“The Multipurpose Tree of Life”

6 09 2011

Moringa, popularly known as “The Multipurpose Tree of Life” is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. Moringa has 13 species altogether. They grow from tropical to subtropical climates. The trees range in size from tiny herbs to massive trees.

The generic names is derived from the Tamil word murunggi or the Malayalam word muringa, both of which refer to Moringa oleifera. The most widely known species is Moringa oleifera, a multi-purpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and cultivated throughout the tropics.

Another species which is the Morninga stenopetala is an African species. This type is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than the Moringa Oleifera.

Moringa oleifera silviculture is currently being promoted as a means to combat poverty and malnutrition especially in third world countries.This is because, it grows quickly in many types of environments, and much of the plant is edible, including by livestock. The leaves contain all essential amino acids and are rich in protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and minerals. When the leaves are fed to cattle, it has been shown that there is increase in weight by 32% and milk production between 43 to 65% due to the high protein in the leaves.