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Moringa General Overview

August 4, 2010

Moringa General Overview


The Moringa oleifera tree is often regarded by scientists and nutritionists as the “miracle tree”, and for good reason. Nearly every single part of this plant, from its seeds to its leaves, and even its flowers are edible and chock full of nutritional value. For this reason, the tree and its various parts have been used as a food source and medicinal treatment for hundreds of years in Asia, Africa, and Central America.

The moringa tree itself grows up to 30 feet in height, but is usually kept short for cultivation purposes to keep the leaves, flowers, and seed pods, accessible. The seed pods are one of the most sought after parts of the tree. In India, it is usually prepared in a manner that is similar to that of green beans. In India, is is used as a traditional treatment for erectile dysfunction, and prescribed as an aphrodisiac for women as well. The flowers of the tree are also edible, and they are usually steamed or boiled on their own or in a soup or stew. They have a mild and pleasant taste similar to mushrooms. Even the roots of the plant can be utilized for food. In some regions of Asia, they are shredded and then used as a condiment similar to horseradish.  When it comes to food, however, it is the moringa tree’s leaves that really steal the show.
The leaves of the moringa tree are where most of its nutritional value can be found. A serving of moringa leaves contains more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, more potassium than a banana, and more iron than spinach. It also contains the equivalent amount of protein as an egg. It also contains significant amounts of beta-carotene and phosphorous. And unlike other leafy vegetables that lose their nutritional value as they are cooked or lose their freshness, moringa leaves retain their nutritional value for up to several months, even without refrigeration. The leaves don’t even need to undergo any cooking at all to make them edible. The tree itself can thrive in the poorest soil in the harshest climates. These properties not only make the leaves more nutritious, but also an ideal food for battling malnutrition, especially in children. In fact, several relief organizations are actively advocating its use as a major food source of the future.
Because nearly every part of the plant is edible, there are a huge number of ways in which moringa can be cooked or prepared. The seed pods, or “drumsticks” as they are more commonly called in India, are often used in making different curry dishes. Alternatively, they can be boiled until they soften a bit, and then eaten directly. The moringa leaves are often boiled in stews, soups, and broths to add flavor and nutrition. They can either be added whole, or they can be crushed into a powder. Powdered moringa leaves can be added to shakes, smoothies, and any baked goods.
The moringa tree and its parts have purposes that are not limited to food. The bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, and gum of the tree have been used for various medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. They can be used as an antiseptic, an anti venom, and a treatment for rheumatism. Moringa leaves have even been used as a source of oil used as biodiesel. Extracts from the seeds also make for a cost effective form of water purification. Using moringa seed extract to filter water results in the removal of up to 99.99% of microbial life.
Moringa is just the latest line of all natural functional food products that are revolutionizing the way we see health and nutrition. By offering such a diverse selection of products that can be suited to any lifestyle, we help make the healthier choices the easier ones to make. This is part of our mission of building a cleaner, greener, and healthier world through the promotion of nutritious and sustainable superfoods.
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