Yes, drumstick (moringa) is considered beneficial for diabetes. It has compounds that may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, contributing to better diabetes management.

Is drumstick high in potassium?

Yes, drumstick (moringa) is high in potassium. It contains significant amounts of this essential mineral, which plays a crucial role in maintaining proper heart and muscle function.

References: 

1. Paikra BK, Dhongade HKJ, Gidwani B. Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Moringa oleifera Lam. J Pharmacopunc. 2017 Sep 24;20(3):194-200. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5633671/pdf/2093-6966-v20-n03-194.pdf 

2. US Department of Agriculture [Internet]. Drumstick pods, raw; 2019 Jan 4 [cited 2022 Jun 6]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170483/nutrients 

3. Anwar F, Latif S, Ashraf M, Gilani AH. Moringa oleifera: A food plant with multiple medicinal uses. Phytother Res. 2007 Jan 1;21(1):17-25. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/ptr.2023 

4. Mishra G, Singh P, Verma R, Kumar S, Srivastav S, Jha KK, et al. Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of Moringa oleifera plant: An overview. Pharm Lett. 2011 Jan 1;3(2):141-64. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281577396_Traditional_uses_phytochemistry_and_pharmacological_properties_of_Moringa_oleifera_plant_An_overview 

5. Berglund LJ. Anaphylaxis to Moringa oleifera: First description. Australas Med J. 2018 Apr 1;11(3):176-7. Available from: https://amj.net.au/index.php/AMJ/article/viewFile/3344/1655 

6. Monera TG, Wolfe AR, Maponga CC, Benet LZ, Guglielmo J. Moringa oleifera leaf extracts inhibit 6β-hydroxylation of testosterone by CYP3A4. J Infect Dev Ctries. 2017 Apr 10;2(5):379-83. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385924/pdf/nihms854527.pdf 

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