Moringa the best tree on earth (The Miracle Tree)
Updated: Feb 3, 2020
Called the Miracle Tree, it's no surprise that Moringa Oleifera is considered by many as THE most important tree in the modern world.
Moringa contains an amazing 92 nutrients and 46 natural antioxidants.
Here's everything you need to know to back up this bold claim.
Below is a list of just a few benefits of including Moringa into our diets:
Reduces weight gain.
Helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Helps the body convert fats into energy.
Reduce fatigue and improve energy levels.
And this is just the tip of the Moringa iceberg!
Background of the Moringa Tree
Moringa Oleifera is also commonly known as muringa, the tree of life, the miracle tree, the drumstick tree, the horseradish tree, the ben oil tree, and finally the benzoil tree.
Moringa trees are the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa and the only genus in the Moringaceae plant family.
Moringa oleifera is a rapid-growing, drought-resistant tree, that is native to tropical and subtropical regions in South Asia.
It is cultivated for its fresh young seed pods and leaves and used as vegetables and many traditional herbal medicines. It can also be used for the purpose of water purification.
Moringa trees are regarded as an aggressive and invasive species.
The tree of life is considered a fast-growing, deciduous tree that often reaches a height of 10–12 m with a trunk diameter of 45cm.
The bark has a white-grey color and is surrounded by thick cork. Young shoots have a purplish/greenish-white, hairy bark.
Moringa trees have an open crown of drooping branches that are quite fragile. The Moringa leaves accumulate feathery foliage of tripinnate (feather-like) leaves.
Moringa flowers are hermaphroditic and fragrant, surrounded by 5 unequal, thinly veined, white-yellowish petals.
They grow on delicate slender, hairy stalks in drooping/spreading flowering clusters.
Moringa flowering begins within the first 6 months after planting. In seasonally cold regions, flowering only occurs once a year between April and June. In more constant seasonal temperatures and with continuous rainfall, flowering can occur twice and even all year round.
The Moringa seed pods are hanging, three-sided brown capsules which hold dark brown, globular seeds (diameter around 1 cm.) The seeds have three white papery wings that are dispersed by water and wind.
Moringa trees are grown mainly in tropical, subtropical areas, and the semiarid regions.
It tolerates wide-ranging soil conditions, preferring a neutral to slightly acidic, and well-drained sandy or loamy soil.
In waterlogged soil, the roots are susceptible to rotting.
The Moringa tree is a sun and heat loving plant that does not tolerate frosts or freezing. Moringa is particularly suitable for arid regions. It can be grown using rainwater without requiring expensive irrigation techniques.
Moringa cultivation involves cutting back annually to 1m and allowing to regrow, so the pods and leaves remain within easy reach.
Climate - Grows best in tropical or subtropical
Altitude - 0 – 2000m
Rainfall - 250 – 3000mm
Irrigation is required for leaf production if rainfall < 800mm
Soil Type - Loamy, sandy, or sandy-loam
Soil pH - pH 5 – 9
Moringa can be easily propagated from seed or cuttings. Direct seeding is attainable because the germination rate of Moringa oleifera is very high. Moringa seeds can be germinated all year round in well-draining soil. Cuttings of 1m length and at least 4cm diameter can be used for propagation.
Planting Moringa Trees
For maximum leaf production, the spacing of plants should be 15 x 15cm or 20 x 10cm, with conveniently spaced alleyways (for example every 4m) to facilitate farm management and harvesting.
Weeding and disease prevention can be challenging because of high density. In a semi-intensive production, plants are spaced 50cm to 1m apart. This gives good results with much less maintenance.
Moringa trees can also be cultivated in alleyways and associated near other crops. Distances between moringa rows in agroforestry cultivation are usually between 2 - 4m.
Moringa Yields & Harvests
Moringa oleifera is cultivated for its leaves, pods, and kernels (for oil extraction and water purification.) The yields vary widely, depending on the season, variety, fertilization, and irrigation.
Moringa yields the best under warm and dry conditions with some supplemental fertilizer and basic irrigation.
Harvest is usually done manually with knives.
Pollarding, lopping, coppicing, or pruning is recommended to promote branching, increase production, and facilitate harvesting.
