Moringa - The Magic Tree

Work On the Research Work on Health Benefits, Uses & Products of Moringa Oleifera

Moringa Oleifera

The Miracle Tree

Moringa is a plant that is native to the sub-Himalayan areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It is also grown in the tropics. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine. 
Here are some examples:

  • 17 x as much calcium as milk
  • 15 x as much potassium as bananas
  • 7 x as much vitamin C as oranges
  • 7 x as much vitamin B1, B2 as yeast
  • 6 x as much polyphenols as red wine
  • 4.5 x as much folic acid as beef liver
  • 4.5 x as much vitamin E as wheat seedlings
  • 4 x as much vitamin A and
  • 2.5 x as much carotene as carrots
LOCAL NAMES 

Amharic (shiferaw); Arabic (rawag); Bengali (sujina,sohjna,sajina); Burmese (dan-da-lun,dandalonbin); Cantonese (nugge); Creole Patois (benzolive tree); English (moringa tree,ben-oil tree,cabbage tree,clarifier tree,horse-radish tree,drumstick tree,West Indian ben); Filipino (malunggay); French (acacia blanc,Neverdie,moringa ailé,Ben ailé,Pois quenique); German (Pferderettichßaum,Meerrettichßaum); Gujarati (midho-saragavo); Hausa (zogallagandi); Hindi (sanjna,suhujna,sondna,sohanjna,shajna,munga ara,sainjna,mungna); Igbo (okwe oyibo); Indonesian (kelor); Lao (Sino-Tibetan) ('ii h'um); Malay (sajina,merunggai); Mandinka (nebedayo); Nepali (shobhanjan,sohijan); Sanskrit (shobhanjana); Spanish (paraíso blanco,paraíso frances,reseda); Swahili (mronge,mzunze,mlonge,mrongo); Tamil (murunga,murangai); Thai (makhonkom,ma-rum,phakihum); Urdu (sahjnao); Vietnamese (chùm ngây); Yoruba (ewe-igbale)

BOTANIC DESCRIPTION

Moringa oleifera is a small, graceful, deciduous tree with sparse foliage, often resembling a leguminous species at a distance, especially when in flower, but immediately recognized when in fruit. The tree grows to 8 m high and 60 cm dbh. Bole crooked, often forked from near the base. Bark smooth, dark grey; slash thin, yellowish. Twigs and shoots shortly but densely hairy. Crown wide, open, typically umbrella shaped and usually a single stem; often deep rooted. The wood is soft. Leaves alternate, the old ones soon falling off; each leaf large (up to about 90 cm long), with opposite pinnae, spaced about 5 cm apart up the central stalk, usually with a 2nd lot of pinnae, also opposite, bearing leaflets in opposite pairs, with a slightly larger terminal leaflet. Leaflets dark green above and pale on the under surface; variable in size and shape, but often rounded-elliptic, seldom as much as 2.5 cm long. Flowers produced throughout the year, in loose axillary panicles up to 15 cm long; individual flower stalks up to 12 mm long and very slender; 5 pale green sepals 12 mm long, finely hairy, 5 white petals, unequal, a little longer than the sepals; 5 stamens with anthers, 5 without; style slender, flowers very sweet smelling. Fruit large and distinctive, up to 90 cm long and 12 mm broad, slightly constricted at intervals, gradually tapering to a point, 3- (4-) angled, with 2 grooves on each face, light brown. It splits along each angle to expose the rows of rounded blackish oily seeds, each with 3 papery wings. The generic name comes from the Sinhalese name ‘morunga’.

BIOLOGY

The bisexual, oblique, stalked, axillary and heteromorphic flowers are highly cross-pollinated due to heteromorphism. The carpenter bees (Xylocopa latipes and X. pubescens) have been found the most reliable and appropriate pollinators. Sunbirds Nectaria zeylanica and N. asiatica have also been observed to be active pollinators.

ECOLOGY

Readily colonizes stream banks and savannah areas where the soils are well drained and the water table remains fairly high all the year round. It is quite drought tolerant but yields much less foliage where it is continuously under water stress. It is not harmed by frost, but can be killed back to ground level by a freeze. It quickly sends out new growth from the trunk when cut, or from the ground when frozen.

BIOPHYSICAL LIMITS

Altitude: 0-1 000 m, Mean annual temperature: 12.6 to 40 deg. C, Mean annual rainfall: At least 500 mm

Soil type: A adapted to a wide range of soil types but does well in well drained clay or clay loam without prolonged waterlogging. Prefers a neutral to slightly acidic soil reaction, but it has recently been introduced with success in Pacific atolls where the pH is as high as 8.5.

Species Distribution

Native: India, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Non-Native: Republic of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zanzibar.