Moringa / Drumstick tree
Moringa Oleifera (Latin)
Moringa is an extremely fast-growing tree, and within 1- 3 months trees can reach 2.5 metres in height. Growth rates of 3 - 4 metres per year is not unusual for young plants. Young trees raised from seed start flowering after 2 years. In trees grown from cuttings the first fruits may be expected 6 - 12 months after planting.
Moringa is a “miracle tree” and most of its parts, including the leaves, bark, fruits and roots are used as food items. Leaves of the moringa tree can be added to salads and are also used in the preparation of sauces and soups. Cold pressed moringa oil is used for cooking and is appreciated for its long shelf life. The immature seed pods of the moringa tree, popularly known as drumsticks in India, are used in various dishes.
Moringa leaves are a great alternative to meat, because of the high protein content, especially for vegetarians. Moringa contains the amino acids aregenine and histidine which are essential for infants and it is also a boon to combat malnutrition in the under-privileged regions of the world.
The leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine, which are often in short supply.
Flowers - raw or cooked: Added to salads, cooked as a potherb and added to soups and curries.
Seedpods. The long, bean-like pods are used in soups and curries, or made into pickles. The young pods are said to have a taste reminiscent of asparagus and can be eaten raw.
Seeds: The immature seeds are eaten like peas. Mature seeds, when roasted or fried, are said to resemble peanuts in flavour.
Other Uses of Moringa:
Water Purification: Moringa olefeira extracts possess anti-cyanobacterial qualities and have been praised for their use in primitive water filtration systems. Moringa seeds work as a coagulant and exert flocculating effects on the clay and microorganisms present in water, thereby aiding in the removal of harmful pollutants and algae. Moringa is a natural way of purifying and treating water, in contrast to other industrial coagulants such as alumina.
Seed Oil: Moringa seed oil has a low tendency to become rancid and is effectively used as a lubricant for fine apparatus such as watches.
Feed for Farm Animals: Leaves of moringa trees possess excellent nutritional characteristics and are beneficial for cattle feed, both economically and nutritionally. Moringa promotes better milk production and helps to improve the quality of the meat.
Plant Growth Stimulator: Extracts from moringa leaves contain growth-enhancing properties and promote a better yield of the crop. Use of moringa growth hormone helps in improving the resistance of plants towards pests and diseases.
Moringa extracts have been extensively used in the manufacturing of creams, ointments, oils and moisturizers. Moringa seed cake remaining after the extraction of the oil is commonly used