Moringa Seed Pods
When the plants are grown from cuttings, the first harvest can take place 6–8 months after planting. Often, the moringa seeds are not produced in the first year. The yield is generally lowest during the first few years of planting.
By year two, Moringa produces around 300 pods, by year three around 400–500. A good tree can yield 1000 seed pods.
In India, one hectare can produce 31 tons of pods per year.
Average yields of 6 tons/ha/year of new matter can be achieved. The harvest differs between the dry and rainy seasons, with 1130 kg/ha per harvest and 680 kg/ha per harvest.
The leaves and stems can are harvested from the young plants around 60 days after seeding and another seven times in the year. At each harvest, the trees are cut back to within 60cm of the ground.
In some production systems, the leaves are intensively harvested every 2 weeks.
Moringa cultivation can also be done intensively with irrigation and fertilization with suitable varieties.
One estimate for the yield of oil from kernels is 250 l/ha. The oil can be used as a healthy food supplement, as a base for cosmetics, and for hair and skin.
Pests and diseases of Moringa
Moringa trees are not affected by any severe illnesses. In India, several insect pests are seen, such as the bark eating caterpillar, the hairy caterpillar or the green leaf caterpillar. The budworms Noctuidae are known to cause severe defoliation. Damage can also be caused by aphids, fruit flies, and stem borers. In some regions, termites can cause minor damage.
The moringa tree is a potential host to Leveillula taurica (powdery mildew which can cause damage in papaya crops.)
Nutrients of Moringa oleifera leaf (raw)
Nutritional value per 100g (3.5 oz)
Energy - 64 kcal (270kJ)
Carbohydrates - 8.28g
Dietary fiber - 2.0g
Fat - 1.40g
Protein - 9.40g
Vitamins Quantity %DV†
Vitamin A - 47% 378μg
Thiamine (B1) - 22% 0.257mg
Riboflavin (B2) - 55% 0.660mg
Niacin (B3) - 15% 2.220mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) - 3% 0.125mg
Vitamin B6 - 92% 1.200mg
Folate (B9) - 10% 40μg
Vitamin C - 62% 51.7mg
Minerals Quantity %DV†
Calcium - 19% 185mg
Iron - 31% 4.00mg
Magnesium - 41% 147mg
Manganese - 17% 0.36mg
Phosphorus - 16% 112mg
Potassium - 7% 337mg
Sodium - 1% 9mg
Zinc - 6% 0.6mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water - 78.66g
μg - micrograms
mg - milligrams
IU - International units
†% are approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Moringa oleifera pods (raw)
Nutritional value per 100g (3.5oz)
Energy - 37kcal (150kJ)
Carbohydrates - 8.53g
Dietary fiber - 3.2g
Fat - 0.20g
Protein - 2.10g
Vitamins Quantity %DV†
Vitamin A equiv. - 1% 4 μg
Thiamine (B1) - 5% 0.0530 mg
Riboflavin (B2) - 6% 0.074 mg
Niacin (B3) - 4% 0.620 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) - 16% 0.794 mg
Vitamin B6 - 9% 0.120 mg
Folate (B9) - 11% 44 μg
Vitamin C - 170% 141.0 mg
Minerals Quantity %DV†
Calcium - 3% 30 mg
Iron - 3% 0.36 mg
Magnesium - 13% 45 mg
Manganese - 12% 0.259 mg
Phosphorus - 7% 50 mg
Potassium - 10% 461 mg
Sodium - 3% 42 mg
Zinc - 5% 0.45 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water - 88.20 g
Many parts of the Moringa are edible, with regional uses varying widely:
Immature seed pods (drumsticks)
Oil pressed from seeds
The leaves of the Moringa tree are by far the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of C vitamins, vitamin B, provitamin A as beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin K, and protein, amongst other essential nutrients. When compared with more common foods particularly high in certain nutrients per 100g fresh weight, cooked moringa leaves are excellent sources of these same nutrients. Some of the calcium from moringa leaves is bound as crystals of calcium oxalate though at levels 1/25th - 1/45th of that found in spinach (a negligible amount.)
The leaves are cooked and used much like spinach and are commonly dried and crushed into a powder used in soups and sauces.
