Today, we are going to interview our Miracle Tree – Moringa, popularly known as the Wonder Tree, or Tree of Life, because of her medicinal properties and she is as well famous for the healing, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-mutagenic, anticancer and antibiotic properties for a long time among the traditional healers in many parts of the world. Let’s welcome MORINGA.
Interviewer: Thank you for coming to our interview Ms. Moringa. We would like to ask you few questions, so that our readers will know more about you.
Moringa: The pleasure is mine and please, go ahead. I will answer all your questions.
Interviewer: What is your full name and may we know about your family?
Moringa: I go by the formal name of Moringa Oliefera. I belong to the family of Moringaceae.
Interviewer: Do you go by any other names?
Moringa: I have many names in several languages like drumstick tree, horseradish tree, west indian ben, mothers best friend (English), Murunga (Tamil), Munaga (Telugu), Dandalun (Burmese), Mmunga ara (Bengalese), Shajna (Hindi), Kelor (Bali, Indonesia), Kachang Kelur (Malaysia), Mawonga (Cayman Islands), Chintto Borgo (Mexico). I can’t remember all my names actually, the list is very large.
Interviewer: Awesome! Where do you live?
Moringa: I live in hot and sunny, tropical and subtropical countries like India, Philippines, and Thailand. I also live in Central American, African and south east Asian countries.
Interviewer: Why are you famous among farmers?
Moringa: I am extremely drought resistant and I need little effort from the farmers to grow, and I also grow very fast. I can reach up to 30 feet in few months after sowing, provided the conditions are right. I can’t tolerate snow and frost, hence, I am grown as an agricultural crop in countries with hot, sunny climates. All parts are useful in one or other ways.
Interviewer: All you parts are useful!! Can you please explain about that in full detail?
Moringa: Yes, my leaves, flowers, pods have medicinal values and can also be consumed, and my seeds, bark, wood are of technical values.
Interviewer: How are you significant in a nutritional kind of way?
Moringa: I am rich in vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, and also folate and ascorbic acid, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. I provide plenty of protein and fiber. I have many chemical compounds present which are responsible for my medicinal properties.
Interviewer: Can you please explain about the parts, their properties and uses in detail?
Moringa: Ok good. Let me explain about my parts in detail.
Leaves: I have small greenish leaves that turn to yellow color on aging. My fresh leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. My dried leaves contain polyphenol compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. The flavonoids present in my dried leaves are quercetin, myrecytin, and kaempferol. The phenolic acids present in my leaves are cholorgenic acid, gallic acid and caffeic acid. The quercetin is responsible for the hypo-lipidemic, anti-diabetic and hypotensive properties. The cholorgenic acid is responsible for the anti-dyslipidemic properties as it decreases the production of cholesterol and triglycerides. The tannins present in my leaves are responsible for the anti-atherosclerotic( preventing the deposition of fat in the blood vessels), and anti-inflammatory and anti-hepatotoxic properties. The saponins in my leaves are responsible for the anti-cancer properties.
Flowers: I have small milky white to light yellow color flowers as shown in the picture. My flowers are used in making tea, as they are known to reduce common cold and my leaves are also known to increase sexual drive. The flowers are considered as delicacy and consumed in many forms like raw or fried.
Pods: I have long, slender pods with seeds in green color. The immature pods are called drumsticks and they are widely used in several countries’ cuisine. In south Indian cuisine, sambar is a curry made with drumsticks and pigeon peas are like a staple food types, and they’re made at least once in a week or probably every other day in several households. The pods retain their vitamin C content even after boiling (which is unusual for several vegetables). Hence, a rich source of vitamin c and fiber.
Seeds: I have a small brownish seed with three paper like wings. All I need is a shallow and well aerated soil to germinate and grow. You can extract my seeds from dried pods. I lose my germinating capacity if stored, hence, I would advise to sow my seeds as soon as you get your hands on them. The seeds have high nutritional value and the oil extracted from my seeds is called ben oil, it is used in cosmetic industry and also as lubricating oil in machines. The seed cake after extracting the oil is used in filtering water as it removes the salt contents from the water.
Bark: I have a dark greenish brown bark when the tree is immature and brownish bark in mature trees. It is also used in treating skin infections, scurvy and also intestinal worms. The decoction of the bark is used in treating intestinal spasm and renal stones. The bark juice is also used in relieving ear pain.
Stem: The stem also has medicinal properties and it’s used as tea made along with leaves and flowers in some parts of the world. Nonetheless, they should be consumed with caution and in moderation, because of its toxic properties.
Roots: My roots are milky white in colour and are also rich in polyphenols. They are used as a condiment in some cuisines.
Interviewer: Wonderful, that’s a detailed explanation of your parts. Did you get any recognition or awards?
Moringa: The food and agricultural organization of the United Nations have written an article about me and advocated for my use to combat malnutrition in developing countries, as I am widely cultivated in many developing nations, and a cheap alternative and good source of protein,vitamins and minerals. Many charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are advocating my uses to treat malnutrition and fortification of foods with my extracts.
Interviewer: Would you give us a summary of your uses and how you can be used by us.
Moringa: Sure. Ok, I know talking about all the minerals will make it sound like a biology class. I will summarize what I have said in a easier way.
Uses of moringa:
1. I give better eyesight, because of the vitamin A present in my leaves.
2. I am helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, decrease the chance of heart problems and stroke, because of my querticin, tannins, and anti-oxidant properties of vitamin E and vitamin C.
3. I am helpful in preventing diabetes and also maintaining normal blood glucose levels, because of the antidiabetic effects of querticin.
4. I am helpful in lowering blood pressure levels, because of anti-hypertensive effects of quercetin.
5. I am helpful in faster healing of wounds, because of the vitamin C and my bark juice.
6. I am helpful in treating some cancer symptoms and also preventing cancer, because of anti-cancer properties of tannins and and anti-oxidant properties of vitamin C and vitamin E.
7. I am helpful in treating scurvy, because of the high vitamin C which will be retained even after cooking. 8. My flower tea can increase sexual drive and treat premature ejaculation.
9. The bark and stem extract have anti-analgesic properties, and they’re also used to treat ear and tooth pain.
10. I am helpful in treating constipation as my leaves and pods are high in fiber content.
11. I am helpful in treating anemia due to high iron content and minerals.
12. I am helpful in getting strong bones. As calcium and phosphorous in my leaves combine to create calciumphosphate, the building block of the bones.
13. I am helpful in achieving glowing skin due to the antioxidant properties of vitamin A, C, and E.
14. I am helpful in aiding weight loss, still, there is a confirmatory evidence as fiber decreases the fat level.
15. My seed’s oil is used in perfumes, soaps, and as a lubricant oil in machines.
16. The seed cake is used in filtering water.
17. My other uses are in treating intestinal worms, renal stones,intestinal spasms, thyroid disorders, and most importantly, malnutrition.
Interviewer: Thank you for that. Do you think you have any negative side?
Moringa: Yes, my fresh parts are not available in some parts of the world. The western world is using my dried leaves powder in the form of capsules. Although I have been used for centuries by traditional healers, a little research has been done on me and there is only a little evidence supporting my properties. My parts contain phytogens, which restrict the absorption of some nutrients. Consuming excess amounts of my products can lead to hypotension, decreased heart rate, fertility problems and renal stones, due to high calcium content. So moderation is the key. You will be amazed to see the positive results.Disclaimer: This post is only for the educative purpose, please consult your doctor before consuming any moringa product.