The Moringa tree, or Moringa oleifera, grows in tropical regions and is common in Latin America, Asia and Africa. It can handle drought well and blooms only eight months after planting. Moringa is helpful in water purification, preventing malnutrition and much more. Although every part of this astonishing tree is believed to be useful, more research is needed to discover its full potential.
The leaves of the Moringa tree contain vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, calcium and protein. Because of their vast nutritional value, even a small number of leaves can save a life. The leaves can be cooked or made into a powder and sprinkled on food. Other known uses for the leaves include treatment of diarrhea and crushing them for use as a cleaning agent.
The crushed seeds of the Moringa tree can remove harmful bacteria from water through a simple filtering process, making the water suitable for drinking. The seeds also produce an oil that is used in cooking and to make fertilizer, fuel, soap, moisturizer and perfume.
Moringa pods are commonly used in Indian curries and pickles. Nearly as nutritious as the leaves, they too are effective in the fight against malnutrition. The pods also treat liver and spleen problems and joint pain.
The delicate white Moringa flower is pretty, but its value goes beyond decoration. The juice of the flower is consumed by breastfeeding mothers to improve the quality of breast milk, and it is helpful in the treatment of urinary problems, because it encourages urination. The flower is also boiled in water to make a tea, which is used as a cold remedy.
Many other parts of the Moringa tree have useful properties. Cardiac and circulatory problems can be treated with the bark and roots; the fiber from the bark is used to make ropes. The wood creates a blue dye, and the pulp makes paper. The gum of the tree is useful in treating asthma. Research continues to identify new uses for the Moringa tree. Trees for Life and the Miracle Trees Foundation are working to provide Moringa seeds to countries that can benefit most from them.