What is Moringa?
Moringa oleifera, or simply Moringa, is the most popular of the thirteen species of the Moringacae family. Native to the southern Himalayan foothills, Moringa oleifera can be found in just about all tropical countries. This resilient, fast growing tree is grown for food, dye, medicine, fodder and water clarification.
Moringa is planted for its fruits, roots and leaves for a wide variety of nutritional and medicinal purposes. Acknowledged as a superfood, its leaves contain more protein than peas, more beta-carotene than carrots, more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than oranges, as much potassium as bananas and more iron than spinach.
Moringa is a resilient plant. It can grow under different types of environmental conditions. It can tolerate high temperatures or drought and can endure a light frost. Moringa can be planted either by transplanting, direct seeding or using stem cuttings.
Moringa Benefits – Uses of Various Parts
Every part of the Moringa tree is useful in some way, and many individuals from various parts of the planet rely on it for food, for therapeutic purposes and for their livelihood.
Moringa seeds are large and round in shape. They grow inside a long pod that can grow more than one foot in length. Every pod may have over a dozen Moringa seeds. The seeds can be used as food. They contain moderate quantities of dietary minerals and B vitamins and high levels of vitamin C. Dried seeds can be roasted, boiled or steamed like beans and peas. They have a distinct nutty taste, which is ideal as a treat.
In addition, Moringa seeds are renowned for their anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. The seeds are roasted, ground and then blended with coconut oil to help treat conditions for example rheumatism, arthritis, cramps, gout, skin infections, boils and even sexually transmitted disease.
Moringa seeds are also extremely popular for their power to clarify water. As a natural coagulant or flocculant, it can help treat cloudy or turbid water by pulling together particles such as dirt, worms and even germs. When the water settles, the Moringa seeds together with the impurities sink to the bottom of the container. Though this technique helps reduce dirt and other large particles, it doesn’t make the water totally clean and free of germs. A supplementary treatment, such as solar disinfection or filtration, should be used. Chlorination must never be used as it may cause negative reactions with the Moringa seeds.
Moringa Stem & Bark
Like the roots, the Moringa bark has also been proven to contain highly concentrated antibiotic properties. These natural Moringa components can help alleviate a number of conditions, from sexually transmitted disease to gout and even arthritis.
Harvested roots from the Moringa tree serve a variety of purposes. The roots have been known to have healing and nourishing properties and are even used for creating perfumes, medicines, natural pesticides, cleaning agents, fertilizers and many other essential products.
Moringa roots have been employed for culinary purposes. The root, which is often used as a condiment, spice or as a sauce, is rich in protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Children struggling with malnutrition should eat the sauce made from Moringa roots for faster recovery.
Moringa roots have been used in Ayurveda for years and years to help remedy various ailments. In small doses, the roots are used to treat disorders affecting the circulatory system. It can also enhance appetite and improve digestion, making it good for those with irritable bowel syndrome and gastric upset.
Recent studies show the potential of Moringa roots as a cure for ovarian cancer, including hormonal problems affecting the thyroid and blood glucose levels.
Moringa Benefits – Its Uses as a Plant Food
Moringa, recognized as a ‘miracle tree‘ is being hailed as a ‘superfood’ for its high nutritional content. As a plant food, one of the notable Moringa benefits is providing enough protein to sustain life. From the seeds, the stem, the bark, the roots to the leaves, Moringa is among the most generous giver of life-enriching nutrients.
Moringa Benefits – Its Phytonutrients
Phytochemicals are natural chemical compounds generated by plants through photosynthesis and are believed to have healing effects. A study on Moringa phytochemicals revealed a selection of unique compounds. The plant is rich in phytochemicals that have simple sugar called as ‘rhamnose‘ and it belongs to a group of compounds called isothiocyanates and glucosinolates. For example, certain components of Moringa powder have been reported to have antibacterial, hypotensive and anticancer properties include 4-(4′-O-acetyl-
a-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocy-anate, 4-(a-Lrhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl glucosinolate, benzyl isothiocyanate, 4-(a-Lrhamnopyranosyloxy)benzyl isothiocy-anate and niazimicin.
Aside from the phytochemicals mentioned, Moringa is also rich in other recognized phytochemicals like carotenoids and chlorophyll.
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