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Tropical plant Moringa provides alternative to soap for handwashing

Moringa oleofera leaves and powde

Moringa oleofera leaves and powder. Photo: New Flavor House Inc.

SHARE-funded research [1] has found that Moringa oleifera, a common plant in many tropical and subtropical countries, can be an effective handwashing product if used in the correct concentration. Laboratory tests show that the plant has antibacterial activity against different pathogen, but its potential effect as a hand washing product had not been studied before.

By testing the effect of Moringa oleifera leaf powder on hands artificially contaminated with E. coli and comparing this to the effect of non-medicated liquid soap, the researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and SBI Consulting Ltd in Mozambique found that four grams of Moringa oleifera powder had the same effect as non-medicated soap when used for hand washing.

The next step will be to try this product in real conditions and study its acceptability and convenience for potential users.

To take part in a discussion on the use of Moringa as soap visit the SuSanA  Forum.

SHARE stands for Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity, and is a five year initiative (2010-2015) funded by the UK Department for International Development

[1] Torondel, B., Opare, D., Brandberg, B., Cobb, E. and Cairncross, S., 2014. Efficacy of Moringa oleifera leaf powder as a hand- washing product : a crossover controlled study among healthy volunteers. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 14 (57), pp. 1-7.   doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-57

Source: SHARE, 21 Feb 2014