Who knows how many nutrients and beneficial substances are contained in moringa? Despite rich science and hundreds of scientific studies we still have not uncovered all of them, and new ones come at the surface from time to time in the literature. But even for those we know about, we don’t always understand their role or how to use them for our health.

An interesting substance is zeatin, a plant hormone or cytokinin, that helps and organizes plant cellular growth, development, and slows the aging process. Moringa is very rich in zeatin, unusually rich—I should say—and that is probably the reason why it grows so fast (8-10 yards per year!). Moringa leaf extract can be used to stimulate in a natural, safe way, the growth of other plants, thus increasing crops, and the basis of this action must be zeatin. Cytokinins such as kinetin and zeatin are vitally important for plants, but what can they do for humans?

These plant hormones act like antioxidants, among others, reducing the oxidative and damaging stress resulting during normal metabolic processes, and even more during exposure to environmental toxins or ultraviolet radiation. Zeatin has been shown to be very effective in improving the appearance of aging or sun damaged skin, thus it is incorporated in cosmetic products for hair and skin. One can assume that by consuming moringa leaf, high in cytokinins, the benefits of zeatin might be obtained at least at the level of gastrointestinal system. We have to keep in mind that, by being a plant-specific hormone, zeatin has no hormonal effects in the human body, and cannot interfere with the endocrine system (the sum of organs secreting vitally important hormones). But when applied externally, zeatin can benefit the skin and hair.

Some scientific studies have shown that zeatin-treated cells in culture kept their youthful features longer, were able to maintain their normal composition, shape, protein and nutrient balance better than untreated cells. Overall, zeatin helps the cells in culture or tested animals to adapt better and resist to environmental stressors, at the same time supporting healthy cellular function and regeneration, while showing no toxicity or side effects.

You can test the power of moringa’s hormones with homemade face masks or other local applications for skin and hair. Depending on your skin type, you can add various ingredients. I like unpasteurized honey (full of vitamins and enzymes), avocados, organic eggs (I use the yolks for a great hair conditioner, mixed with moringa oil), cream or alive yogurt. Mix one spoon of moringa powder with a spoon of yogurt (or cream if you have very dry skin; or avocado if you prefer a vegan formula) and a spoon of raw honey. Apply on your clean face and neck, leave to act and rejuvenate skin for 15 minutes or longer. Wash well with warm, filtered (no chlorine) water. Moringa oil (a spoon) mixed with 2-3 egg yolks to form a homogenous mayo is a treat for your scalp! Don’t eat it, but apply on your scalp after a first wash with a gentle shampoo. Rinse with filtered water. Of course that other present moringa compounds will also play a role in improving the skin appearance, besides the zeatin.