MORINGA – THE MIRACLE TREE
Moringa, which is origin of native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae.
Moringa, name is derived from murungai/muringa, the Tamil/Malayalam word for drumstick.
Moringa is ideally grown in the subtropical areas where malnutrition is most prevalent. Moringa olifera trees are rich source to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers.
English common names include:
- Drumstick tree(from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed-pods),
- Horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish),
- Ben oil tree, or benzoil tree (from the oil which is derived from the seeds).
Many parts of the moringa plant are edible.
Fresh moringa leaves are eaten by many peoples around the world. Moringa leaf powder is ideal source of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, protein, among other essential nutrients. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach.
Moringa seeds removed from mature moringa pods, which are eaten like peas or roasted like nuts, contain high levels of vitamin C and moderate amounts of B vitamins and dietary minerals.
The immature moringa seed pods, called “drumsticks”, are commonly consumed in India and South Asia. Moringa pods are good source of rich dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
Mature moringa seeds kernels yield 30%–40% edible oil called as ben oil, which contains high concentration of behenic acid. The refined moringa oil is clear and odorless, and resists rancidity. The moringa seed cake remaining after oil extraction may be used as a organic fertilizer or as a flocculent to purify water. Moringa seed oil has been used as a potential biofuel source.