Moringa oleifera tree

Among the thirteen kinds of Moringa, Moringa oleifera is the most famous and contains the most nutrients. This tree grows originally in subhimalayan regions, but it is now widely cultivated in several semi-arid, tropical and subtropical regions.

All parts of the tree have been used for thousands of years for their various virtues. Those were first discovered in India, where ancient texts describe it as a medicinal plant capable of healing more than 300 diseases and health disorders. Then the Romans, the Greeks and the Egyptians used its oil as a perfum basis and as a skin care product.

Nowadays, Moringa oleifera is a very common tree in many southern countries, where it is mostly used as food and as a medicinal plant. But the tree has still much more potential ; it can be used, among other things, as a fertilizer, a pesticide, a water purifier, wood pulp (to make paper) or even as a potential biofuel ! For the last thirty years, scientific research on its various virtues and uses is being made at the international level.


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


Parts and uses

Leaves

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)

Seeds

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

Roots

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, since it contains alkaloids and can cause serious health injuries when taken in too high doses

Wood

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

Bark

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

Flowers

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

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

Fruits

ingredient in folk medicines – food

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