Moringa Tree – Magical Characteristics

12 02 2012

Originally indigenous to the northwestern part of India, the moringa tree is the most widely cultivated species of the moringa genus. It is a vegetable tree power packed with nutrients, and its wide variety of applications makes it one of nature’s most versatile trees. Belonging to the Moringaceae family, this slender tree can easily grow to heights of 9 to 12 meters, has drooping branches and oval-shaped and dark-colored leaves. Its grey-colored bark has a gummy texture, with thickness resembling that of a cork. This drought-resistant three mainly thrives in dry sandy soil, but can also tolerate nutrient-deficient soil.

One of the best attributes of the moringa tree is that virtually every part of it can be utilized in a wide range of applications. As a food source, its leaves are packed with vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. It has better protein content than milk and eggs, more Vitamin C as compared to oranges, and has quadruple the amount of Vitamin A in carrots. They can be eaten fresh or dried, and it goes well with many types of dishes, especially in making soups and sauces. The leaves can also be used for treatment of minor cuts and insect bites because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The pods of the moringa tree, particularly the immature ones, can be eaten raw or served just like one would with green beans or green peas. The mature pods can be boiled and removed of its seeds to be used with soups and stews, or it can simply be roasted just like nuts. The flowers can also be eaten and is known to taste like mushrooms, although they must be properly cooked first. Besides the leaves, other parts such as roots, flowers, oil, bark and sap can be used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Its bark can be used to make ropes and paper, while the sap can be processed to make blue dye.

The seeds of the moringa tree can extracted to produce ben oil. This type of oil is sweet, odorless, has a clear texture, very stable and is comparable to olive oil and sunflower oil in terms of nutritional value. Ben oil also makes an excellent salad dressings or used for other cooking purposes because of its resistance to rancidity. It also burns clear and without smoke, making it perfect as fuel too. For cosmetic purposes, this oil is used in face creams, soaps, and massage oils. The seedcake left after extraction of the seeds can be used as fertilizer or for water purification purposes through a process called flocculation.

Many developing tropical countries have used the moringa tree in order to help solve malnutrition, particularly among infants and breastfeeding mothers. Leaves are very well-known to improve the volume of milk produced by nursing mothers, as well as provide them with sufficient amounts of calcium, iron, Vitamin D and Folic Acid. Some studies also show that moringa is effective in lowering blood pressure, alleviate pains caused by migraines or headaches, improve immune system, and even inhibit growth of tumors.

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