Moringa leaves treat asthma, hyperglycemia, Dyslipidemia, flu, heartburn, syphilis, malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, headaches, skin diseases, scurvy, bronchitis, ear, and eye infections. The leaves also reduce, blood pressure and cholesterol and acts as antimicrobial, anticancer, Antioxidant, antidiabetic and anti-atherosclerotic agents, neuroprotectant
Moringa vegetable pods
The immature seed pods are commonly consumed in South Asia. They are prepared by parboiling and then cooked in a curry until soft. The seed pods, even after cooked by boiling, maintain high levels of vitamin C (which may be degraded variably by cooking) they are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
Moringa pods treat diarrhea, liver and spleen problems, and joint pain.
The seeds are sometimes removed from the more mature pods and eaten like roasted nuts, contain a high level of vitamin C and moderate amounts of B vitamins and other dietary minerals.
Seeds of moringa help in treating hyperthyroidism, Crohn's disease, rheumatism, gout, antiherpes-simplex virus arthritis, cramp, epilepsy, and sexually transmitted diseases. The seeds can also act as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents.
Moringa Seed Oil
Mature seeds yield 38 to 40% edible oil called ben oil from its high concentration of behenic acid. Refined oil is clear and odorless and rancidity resistant. The seed cake byproduct remaining after oil extraction can be used as a fertilizer or as a flocculent to purify water. Moringa seed oil has the potential for use as a biofuel. Using the cold press method (<132 degrees F) yields 14% (about the same amount of yield in a raw press using no heat.)
The roots are often shredded and used as a condiment with sharp flavor qualities due to the significant content of polyphenols.
Moringa Root bark acts as an effective cardiac stimulant, anti-ulcer, and anti-inflammatory agent.
Using Moringa for Malnutrition relief
Moringa trees can be used to fight malnutrition, especially amongst infants and nursing mothers. Since Moringa flourishes in arid and semiarid environments, it provides a versatile, nutritious food source all year round. Moringa leaves have an iron-rich food source that can help combat iron deficiency. However, additional studies are needed to test practical applications of using this dietary source and its iron bioavailability.
Moringa has numerous applications in cookery throughout its regional distribution. The seed pods, known as drumsticks, are a culinary vegetable commonly used in soups and curries. The leaves are also widely eaten with varied culinary uses, and the flowers are used in some recipes.
Long drumsticks are n cut into short lengths and stewed in soups and curries. Because the outer skins are tough and fibrous, drumsticks are often chewed to extract juices and nutrients, with the leftover fibrous material discarded. Others describe a slightly different method by sucking out the flesh and tender seeds and discarding the tube of skin.
Traditional dishes which include drumsticks prepared this way are South Indian sambar where it's stewed with lentils andThai Kaeng som which is a sour curry with fish and drumsticks.
The leaves can be used in various ways, perhaps most commonly added to broth based soups, such as the Filipino dishes utan and tinola. Tender moringa leaves, chopped, are used as a garnish for salads and vegetable dishes, such as the Kerala dish thoran. It can also be used instead of or along with coriander.
Despite Moringas reputation in the lay press as a "superfood," there is no scientific evidence that it provides additional nutritional benefits beyond those of a healthy diet or has any unique pharmacological effects or anti-disease activities in humans.
Moringa Research & Traditional Medicine
The bark, roots, sap, seeds, leaves, and flowers are used in conventional medicine. Research has examined how Moringa might affect blood lipid profiles, although it is not effective at diagnosing, treating, or preventing any human diseases.
Extracts from leaves contain low amounts of polyphenols which are under basic research for their potential properties. Despite considerable preliminary research regarding the biological properties of moringa components, few high-quality studies on humans justify its use to treat human diseases.
Potential Adverse Effects of Taking Moringa
Various adverse effects may occur from consuming the moringa bark, roots, or flowers and their extracts. These components contain chemicals that could be toxic when eaten. Moringa should not be used concurrently with prescribed drugs affecting cytochrome P450 (including CYP3A4), the diabetes drug sitagliptin, or during pregnancy.
Other Uses of Moringa
In developing countries, the Moringa tree has the potential to improve nutrition, boosting food security, foster rural development, and support sustainable land care. It may be used as additional forage for livestock, a micronutrient liquid, a natural anthelmintic, and possible adjuvant.
