Kelor (Moringa oleifera L.)

Figure 1. [A] Overall Kelor Plant, [B] Kelor Leaves (Brenner, 2002)

 1. Name of Plant

 The scientific name: Moringa oleifera L.

 Local name : kelor

 2. Classification of Plants

 Kingdom : Plantae

 Division : Magnoliophyta

 Class : Magnoliopsida

 Order : Brassicales

 Family : Moringaceae

 Genus : Moringa

 Species : Moringa oleifera L.

 3. Description of Plants

Moringa oleifera L. can be either shrubs or trees can also be the height of 12 m with a diameter of 30 cm. The wood is a type of soft wood and has a low quality. Kelor leaves have a characteristic plant finned imperfect, small, egg-shaped, at the fingertips. Strands child leaves have a green color to brownish green, round circular shape of eggs or egg upside down, length 1-3 cm, width 4 mm to 1 cm, blunt leaf tip, leaf base rounded, flat leaf edge. Root bark taste and pungent and spicy, from the pale yellow, striped subtle, but bright and transverse. Not hard, irregular shape, the outer surface of the skin rather slippery, the surface somewhat stringy, light brown color of the wood, or beige stringy, largely separate.

4. Chemical Content and Benefits of Plants

Moringa oleifera L. contains a unique combination of compounds, namely isothiocyanates and glucosinolates. Isothiocyanate (ITC) is a substance found in many plants, including Moringa oleifera L., and has potential as a chemopreventive agent. By in vivo, Isothiocyanate has shown activity as an anticancer agent. In nature are in the form of benzyl isothiocyanate isothiocyanate (BITC) [Figure 2.A], phenetil isothiocyanate (PEITC) [Figure 2.B], or phenyl isothiocyanate (PITC) [Figure 2.c] (Bose, 2007). Isothiocyanate regardless of the plant through the action of enzymes mirosinase after the plant was damaged cells, such as when harvested or when chewed (Zhang dkk., 2009). On the basis of these facts the various research, the isothiocyanates has been widely applied.

Figure 2. [A] benzil isotiosianat structure [B] fenetil isotiosianat [C] fenil isotiosianat (Bose, 2007)

 5. Anticancer Mechanism Research

Various researches indicate that the mechanism of action of isothiocyanates is via enzyme induction pemetabolisme phase 1 and phase 2 enzymes pemetabolisme. (Hetch, 1999). The effectiveness of this plant as an anticancer agent is also evident in the publication of research which states that Isothiocyanates benzyl (BITC) is able to induce apoptosis in vitro against ovarian cancer cells (Bose, 2007). BITC also can inhibit the growth of pancreas cancer cell BxPC-3 significantly with IC50 8 μM through G2/M phase cell cycle arrest also induct apoptosis (Srivastava and Singh, 2004). Bharali dkk reported that ethanolic extract from Moringa oleifera L. potential as chemopreventive agent that caused by chemical materials. PEITC can inhibit lung cancer induction by NNK through mechanism of reduce the DNA adduct forming and also can induct the apoptosis. (Sticha dkk., 2002)


Anwar, F., Said, L., Ashraf, M., and Gilani, A.H., 2007, Moringa oleifera: a Food Plant with Multiple Medicinal Uses, Phytotherapy Research, 21: 17-25.

Bose, C.K., 2007, Possible role of Moringa Oleifera L. root in epithelial ovarian cancer, MedGenMed, 9(1): 26.

Hetch, S.S., 2009, Chemoprevention of cancer by isothicyanates, modifiers of carcinogen metabolism, Journal of Nutrition, 129: 768s – 774s.

Srivastava, S.K., and Singh, S.V., 2004, Cell cycle arrest, apoptosis induction and inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B activation in antiproliverative activity of benzyl isothiocyanate against human pancreatic cancer cells, Carcinogenesis, 25(9): 1701-1709.

Stitcha, K.R.K., Kenney, P.M.J., Boysen, G., Liang, H., Su, X., Wang, M., Upadhyaya, P., and Hetch, S.S., Effects of benzyl isothiocyanate phenethyl isothiocyanate on DNA adduct formation by a mixture of benzo[a]pyrene and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone in A/J mouse lung, Carcinogenesis, 23(9): 1433-1439.


Contributors: Kholid Alfan Nur, Sarmoko