What if there was a plant naturally resistant to drought and disease that was easy to cultivate, and grew quickly and well in poor soil, with little care?
What if it also turned out to be a nutrient bomb, high in vitamins, trace minerals, and protein, and was used to combat malnutrition among women and children in underdeveloped tropical areas – especially during dry seasons, when other plants don’t grow?
Might be tempting to call it a miracle, huh?
Moringa Oleifera sounds like the name of a sultry flamenco dancer. (“He looked onto the eyes of the lovely Moringa, and now he spends all his nights drinking pulque while her heels beat a staccato rhythm on the cantina floor.”)
It is, however, actually a tree native to the Himalayan foothills of northwest India. First introduced to westerners in a 2006 Discovery Channel documentary, it’s part of Indian folklore and traditional medicine, and is cultivated in tropical areas all over the world, from Asia to Haiti to Hawaii.
It’s sometimes called the Drumstick Tree, because the edible seedpods look a little like drumsticks. The mature seeds and their oil are also edible, and seedcakes left after the oil is pressed can be used as fertilizer, or to filter and purify water – pretty much a model of environmental goodness.
It’s the tree’s abundant leaves that pack the nutritional punch, though. A hundred grams of them in fresh form have the same amount of iron as a steak, as much Vitamin C as an orange (170% of the adult requirement, according to one source), more potassium than a banana, and as much protein as an egg. It’s also a complete protein, providing all essential amino acids – one of the few plant sources that do so.
Moringa is a staple of diets in Asian cultures, where the leaves are cooked like spinach, the seeds are cooked like peas or roasted like nuts, and the seedpods and dried leaves are used in soups and curries. It’s primarily used as a natural supplement in the U.S., since its high vitamin, mineral, and protein content give it the potential to be anti-inflammatory and beneficial to the digestive and circulatory systems, and support anti-aging and energy production.
For information on Moringa Oleifera products: Lori MacAuley, (512) 294-4796, or firstname.lastname@example.org