by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Often referred to as the "miracle tree" because of its uniquely diverse array of nutritional, medicinal, and purifying properties, Moringa oleifera is a little-known, and highly undervalued, "superfood" treasure with incredible potential to greatly improve health and eliminate hunger around the world. This whole food plant contains high amounts of protein, all eight essential amino acids, a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and a plethora of phytonutrients and other powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.
Natively found in the southern foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in northern India, Moringa is widely cultivated today throughout Africa, Central and South America, and many parts of Asia. Because of its many valuable uses, and the fact that it grows so quickly and easily in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical climates, Moringa is quickly becoming a go-to plant for combating malnutrition, treating inflammation, promoting healthy blood flow, and preventing infection, among other things.
Moringa, the multi-purpose superfood with endless health benefitsWhat is particularly unique about Moringa is the fact that every part of the plant, including its bark, leaves, flowers, and roots serves a unique purpose in promoting human health. Its seeds, for instance, contain up to 40 percent of a non-drying, edible oil known as "Ben Oil" that is rich in antioxidants and similar in its nutritional profile to olive oil. The clear, sweet, odorless oil also has an indefinite shelf life, as it does not turn rancid like many other oils.
"The leaves, flowers, seeds, pods, roots, bark, gum, and seed oil from the Moringa (malunggay) plant are continually being subjected to intensive research and development programs because the various constituents of the Moringa are known to have, among other properties, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor, and anti-aging activities," writes Nelly Favis-Villafuerte for the Manila Bulletin about Moringa.
Perhaps the most utilized component of Moringa is its leaves, which can be dried and ground up into a nutrient-dense, tart-flavored powder. According to another report in the Manila Bulletin, Moringa powder contains seven times the amount of vitamin C typically found in oranges, four times the amount of vitamin A in carrots, 36 times the amount of magnesium in eggs, 25 times the amount of iron in spinach, 50 times the amount of vitamin B3 in peanuts, and 50 times the vitamin B2 in bananas. (http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/215853/moringa-the-miracle-plant)
Like Ben Oil, Moringa leaf powder does not spoil, which makes it an excellent long-term survival food. Particularly in third world countries, Moringa powder provides nutritional sustenance at a level unparalleled by most other food plants. And because Moringa seeds can grow to full-size, harvestable trees in as few as 65 days, the Moringa plant is a highly-sustainable source of food that is virtually unmatched in its viability and usefulness.
If you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 9, 10, or 11, you can very easily, with very little maintenance, grow your own outdoor Moringa trees at home. If you live in a cooler climate, you can either grow your own Moringa trees indoors or in a greenhouse, or purchase pure Moringa powder, oil, and tea products from various online vendors.
The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotene, magnesium andprotein, among other nutrients reported by the USDA, shown in the table, right column. When compared with common foods particularly high in certain nutrients, fresh moringa leaves are considerable sources of these same nutrients.
|Nutrients||Common food||Moringa Leaves|
|Vitamin A||Carrot||1.8 mg||6.8 mg|
|Calcium||Milk||120 mg||440 mg|
|Potassium||Banana||88 mg||259 mg|
|Protein||Yogurt||3.1 g||6.7 g|
|Vitamin C||Orange||30 mg||220 mg|
Some of the calcium in moringa leaves is bound as crystals of calcium oxalate which may inhibit calcium availability to the body. It is not clear whether the calculation of the reported amount of calcium in moringa leaves includes such non-bioavailable calcium.
The leaves are cooked and used like spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder used in soups and sauces. It is important to remember that like most plants heating moringa above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will destroy some of the nutritional value.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||64 kcal (270 kJ)|
|- Dietary fiber||2.0 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||378 μg (47%)|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.257 mg (22%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.660 mg (55%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||2.220 mg (15%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.125 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin B6||1.200 mg (92%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||40 μg (10%)|
|Vitamin C||51.7 mg (62%)|
|Calcium||185 mg (19%)|
|Iron||4.00 mg (31%)|
|Magnesium||147 mg (41%)|
|Manganese||0.36 mg (17%)|
|Phosphorus||112 mg (16%)|
|Potassium||337 mg (7%)|
|Sodium||9 mg (1%)|
|Zinc||0.6 mg (6%)|
|Percentages are relative to|
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Sources for this article include: