Moringa Oleifera – Pepper Bark tree
THE MIRACLE TREE – THE TREE OF LIFE
IHMEPUU – ELÄMÄN PUU
This natural medical tree, Moringa Oleifera, has been called a Miracle Tree and a Tree of Life because of its many qualities. This tree is called with many names, such as “Drumstick-tree”, “Mother’s Best Friend -tree” and “Horseradish-tree” because its roots taste resembles horseradish. Also a Pepper Bark Tree, because of its “hot” taste. The names indicate the diverse characteristics of this tree and the great value of use. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds and roots of the tree have been used for food and medicine. Moringa is one of the most useful trees on earth.
Moringa has traditionally been used as an antioxidant for a “tired blood” and to balance blood pressure and sugar levels in the blood.
In Zimbabwe, according to traditional knowledge, Moringa is used for potency. It has been extensively used to treat the deficiency conditions caused by food scarcity. Traditionally, it was taken as a travel lunch box to the long trekking trips for this very reason.
The herb is also known in Ayurveda
The oil extracted from its seeds is comparative for olive oil, if not better, with its nutritional content. In developing countries, oil is burned in kettles and lamps.
Moringa oil is used in beauty products. It has been found to have many skin-caring properties, such as cleansing, moisturising and emollient. In addition to hair care products, soaps and other skincare products. It has been used in addition to skin problems and illnesses.
The residues of oil compression are used as fertilizer and also to purify the source and well water, as well as to remove salt from seawater.
Interestingly this tree is also the factor that its seeds are used in many developing countries as a water purier. This has been studied a lot, f.ex. at the University of Uppsala, when scientists are looking for an inexpensive way to clean drinking water in those countries where the impure water causes illnesses and even death.
The water purifying part of this tree is in its seeds.
Nutritional analysis shows that the leaves contain a lot of protein and also all the essential amino acids, containing exactly the two amino acids that are important in the diet.
Moringa contains proteins, amino acids, vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as minerals. As an antioxidant it seems to help protect cells from damage.
It is said to be the best herbal food you can find
Used for undernourishment
Moringa is an important source of food in several parts of the world. It is easy and cheap to grow and its leaves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals when dried. Moringa is used aot in India and Africa in feeding programs against malnutrition. The young green pod parts (the drum block) are produced in the same way as green beans. The seeds are collected more from mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts. The leaves are cooked to food like spinach and used in dried powder form in food as a spice.
The Moringa tree grows rapidly and is easy to plant, therefore it has been used against malnutrition. It can grow over 10 mo to 3 m in length. It thrives in dry soil.
“Moringa is a promising tool for serious problems, such as malnutrition, unclean water, poverty and forest loss, in developing countries. The tree thrives at its best in dry areas, that is where many of the problems manifest the widest “, says Andrew Young was a former United Nations ambassador.
“Although few people have heard about it today, Moringa has the opportunity to become one of the most valuable plants on our planet, at least in a humanitarian sense.”- Noel Vietmeyer, US National Academy of Sciences Washington D.C. “
Moringa Oleifera in History
Moringa was truly high valued in the ancient world. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians made extraction to edible oil from its seeds and used it as perfume and in skin cream. In the 1800 century, Moringa plantations in western India took oil into Europe for perfume and machine lubricants. People on the Indian subcontinent have long used Moringan’s pods as food. Edible leaves are used as food around West Africa and parts of Asia.
In Zimbabwe is the name of the tree Mupulanga. This tree is involved in many tree planting programs. Tree is used as a potent and dietary supplement and it has been also utilized in traditional medical treatment as a medicine for diarrhea and dental pain.
Comparison of nutritional values
It is claimed to contain a multiple number of nutrients in 100 grams:
4 x more calcium than in milk,
4 x more vitamins than carrots,
2 x more protein than milk,
3 x more potassium than bananas
7 x more vitamin C, than in orange.
List of alleged Moringa Oleifera qualities and uses
- Against malnutrition
- Protects cells from damage
- Traditionally used for potency
- Thyroid disorders
- High blood pressure
- kidney stones
- Moringa is used to correct malnutrition in poor countries and in scientific journals are writing about this, due to Moringas nutritional and medical properties.
- Moringa is used according to traditional uses for anemia, arthritis and other joint pains, rheumatism, asthma, constipation, diabetes, diarrhoea, epilepsy, abdominal pain, stomach and gut ulcers, intestinal spasms, headache, high blood pressure, fluid accumulation, bacterial, fungal, viral infections, and infections caused by parasites.
- Other great impressive features of Moringa Oleifera are said to include the following: such as the drug in the stomach ulcers, liver booster, antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-hypertensive, tumours. To mention here also as interesting point is that, because of its uses in traditional medicine, there have been several studies of Moringa’s effects in cancer treatment with positive results
- Moringa is also traditionally used to reduce swelling, increase sexual function (as aphrodisiac), improve the immune system and increase milk production.
- Some people use it as a dietary supplement or as a tonic (a strengthening herb).
Seeds of Moringa Oleifera trees can be used to clean water. Uppsala University in addition to many others, leads a research team that has found that seed material can enhance the purification process more than the traditional synthetic materials currently in use.
The cause for this has been found to be the positively charged cationic protein (MOCP) of Moringa Oleifera
Nutritional values of 100 gr Moringa powder:
All values are calculated as 100 grams per edible dose fresh and dried leaves: Arginine 406.6 mg 1.325 mg histidine 149.8 mg 613 mg isoleucine 299.6 mg 825 mg leucine 492.2 mg 1.950 mg lysine 342.4 mg 1.325 mg methionine 117.7 mg 350 mg Phenylalanine 310.3 mg 1.388 mg treonin 117.7 mg 1.188 mg Tryptophan 107 mg 425 mg valine 374.5 mg 1.063 mg
The number of vitamins and minerals in the moringa leaves * All values are calculated as 100 grams per edible dose. Fresh leaves or dried leaves: Carotene (Vit. A) * 6.78 mg 18.9 mg thiamin (B1) 0.06 mg 2.64 mg riboflavin (B2) 0.05 mg 20.5 mg Niacin (B3) 0.8 mg 8.2 mg Vitamin C 220 mg 17.3 mg Calcium 440 mg 2.003 mg calories 92 Cal 205 cal carbohydrates 12.5 g 38.2 g copper 0.07 mg 0.57 mg fat 1.70 g 2.3 g fiber 0.90 g 19.2 g iron 0.85 mg 28.2 mg Magnesium 42 mg 368 mg Phosphorus 70 mg 204 mg Potassium 259 mg 1.324 mg protein 6.70 g 27.1 g Zinc 0.16 mg 3.29 mg
The above is based on analyses made by Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association.