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The "Miracle" Moringa Tree

Updated on December 10, 2013
Hema Gangadharan profile image

Professional writer in an internet-based company, Hema enjoys researching and writing about alternate types of medicine during her free time

Moringa Tree
Moringa Tree | Source

A native to Asia and Africa, the moringa tree is characterized by small oval-shaped leaves and tiny white flowers. It is also known as the Horse Raddish tree, Drumstick tree or the Miracle tree. Despite its tall and lanky appearance, this tree is power packed with nutrients, which make it a good medicine as well as a dietary addition. This tree grows well in tropical and semi-arid regions on sandy or loamy soil.

The Nutrients

All edible parts of this tropical tree are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It contains high levels of antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and enzymes. Moringa also has many minerals, including iron, calcium, sodium, zinc, sulfur, manganese, potassium and more. The other essential nutrients present in this leafy vegetable are chlorophyll, omega oils, plant sterols, cytokinins and carotenoids. Plus, it has 10 amino acids as well as 8 essential amino acids. Here’s a snapshot of its nutritional values:

Principle
Nutrient value-Pods
Nutrient value-Leaves
Energy
37 Kcal (2%)
64 Kcal (3%)
Carbohydrates
8.53 g (6.5%)
8.28% (6%)
Protein
2.10 g (4%)
9.40 g (17%)
Total Fat
0.20 g (1%)
1.40% (7%)
Cholesterol
0 mg (0%)
0 mg (0%)
Dietary Fiber
3.2 g (8%)
2.0 g (5%)
 
Vitamins
 
Folates
44 g (11%)
40 g (10%)
Niacin
0.680 mg (4%)
2.220 mg (14%)
Pyridoxine
0.120 mg (9%)
1.200 mg (92%)
Riboflavin
0.074 mg (6%)
0.660 mg (51%)
Thiamin
0.053 mg (4.5%)
0.257 mg (21.5%)
Vitamin A
74 IU (2.5%)
7564 IU (252%)
Vitamin C
141mg (235%)
51.7 mg (86%)
 
Electrolytes
 
Sodium
42 mg (3%)
9 mg (0.5%)
Potassium
461 mg (10%)
337 mg (7%)
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
30 mg (3%)
185 mg (18.5%)
Iron
0.36 mg (4.5%)
4.00 mg (50%)
Magnesium
45 mg (11%)
147 mg (37%)
Phosphorus
50 mg (9%)
112 mg (20%)
Selenium
8.2 g (15%)
0.9 g (1.5%)
Zinc
0.45 mg (4%)
0.60 mg (5%)
Nutritional Values of Moringa Source: USDA National Nutrient data base (Nutritive value per 100 g.)
Moringa Flowers
Moringa Flowers | Source

The Benefits

Moringa leaves and pods have been used in traditional cooking methods for a long time. In fact, in some regions, it’s a dietary staple. Moringa has been used as a medicine in some indigenous medical practices. It is believed that moringa can help in the treatment of nearly 300 diseases. Here’s a small list of its benefits:

  • Strengthens the body’s immune system
  • Boosts body’s metabolism
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Supports anti-inflammatory activities in the body
  • Vitamin A enhances eye and skin health
  • Vitamin D and calcium helps improve bone and joint health
  • Potassium helps in brain development
  • Helps maintain blood sugar levels
  • Helps reduce bad cholesterol levels
  • Aids in digestion
  • Acts as an antioxidant

The Other Uses

Moringa is not only used as food and medicine, but also for other purposes. Its seeds can be used to purify water. It is also used as a fodder for cattle. They can be grown as ornamental trees in gardens or grown in a row to create live fences. Moringa seed cakes make very good fertilizers.

Moringa Pods
Moringa Pods | Source

The Recipe

Moringa leaves as well as pods are used to make tasty dishes. Here’s one recipe from India you can try out:

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 2 - 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-2 drumsticks, chopped to about 1" long
  • 1-2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 red chilis, sliced
  • 2 -3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 5-7 curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Corriander, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat some oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds
  2. Once the seeds stop spattering, add curry leaves, onions and chillies, and sauté well
  3. After the onions turn golden brown, add the chillies, chopped drumsticks and tomatoes
  4. Sprinkle some turmeric powder and salt, and cover the pan
  5. Let it cook till the drumstick’s done (Should be around 10 minutes on a low flame)

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