Botanical Name(s): Moringa Oleifera
Genus: Moringa Adans
Species: Moringa oleifera Lam.
Popular Name(s): Horse Radish Tree, Drumstick Tree, Sahijan
Parts Used: Roots, Seeds and Leaves
Habitat: Found through out India
Moringa tree is mainly grown in semi-arid, tropical and sub-tropical areas. While the best type of soil for this tree is dry and sandy, it can also tolerate poor soil such as that found in coastal areas. The tree is native to the Himalayan foothills in Northwestern India. Moringa is widely cultivated in areas such as Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is believed to be one of the most useful trees in the world. Its leaves are highly nutritious, being a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron and potassium. The leaves are cooked and used as spinach. The tree has a medium height, extending to 15-20 feet. The fruits are 6-8 inch long, brown in color and have six visible veins. The leaves are 1-2 feet long and leaflets are in pairs of 6 to 9, with a width of 1/4 inches. The seeds of Moringa Oleifera are triangular in shape and astringent in taste.
Uses & Benefits of Moringa
- The bark, sap, roots, leaves, seeds, oil and flowers of moringa are used in traditional medicine in several countries.
- The thickened root of the plant has been used as horseradish in the past. This practice is now discouraged, as the root contains alkaloids, which can prove fatal on ingestion.
- The leaves of the plant serve culinary purposes. They are used as the greens in salads and also as pickles for seasoning.
- The leaves of moringa can also be used for scrubbing utensils and cleaning walls.
- The bark of the plant, which leads a coarse fiber, can also be used for the purpose of tanning.
- Due to its high nutritional value, moringa has been used to reduce malnutrition, specifically among infants and nursing mothers, in developing tropical countries. The leaves of the plant are consumed fresh and also stored as dried powder for months.
- Medicinally, the herb has been used for both treating and preventing certain medical conditions. However, there is not much scientific evidence to back these claims. In India, it is used to make a variety of Ayurvedic medicines.
- It is considered to posses properties of an antibiotic, according to some scientific researches.
- The plant has also been used as an antibiotic for treating venomous bites and other conditions. It is also used to remedy rheumatism.
- The seeds of moringa are used to obtain oil, which can be used to cook a variety of dishes.