Don’t let the naïve appearance of a Moringa tree fool you. In reality, this tree is a dietary dynamite and loaded with 42%protein, 22% Vitamin C, 71% iron, 61% Magnesium and so on! Chiefly growing in developing subtropical countries where malnutrition is rampant, Moringa is like mother nature’s gift to her starving children. Apart from being nourishing, it is inexpensive, drought-resistant, and doesn’t lose its nutritional values after being cooked, dried, or grounded to a powder for storage.
No wonder, Moringa is used by governments and NGOs in feeding programs to combat malnutrition in tropical countries. You can reap the benefits of Moringa too, but before that let’s take a look at few interesting Moringa facts.
Where does Moringa grow?
Moringa is native to the northern region of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, owing to its affinity toward dry climate and sandy soil, it is now cultivated successfully in Africa, Sri Lanka, Central and South America, and Malaysia. The eastern Caribbean Islands are great for Moringa cultivation too. So don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of this amazing tree in The Caribbean Islands of Antigua, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, and Saba.
It’s not a newbie in the world of health!
The history of Moringa is as fascinating as its benefits. The immense benefits of Moringa were evident to the Indians, Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks since 2000 BC as indicated by ancient scriptures. The Ancient Indian medicine system or Ayurveda used Moringa leaves to prevent more than 300 diseases, the Egyptians used its oil to protect their skin from sunburn. In 1817, a petition was presented to Jamaica’s House of Assembly to point out its culinary uses and posing it as an illuminant which produces light without smoke.
The miracles of Moringa
Many people believe Moringa to be ‘The Miracle Tree’ in the Garden of Eden as cited in the Bible. While the authenticity of this folklore is yet to be proven, its benefits are indeed too many and diverse for it not to be true. Moringa takes care of our health, acts as a disinfectant, enhances crop yields, purifies water, and is great as livestock fodder. Its oil works as a machine lubricant too!
A disease fighter: Moringa is highly effective against anemia, asthma, constipation, alimentary ulcers, chronic joint pains, fluid retention, cardiac disorders, kidney stones, headaches, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, and gum disease – the list is endless! So, if you are willing to promote healthy eating in your meals, make sure that Moringa tops your healthy food chart.
An immunity-booster: Moringa leaves strengthen your immune system and help you fight against parasitic, bacterial, fungal or viral infections. It is also applied topically to prevent infections in abscesses or wounds, treat snakebites, and get rid of dandruff.
A cancer combatant: Moringa leaves are found to contain antioxidants which have the potential to inhibit the activation of lymphoma cells and hence help in cancer prevention
An aphrodisiac: Include Moringa in your diet and get rid of your bedroom blues by increasing your sex drive.
Uses of Moringa oil: Apart from being used as a lubricant, Moringa oil can make your salads taste awesome! It’s a regular in hair care products and perfumes too.
Food for cattle: The young branches and leaves are fed to the livestock to increase their weight gain and boost milk production.
A fertilizer: After extracting the oil, the oilcake is used as a fertilizer in agricultural fields to enhance plant growth.
A water-purifier: The oilcake is loaded with chemicals which remove the solid particles in water along with the bacteria which adhere to them. Yet it’s much cheaper than most chemical water-purifiers and can be produced locally. Seems like alum has a tough competition!
While Moringa is bursting with health benefits, it has its side-effects too. Its roots are reported to contain a toxic component, moriginine. Pregnant women are advised to refrain from having Moringa since the ingestion of certain chemicals in its bark and flowers can lead to uterine contraction and even miscarriage. Even lactating mothers should avoid if they are breast-feeding.
So are you ready to experience the magic of Moringa?
By Liya Das
Image credit – Traditional Medicinal Uses of Moringa – http://jookylim.blogspot.in/search/label/FROM%20%20www.TrueHealthandHealing.org