- a) the Truffula tree
- b) the Moringa tree
- c) the Money tree
- d) your Family tree
- e) the Kale tree
- f) the Tunafish tree
I haven’t yet found Dr. Seuss’s Truffula trees but I suspect that they are hiding in the same grove with the money trees and the tunafish trees. When I find it I will have a big party and send invitations to all of you. Your family tree may or may not give you sustenance. And kale is not a tree.
The Miracle Tree
So b. You’ve probably never heard of the Moringa tree (Moringa Oleifera), known as the drumstick, horseradish or benzolive tree. It is native to India and Pakistan and can now be found in tropical and subtropical areas across the globe. It is a fast-growing tree that survives with little water and poor quality soil and produces a huge bounty of edible leaves. In ancient Egypt and Rome Moringa was prized as an herbal medicine and it is still used throughout the developing world to treat and prevent hundreds of ailments. This modest, unassuming tree now holds great promise for the Western world.
I just visited my friend in Arizona and she is growing Moringa trees. As soon as I tasted a leaf, I planted myself next to the tree and stared munching on the leaves. They have a wonderful lemony-sweet flavor with a little bit of kick. I started wondering,”Why have I never heard of the Moringa plant? How come I’ve never even seen one? Could I grow one and make myself a Moringa salad every day? Is it better to crush the leaves and add to smoothies? Will I live to be 100 on a Moringa diet? Does it actually cure anything? So I did some research and this is what I found.
Yummy medicine for all
Preliminary studies in animals are promising. There is a surge of interest in medical applications, and double-blind placebo studies are currently being conducted. Researchers are testing the bio-availability of nutrients in Moringa leaves and their impact on human disease. Major research centers and hospitals already have information on their websites.
According to the Sloan Kettering Hospital website, Moringa leaves and seed extracts may be effective in treating:
- –diabetes/blood glucose levels
- -stomach ulcers
The database of the National Institutes of Health presents a study showing a benefit for chronic hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia.
Moringa is currently used internally and topically for the following conditions, although more clinical studies are needed to substantiate its benefits:
anemia, arthritis, asthma, athlete’s foot, constipation, epilepsy, gingivitis, headache, high blood pressure, kidney stones, thyroid disorders, infections (bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic), warts.
It is also used preventatively as a nutritional supplement to boost immunity and energy.
So nutritious you can almost survive on it
1) The nutritional profile of Moringa is astounding. Gram for gram, fresh leaves contains:
- -7 times as much vitamin C as oranges
- -4 times as much vitamin A as carrots,
- -4 times as much calcium as a glass of milk
- -3 times as much potassium as a banana, and
- -twice the protein of a cup of yogurt
Dried leaves are more concentrated and therefore contain a much higher density of most of its vitamins and nutrients.
2) Moringa contains all the essential amino acids which is very unusual for a plant.
3) Moringa leaves are rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that protect us from free radicals. High levels of free radicals cause oxidative stress, which may contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants in Moringa leaves include quercetin, which may lower blood pressure, and chlorogenic acid, which appears to regulate blood sugar. Also Vitamin C and beta carotene.
How can I grow Moringa?
Do you live in a tropical or temperate region? Is your soil hard to grow in? Do you like the idea of edible landscaping? Moringa is an attractive tree that will bear leaves for delicious salads and snacks within a year. It can grow over 20 feet the first year (although 15 feet is more common) so be sure to plant where they’ve got plenty of room to expand. Moringa has a single root that goes straight down deep so allow for the vertical space. If planting in a container, use something tall. You can plant a single tree, a row, or a hedge. Make sure it’ll have plenty of light. You can start with either seeds or cuttings. A great resource for information on planting is available on the website Moringa for Life and also here. There are a huge number of YouTube videos on all aspects of growing it.
How can I get Moringa without growing it?
Moringa for Life was recommended to me by a friend who grows Moringa and has done a lot of research. They carry a whole range of products from tinctures to powders with various benefits—digestive, nutritional, as a beauty device, etc. I would first try the leaf powders as a nutritional supplement. A quick Google search will turn up many more brands and products.
Clean your water without expensive filtration
It turns out that Moringa seeds can reduce turbidity and kill bacteria in water. Filtering dirty water through crushed seeds cleanses the water while destroying its microbial organisms. Research is ongoing to refine and simplify the process but it sounds promising and could prevent millions of deaths around the world from drinking unsafe water. Read about it! This amazing video shows filthy water becoming drinkable in 2 hours using two crushed seeds. Want more science? This video shows the water being tested.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Moringa is grown in every country that has a large malnourished population. Therefore, it has the potential to save millions of lives. It also has the potential to improve yours!
“Green leafy vegetables and fruits supply much needed essential micronutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, and also calcium and potassium. Moringa leaves in particular are a rich, inexpensive source of micronutrients.”
—Dr. C. Gopalan, President, Nutrition Foundation of India
“Moringa shows great promise as a tool to help overcome some of the most severe problems in the developing world—malnutrition, deforestation, impure water and poverty. The tree does best in the dry regions where these problems are worst.”
—Andrew Young, former Atlanta Mayor and United Nations Ambassador
“Although few people have ever heard of it today, Moringa could soon become one of the world’s most valuable plants, at least in humanitarian terms.”
—Noel Vietmeyer, US National Academy of Sciences, Washington D.C.
Read more about Moringa.
Please share your Moringa experiences and knowledge with GFF readers!