Moringa, the tree that could end hunger in the world

If there’s one tree you should plant in your garden, it’s moringa. At least that’s what they say researchers from all over the world. Object of Lots of studies in different parts of the planet, this species from Asia and Africa is like a promise to fight against hunger. A natural resource you can benefit from leaves, roots, flowers and seeds, both as food and for health care.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is a tree rich in nutrients and antioxidants. It contains up to four times more calcium than animal milk and three times more potassium than bananas.

It is originally from India, but it is also known in other tropical countries, such as East Timor or Indonesia.

Nutritional value of Moringa.

This plant is rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This is why it is considered the most nutritious plant on the planet. 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants have been discovered.

This plant has a high nutritional value:

  • Seven times more vitamin C than an orange.
  • Four times more vitamin A than carrots.
  • Four times more calcium than cow’s milk.
  • Three times more iron than spinach.
  • Three times more potassium than bananas.
  • Rich in iron, beta-carotene, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, vitamins B and E.

The bibliography on the composition of moringa reports that the dry powder obtained from its leaves is very rich in protein (27% by weight), vitamin A, calcium (2 g per 100 g of dry leaf powder), potassium and vitamin C (17 mg per 100 grams).

Additionally, it is known to be green meat because it contains protein and a wide variety of nutrients. The most interesting is that all of its parts are edible: root, leaves, flowers, pods and seeds.

Are you impressed? There is more: the plant still has essential amino acids in its composition (those that must be ingested, because the human body does not produce) and it has medicinal properties. It is known as a super food.

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Moringa tree species.

There are 13 species of Moringa tree in the world, of the genus of the family MoringaceaeThe most common are Moringa pinopetala and Moringa oleifera.

The Moringa oleifera It is a fast growing tree, it can reach up to 4 meters in a year and reach a height of 12 meters. It adapts to hot, dry and arid areas. It is able to store water in the roots and the stem. It can be evergreen or deciduous, depending on the habitat.

Moringa uses.

Pods and seeds have been used for millennia to purify water. According to laboratory tests carried out by researchers at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, the species can remove up to 99% of the residues in water.

The secret lies in the seed, which contains oil and special proteins and, when pressed, generates a powder with properties capable of attracting bacteria, silt and clay. The power of nature is always awesome.

Nail investigation carried out by the Department of Chemistry of the Agricultural University of Faisalabad, Pakistan, is distinguished by an abundant mineral profile, a good source of amino acids and proteins, vitamins, beta-carotene and antioxidants of a different nature, as well as by various phenolic compounds (zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid and kaempferol).

the oil from its seeds can be used both in salads and fuel in lamps. It is also used to make biodiesel.

Its wood can be used as firewood and to make charcoal or cellulose for paper.

Its leaves can be used as a fertilizer and as a fungicide to control fungi that attack the roots.

Interest in Moringa is growing all over the world, in Ethiopia for example, its production is growing throughout the country. Moringa powder is increasingly available in urban supermarkets in Ethiopia. Research is ongoing on the tree and its nutritional value.

Image: Luis Echeverri Urrea Shutterstock

Properties and benefits of Moringa.

Among its properties we can highlight:

  • Increases the energy of the body.
  • It can relieve minor pain.
  • Stimulates the immune system.
  • It can regulate insomnia or anxiety.
  • One of the main properties of moringa is its antioxidant power. They protect our cells against aging and degenerative diseases.
  • Fight anemia.
  • Improves breast milk.
  • May improve glucose tolerance in diabetics. It can help lower blood sugar.
  • Stimulates cellular metabolism.
  • It can help hair growth.
  • Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
  • The seeds have a high antibacterial power. It will help us fight infections.
  • It can help strengthen your muscles and bones.
  • It can help lower blood pressure.
  • It can help fight asthma.

Where does it grow?

This tree is native to northern India, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Sudan, although it is abundant in many other countries. It is currently cultivated in Africa, Tropical Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Florida and the Pacific Islands.

In Latin America, it is mainly found in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Also in Paraguay and Argentina.

Contraindications.

Experts recommend to moderate its consumption, because we can find side effects such as loss of sleep, excess red blood cells or heartburn.

It has been used for many years to fight famine in poor countries, but we cannot use it indiscriminately because we cannot it is harmless. So always consult a specialist or your doctor before changing your diet.

How can it be consumed.

All of its parts are edible, both by humans and animals.

The roots are similar in shape to carrots, but smaller and with a spicier flavor. They can be used in salads. But it is important to remove the skin, because it is poisonous.

Its leaves can be used in salads, cooked, as tea or as a condiment for soup.

The flowers can be used in pineapple, apple, orange, lemon juices or with carrot and beetroot.

With the flowers, you can also make a medicinal tea, which is taken for flu and colds.

The pods can be cooked and eaten for lunch or dinner.

Its seeds can be eaten roasted and cooked (like beans). It is possible to extract its oil.