The moringa tree comprises 4 different edible parts: pods, leaves, seeds, and roots. The green-bean looking pods are the most sought-after parts, not only because of their taste – similar to asparagus – but also because they are highly nutritious. They provide a good balance of amino acids and minerals and possess one of the highest vitamin C levels of any tropical vegetable.
The moringa leaves are also an excellent source of nutrition. People commonly boil the tiny leaflets and eat them like spinach. Like the pods, the leaves contain vitamins A and C as well as more calcium than most other greens. These leaves also contain such high levels of iron that doctors frequently prescribe them for anemic patients.
Before fully mature, pods can also be picked for their soft seeds. The seeds can be boiled and eaten like fresh peas, or fried to taste more like peanuts. Seeds can also be pressed for oil that can be used for cooking, medicinal ointments, lamp fuel, or even as an ingredient in soap. The thick, soft roots are another important food resource, and are usually used to make a condiment similar to horseradish. Boiling roots and shoot tips is also common because of their high-protein content.
Although the moringa tree is best known for its endless supply of food, one of the most innovative uses of the plant has been to treat water and waste water. Researchers at Leicester University, UK, have found that mixing crushed moringa seeds with polluted water help settle silt and other contaminants. This is highly cost effective because the seeds can replace the expensive imported material usually used for water purification in rural areas. The seed filtered water still needs a final filtration before it is completely drinkable, but the seeds make the process easier and help other water filters last longer.
While commissioning the water treatment plant in Zaria, minister of science and technology,Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Mrs. Dere Awosika, said Nigerians need this technology.
“Nigeria is endowed with abundant water reserves estimated at 267.3 billion cubic meters and 52 billion cubic meters per annum for surface/underground water resources respectively. With a population of 140 (167) million people and high unequal distribution of income, the rural populace lacks clean drinking water.
“It has been investigated and found that this local plant resource, Moringa Oleifera, can readily provide the substitute for imported chemical (e.g alum) with about N354.5 million spent on importation between 2005 and 2011 for water treatment. Using natural materials to clarify water is a technique that has been practiced for centuries and of all the materials that have been used, seeds of
Moringa have been found to be one of the most effective,” Ewa said.
The seeds of Moringa, according to him, are highly effective in removing suspended particles from water with medium to high levels of turbidity. Moringa seeds treat water by acting as coagulant and antimicrobial.
Dr Harry Foster mentions that some say Moringa can grow in any place where you can grow oranges. He believes there may be fertilizers that can further enhance the growth of what he calls the "superman of herbs".
The healing properties of Moringa are documented by ancient cultures. Moringa possesses exceptional oxidative stability which may explain why the Egyptians placed vases of moringa oil in their tombs.
Uses and Recipes:
Moringa powder can be used as a daily dietary supplement; as an ingredient in soups, sauces, breads, or desserts, or as a deeply nourishing tea.
Initially, it is recommended that you start by taking ½ teaspoon of Moringa everyday for about 3 days or for one week in order to get the body accustomed to it and to minimize strong detoxification effects. After this, gradually increase daily intake to the recommended amount.
The Moringa tree is often called the “Miracle Tree”, as it is so high in nutritional value. Almost every part can be used for food or has some other beneficial use.
The leaves are a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium. The leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked. or dried and crushed into a powder.
The Moringa seeds yield a useful botanical oil. The seed cake that remains may be used to purify water, and can also serve as a fertilizer. In addition, the bark, sap, roots and flowers all have beneficial uses
Each village will be given 200 Moringa seeds to start a tree nursery. This will jumpstart the community to grow its own Moringa trees, and will leave a sustainable legacy from the ride.
This effort includes a large undertaking on the part of the communities that are visited. Each will provide a selected parcel of land to start the first Moringa nursery. Local villagers will be responsible for the upkeep of the planted trees as well as sharing the technology with others in the community.