Moringa oleifera leaf powder can be used as effective as soap for hand washing when wetted in advance (this enables anti-septic and detergent properties from phytochemicals in the leaves.) Moringa oleifera seeds and its press cake have been implemented as wastewater conditioners for dewatering and drying fecal sludge.
Water purification with Moringa seeds
Moringa seed cake (obtained after the of pressing seeds to get oil,) is used to filter water to produce potable water for animal or human consumption. Moringa seeds contain dimeric cationic proteins that absorb and neutralize colloidal charges in turbid water, causing colloidal particles to clump together, making suspended particles easier to remove as sludge by either settling or filtration. Moringa seed cake eliminates the majority of impurities from water. This is of particular interest for being non-toxic and sustainable compared to other materials in moringa-growing regions where drinking water is affected by various pollutants.
Moringa Health Benefits
1. Moringa is packed with nutrients
Moringa is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Moringa contains large amounts of vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, calcium, and protein.
2. Moringa fights free radicals
Antioxidants fight cell damage, free radicals, molecules that cause oxidative stress, and inflammation.
Moringa leaves, flowers, and seeds contain antioxidants called flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and polyphenols.
A study found that Moringa leaf extracts had higher levels of antioxidant activity and higher inhibition of lipid, free-radical-scavenging capacity, protein, and DNA oxidation than the flowers and seeds.
This helps prevent damage and degradation that free radicals cause to cells of different organs in the body, keeping them healthy and maintaining functionality.
3. Moringa fights inflammation
Inflammation can lead to diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, arthritis, and obesity. Moringa can reduce inflammation by suppressing the inflammatory enzymes and proteins in the body. Moringa leaf concentrate can significantly lower the inflammation in cells.
4. Moringa helps to reduce diabetes symptoms
Moringa leaf powder can be effective at reducing glucose and lipid and levels and regulating oxidative stress in diabetics, which means it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar and improves protection against cell damage.
5. Moringa protects cardiovascular systems
Moringa leaf powder has heart-healthy benefits, especially in blood lipid control, preventing plaque forming in the arteries, and reducing cholesterol levels.
6. Moringa supports brain health
Moringa helps support brain health and cognitive function due to its antioxidant and neuro-enhancer properties. It's also been tested as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease with favorable initial results.
Its high content of the vitamins C and E fight the oxidation that leads to neuron degeneration, thus improving brain function. It's able to normalize the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline dopamine in the brain, which play a crucial role in memory, mood, organ functions, responses to stimulus such as mental health, stress, and pleasure, for example in psychosis and depression.
7. Moringa protects our livers
Moringa contains high amounts of polyphenols in its leaves and flowers that protect the liver against oxidation, toxicity, and damage.
Moringa can reduce fibrosis liver damage and reverse oxidation of the liver. Moringa oil can also restore the liver enzymes to normal levels, helps reduce oxidative stress, and increases the protein content of the liver.
The liver is responsible for fat metabolism, blood detoxification, bile production, fructose metabolism, and nutrient processing. It can only carry out these functions with the livers enzymes, so it's vital they remain at normal levels. For example, lower levels of hepatic enzymes may impair its ability to filter the blood.
8. Moringa contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
Moringa has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that fight infections. It's effective against types of fungi that cause infections on skin and certain strains of bacteria responsible for urinary tract and blood infections and digestive problems.
9. Moringa enhances wound healing
Moringa boasts blood-clotting properties in its roots, leaves, and seeds that aid wound healing and can reduce clotting time, meaning it reduces the time it takes for scratches, cuts, or wounds to stop bleeding.
How to Use Moringa in day to day life
You can add Moringa to your smoothie, or you can drink it as a tea. The leaf powder is deemed safe in human studies, even in larger doses than usual. The powder has a mild flavor, that makes for a light, refreshing Moringa tea with a slightly earthy taste.
