Species: Moringa oleifera
Range: Moringa grows mainly in the northeastern foothills of the Himalayas in India, but has also been naturalized in other tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world.
Characteristics: Deciduous tree that grows best in dry sandy soil, it also tolerates poor soils and is reasonably drought-resistant. It is also fast-growing and can reach a height of about 12 meters at maturity.
Moringa was widely used in the ancient world, for example the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians extracted edible oil from the seeds. This oil was used for perfume and skin lotion.
Around the 19th century, plantations of Moringa in the West Indies exported the oil from the seeds to Europe, also for perfumes, as well as to be used as a lubricant for machinery.
People in India have used the Moringa pods for food time immemorial and the edible leaves are eaten throughout the world, especially West Africa and parts of Asia.
The entire Moringa tree is used
The leaves and pods are used for nutrition and Medicine. While the flowers, roots, bark and gum are used for medicine. Not to mention the seeds can be used for water purification, medicine, cooking oil, cosmetics and lubricant.
The leaves can be eaten fresh, or added to soups, curries and stir-fries. The flavour of the pods are similar to peas with a mild mustard taste, and young green pods sliced can be used in savory and meat dishes. Seeds can be fried or roasted and eaten like peanuts, they taste similar as well. Seeds can also be sprouted like wheatgrass and eaten as nutritious greens.
The roots of the young seedlings have a taste similar to horseradish and can be grated and used as a substitute. The oil of the seeds, oil of Ben, is an inodorous fine-grade oil and does not go rancid, that can be used in cooking, salads, perfumery and fine machinery. Flowers of the tree can be eaten or used as garnish.
The Moringa tree is used in folk remedy for stomach complaints, hay fever, impotence, catarrh, edema, cramps, headaches, sore gums, hemorrhoids; strengthening the eyes, brain, liver, gall, digestive, respiratory and the immune system. It is used as a blood cleanser and blood builder. A traditional folk remedy is to use the leaves as a poultice on the abdomen to expel intestinal worms. The oil is used for earache and in ointments for skin conditions. The oil rubbed on the skin is also said expel mosquitoes. The flowers infused in honey is used as a cough remedy.
The reason why Moringa is so effective against most of these diseases, is because it can be considered as a complete food and its strong antioxidants, and a lot of those diseases can be caused by deficiencies and the body not being in homeostasis.
Nutritional Value of Moringa Leaves
Analyses of Moringa leaves indicate that Moringa leaves contain almost a plethora of essential and health promoting nutrients. The leaves contain all the essential amino acids. The dried leaves are more concentrated, therefore they offer higher nutrient amounts for many of the nutrients, except for vitamin C (vitamin C decays after the leaves are dried).
|Amino Acid Content of Moringa Leaves (for 100 grams of edible portion)|
|Fresh Leaves||Dried Leaves|
|Arginine||406.6 mg||1325 mg|
|Histidine||149.8 mg||613 mg|
|Isoleucine||299.6 mg||825 mg|
|Leucine||492.2 mg||1950 mg|
|Lysine||342.4 mg||1325 mg|
|Methionine||117.7 mg||350 mg|
|Phenylalinine||310.3 mg||1388 mg|
|Tryptophan||107 mg||425 mg|
|Valine||374.5 mg||1063 mg|
|Vitamin and Mineral Content of Moringa Leaves (for 100 grams of edible portion)|
|Fresh Leaves||Dried Leaves|
|Carotene (Vit. A)||6.78 mg||18.9 mg|
|Thiamin (B1)||0.06 mg||2.64 mg|
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.05 mg||20.5 mg|
|Niacin (B3)||0.8 mg||8.2 mg|
|Vitamin C||220 mg||17.3 mg|
|Calcium||440 mg||2003 mg|
|Calories||92 cal||205 cal|
|Carbohydrates||12.5 g||38.2 g|
|Copper||0.07 mg||0.57 mg|
|Fat||1.70 g||2.3 g|
|Fiber||0.90 g||19.2 g|
|Iron||0.85 mg||28.2 mg|
|Magnesium||42 mg||368 mg|
|Phosphorus||70 mg||204 mg|
|Potassium||259 mg||1324 mg|
|Protein||6.70 g||27.1 g|
|Zinc||0.16 mg||3.29 mg|
Fresh Leaves (Gram for gram)
- 4 times the Vitamin A of Carrots
- 7 times the Vitamin C of Oranges
- 4 times the Calcium of Milk
- 3 times the Potassium of Bananas
- 3/4 the Iron of Spinach
- 2 times the Protein of Yogurt
Dried Leaves (Gram for gram)
- 10 times the Vitamin A of Carrots
- 1/2 the Vitamin C of Oranges
- 17 times the Calcium of Milk
- 15 times the Potassium of Bananas
- 25 the Iron of Spinach
- 9 times the Protein of Yogurt
Most information was taken from the Moringa treesforlife.org book: www.treesforlife.org/moringa/book or you can download it directly from this site: English Moringa book (PDF)