"In an independent test, Moringa oleifera scored the highest in antioxidant content of any food yet discovered. Beating the record-holding acai berry by over a 50% margin, Moringa Source Moringa oleifera leaf powder measured over 157,000 umoles using the Oxidant Radicals Absorbent Capacity (ORAC) system of measurement developed by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute for Aging."
There are several herbs of nature which help in restoring the balance of body and maintaining good health. But a single moringa tree can provide leaf for nutrition, oil for cooking and healthy skin, seed cake for water purification and wood to build shelter and keep you warm.
Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated pan-tropical species of a monogeneric family, the Moringaceae, which is native to the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Moringa oleifera is known by such regional names as benzolive, drumstick tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, mulangay, nιbιday, saijhan, and sajna.
Dhakar RC, Maurya SD, Pooniya BK, Bairwa N, Gupta M, Sanwarmal - Chron Young Sci
For edible landscaping, a Moringa tree is hard to beat. This versatile tree can be grown year-round in any tropical climate, and successfully grown as an annual, in temperate zones. Fast-growing, nutritious, and lovely to behold, Moringa...
via ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Perhaps the fastest growing tree, the Moringa is potentially one of the world's most valuable and potentially life saving plants.In pockets across the Sahel, the Moringa tree is being planted. In the midst of Niger's food crisis..it's nickname as a miracle tree has never appeared more true.
Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) is helping 16 villages in Malawi learn Moringa processing practices that meet ISO standards. They will be building the oven process facility with a group of UK students. They will also be teaching aerobic composting and how to prune Moringa trees for seed and leaf production, allowing the villagers better yield and income from their Moringa.
For centuries, the natives of northern India and many parts of Africa have known of the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the names it is known by, such as clarifier tree, horseradish tree and drumstick tree (referring to the large drumstick shaped pods) and in East Africa it is called "mother's best friend”. Virtually every part of the tree can be used. Native only to the foothills of the Himalayas, it is now widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. This tree, though little known in the Western world, is nutritional dynamite. There are literally hundreds of uses for this tree.
The immature pods are the most valued and widely used of all the tree parts. The pods are extremely nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids along with many vitamins and other nutrients. The immature pod can be eaten raw or prepared like green peas or green beans, while the mature pods are usually fried and possess a peanut-like flavor. The pods also yield 38 - 40% of non-drying, edible oil known as Ben Oil. This oil is clear, sweet and odorless, and never becomes rancid. Overall, its nutritional value most closely resembles olive oil. The thickened root is used as a substitute for horseradish although this is now discouraged as it contains alkaloids, especially moriginine, and a bacteriocide, spirochin, both of which can prove fatal following ingestion. The leaves are eaten as greens, in salads, in vegetable curries, as pickles and for seasoning. They can be pounded up and used for scrubbing utensils and for cleaning walls. Leaves and young branches are relished by livestock. The Bark can be used for tanning and also yields a coarse fiber. The flowers, which must be cooked, are eaten either mixed with other foods or fried in batter and have been shown to be rich in potassium and calcium.
Moringa Oleifera is the best known of the thirteen species of the genus Moringacae. Moringa was highly valued in the ancient world. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians extracted edible oil from the seeds and used it for perfume and skin lotion.
In the 19th century, plantations of Moringa in the West Indies exported the oil to Europe for perfumes and lubricants for machinery. People in the Indian sub-continent have long used Moringa pods for food. The edible leaves are eaten throughout West Africa and parts of Asia.
A few research groups are looking into how to use the seeds from the Moringa tree to clean drinking water. One group, from Pennsylvania State University, is developing a special, antibacterial Moringa sand that it hopes people could easily make at home and use to filter their own water.
"The idea is that as long as people have [ordinary] sand and Moringa seeds, they can clean water," said Stephanie Velegol, a chemical engineer who is leading the Penn State research. Moringa trees are common in many water-stressed regions of Asia, Africa and South America, and one mature tree can produce as many as 15,000 seeds.
Moringa seeds might generally prove more appealing than chlorine, which many governments now distribute to people who drink untreated water from wells, rivers and ponds.
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