Here are Moringa's Nutrients:
01. Iron 64. Pentena
02. Copper 65. Hexenal
03. Sodium 66. Heptenal
04. Calcium 67.2 Heptadienal
05. Magnesium Alcohols
06. Phosphorus 68. Pentenol
07. Potassium 69. Dimethyl-Cyclohexanol
08. Sulfur 70. Benzyl alcohol
09. Manganese Ketones
10. Zinc 71. Methyl heptenone
11. Selenium 72. Hexen
Vitamins 73. Acetyl pyrrole
12. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 74. Dihydroactinidolide
13. Vitamin E Terpenoids
14. Vitamin B1 75. Himachalene
15. Vitamin B6 76. Geranyl acetone
16. Vitamin B7 77. beta-Ionone
17. Vitamin D Acids
18. Vitamin K 78. Acetic acid
19. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 79. Pentanoic acid
20. Vitamin B3 (niacin) 80. Hexanoic acid
21. Vitamin C 81. Octadecanoic acid
Amino acids 82. Hexadecanoic acid
22. Aspartic acid 83. Erythrobic acid
23. Glutamic acid 84. Citric acid
24. Serine Others
25. Glycine 85. Chlorophyll
26. Threonine 86. Dihydrozeatin
27. Alanine 87. Zeatin
28. Valine 88. Carbohydrates
29. Leucine 89. Fibers
30. Isoleucine Alkaloids
31. Histidine 90. Moringine
32. Lysine 91. Strophantidin
33. Arginine 92. A-l-rhamnosyloxy
34. Phenylalanine 93. Benzyl isothiocyanate
35. Tryptophan 94. Acetyl-α-l-rhamnosyloxy
36. Cystine 95. Benzyl isothioyanate
37. Proline Flavonoids
38. Tyrosine 96. Catechin
39. Methionine 97. Glucopyranosyl
40. Cysteine 98. Benzyl thiocarboxamide
41. Phenylalanine 99. Epicatechin
42. Choline 100. 4-O-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)
Fats 101. Benzyl glucosinolate
43. Myristic 102. Quercetin
44. Palmitic 103. Rhamnopyranosyloxy
45. Palmitoleic 104. Kaempferol
46. Stearic 105. Niazimicin
47. Oleic 106. 4-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)
48. Linoleic 107. Benzyl acetonitrile (niazirin)
49. Linolenic 108. O-ethyl-4-(α-l-rhamnosyloxy)
50. Arachidic 109. Benzyl carmate
51. Eicosenoic Phenolic
52. Behenic 110. Gallic acid
53. Lignoceric 111. Glycerol-1-1-(9-octadecanoate)
Sterols 112. Coumaric acid
54. Cholesterol 113. Glucopyranosyl
55. Brassicasterol 114. Ferulic acid
56. Methylenecholesterol 115. β-sitosterol-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside
57. Campesterol 116. Caffeic acid
58. Stigmasterol 117. Hydroxy rhamnopyranosyloxy
59. Ergostadienol 118. Benzyl glucosinolate
60. Clerosterol 119. Protocatechuic acid
61. Stigmastanol 120. Rhamnopyranosyloxy
62. Sitosterol 121. Benzyl glucosinolate
63. Venasterol 122. Cinnamic acid
124. Ellagic acid
Here are Moringa's Natural Antioxidants:
05. Chlorogenic acid
06. Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
07. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
09. Propyl gallate
10. Vitamin E (tocopherols)
11. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
12. Glucose oxidase
13. Reduced Glutathione
14. Citric acid
16. Aminopolycarboxylic acids
21. Benzyl isothiocyanate
23. benzyl isothioyanate
26. Benzyl thiocarboxamide
29. benzyl glucosinolate
35. Benzyl acetonitrile (niazirin)
37. Benzyl carmate
38. Gallic acid
40. P-Coumaric acid
42. Ferulic acid
44. Caffeic acid
46. Benzyl glucosinolate
47. Protocatechuic acid
49. Benzyl glucosinolate
50. Cinnamic acid
52. Ellagic acid
The word for Moringa Tree in other languages
English - Drumstick tree, Horseradish tree, Mother's Best Friend, Radish tree, West Indian ben
French - Bèn ailé, Benzolive, Moringa, Ben oléifère, Arbre radis du cheval
German - Behenbaum, Behenussbaum, Flügelsaniger Bennussbaum, Pferderettichbaum
Italian - Sàndalo ceruleo
Portuguese - Acácia branca, Cedra (Brazil), Marungo, Moringuiero, Muringa
Spanish - Árbol del ben, Ben, Morango, Moringa
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