The moringa oleifera tree in a few words

There are 13 kinds of moringa trees, of which moringa oleifera is the most widely spread, because it has more uses and virtues than virtually every other trees (highly nutritious food, folk medicine, water purification, oil, skin care, and more…)

The tree grows originally in subhimalayan regions, where ancient Sanskrit texts describe it as a medicinal plant capable of healing more than 300 diseases and health disorders. All parts of the tree have been used in different ways for thousands of years in many countries.

Nowadays, moringa oleifera is a very common tree in many southern countries, where it is mostly used as food (it contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins) and as a medicinal plant. In western countries, the use of its leaf powder has become well-spread as dietary supplement. Very recently, it became popular as a new “superfood” (“A nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being” – definition of the Oxford English Dictionary). If you want to know more about moringa leaf powder, we have another article that you can read here.

But the tree has still much more potential ; it can be used, among other things, as a fertilizer, a pesticide, a water purifier, to make paper or even as a potential biofuel ! For the last thirty years, scientific research on its various virtues and uses is being done at the international level. It is also part of some medicinal studies against cholesterol, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and more.

Parts and uses


ingredient in folk medicines – food – used in NGO’s programms against malnutrition – fodder – fertilizer – cleaning product, used to clean walls and cooking ustensils in some parts of Nigeria – plant disease prevention (Pythium debaryanum)


ingredient in folk medicines – food

Seed oil : food –  skin care and beauty products – used before in horology – potential as a biofuel

Seed shell (after its oil is extracted) : water purifier – fertilizer – fodder – honey and sugar cane juice clarification


ingredient in folk medicines (not recommended to people who suffer from high blood pressure) – food condiment (was used by the British in India as a substitute for horseradish)

It is not recommended to consume the root of moringa oleifera, since it contains alkaloids and can cause serious health injuries when taken in too high doses


ingredient in folk medicines – blue dye, used in Jamaica and Senegal – food condiment – paper manufacturing – tanning


ingredient in folk medicines – digestive in India – abortifacient in India (only if mixed with other plants) – ropes and rugs manufacturing – tanning


ingredient in flok medicines – food (cooked, they taste like mushrooms) – herbal tea

Pregnant women should not consume the flowers of moringa oleifera, since they are used as an abortifacient in some cultures


ingredient in folk medicines – food



(Illustrations are stamps from the Republic of Congo, showing parts of the Moringa oleifera tree)

Some other popular local names of the tree

English : Drumstick tree, Horseradish tree           French : Ben aile, Benzolive

Haiti : Benzolivier, Ben oleifere, Graines benne, Bambou-bananier

Hindi : Shajmah, Shajna, Segra          Sri Lanka : Murunga         Philippines :  Mulangay

For more detailed information, you can check our sources and links here

If you are looking for some moringa oleifera leaf powder, you can check out our online store

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