The solution to this problem may actually lie with Moringa oleifera
, a tree that has all the vitamins and minerals, and all the amino acids needed for a healthy body. Moringa oleifera
is the scientific name for the so very popular drumstick
tree (Hindi - saijna, Tamil murungai). Grown in almost all tropical and sub-tropical regions, this fast-growing, drought-resistant tree is native to southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. According to the Sushruta Samhita
, cultivation of this tree in India dates back many thousands of years.
The tree grows rapidly even in poor soils; it is well adapted to droughts, and is able to reach up to 15 m in height. The flowers and the fruits appear twice each year, and seeds or cuttings are used to propagate the tree.
All parts of Moringa are used in some form or the other. Its leaves, immature pods (drumstick), seeds and flowers, and oil pressed from mature seeds are generally used as or in food. For example, flowers of M. oleifera
are rich in calcium, potassium and antioxidants, and are used in various dishes.
Leaves are an excellent source of protein
with 100 g of fresh raw leaves providing 9.8g of protein.
Fresh pods and seeds are a good source of a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid.
The seeds are used to treat allergies
, bacteria, neuralgia, abdominal tumors, and fever.
This multipurpose tree is one of those plants that are compatible for sustainable agriculture.
Moringa is used as forage for livestock.
The tree parts are used as adjuvant (agent that enhances the immune response to an antigen) in modern medicine.
Many parts and extracts of M. oleifera,
including root bark, are used for treating various ailments such as diabetes
, hypertension, inflammation and infectious diseases.
In traditional medicine it is used as anthelmintic, and also for treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ulcers, and gastrointestinal problems.
The plant is used as an aphrodisiac
to stimulate sex drive.
Moringa leaf can increase breast milk production
in the early period after childbirth.
Moringa oil is used in traditional medicine in treating snakebites or wounds. It is also used in hair care products and also as machine lubricants.
The seed cake left after oil extraction is used as fertilizer.
Moringa tree has been referred to as the Miracle tree for its versatility and experts all over the world believe Moringa to be an ideal plant to combat under-nutrition because of its nutritional benefits and availability. It has been estimated that fresh leaves of moringa plant contain -
4 times the vitamin A of carrots
7 times the vitamin C of oranges
4 times the calcium of milk
3 times the potassium of bananas
2 times the protein of yogurt
It is also a rich source of iron
having almost three-fourth of the amount present in spinach leaves.
Thus, Moringa oleifera
provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and protein amino acids with significantly less fat, less carbohydrate and fewer calories. Given its health and other benefits, Moringa is no wonder called the Tree of Life.