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The Miracle Tree - Moringa

Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1


I see no thread dedicated to this tree and it is possible to grow it in areas in the States too.... so thought it good to bring it to the attention of those who could be interested.

Even in the more northern climate I would try and grow some under greenhouse care because of it's manifold benefits. So easy to add to a salad or a smoothie.

It grows so fast that it needs to be clipped back at about 3 feet to prevent it shooting up to as much as 12 meters (don't know what that is in yards). I use the clippings and dry the extras for winter. Ground into a powder it can be added to most anything.

Chelle
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
A good article from Natural News

Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Tree
by Patty Donovan, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Imagine a tree in your backyard that will meet all your nutritional needs, take care of you medicinally, and purify your water for you. This tree actually exists. For centuries, the natives of northern India and many parts of Africa have known of the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the names it is known by, such as clarifier tree, horseradish tree and drumstick tree (referring to the large drumstick shaped pods) and in East Africa it is called "mother's best friend”. Virtually every part of the tree can be used. Native only to the foothills of the Himalayas, it is now widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. This tree, though little known in the Western world, is nutritional dynamite. There are literally hundreds of uses for this tree.

The immature pods are the most valued and widely used of all the tree parts. The pods are extremely nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids along with many vitamins and other nutrients. The immature pod can be eaten raw or prepared like green peas or green beans, while the mature pods are usually fried and possess a peanut-like flavor. The pods also yield 38 - 40% of non-drying, edible oil known as Ben Oil. This oil is clear, sweet and odorless, and never becomes rancid. Overall, its nutritional value most closely resembles olive oil. The thickened root is used as a substitute for horseradish although this is now discouraged as it contains alkaloids, especially moriginine, and a bacteriocide, spirochin, both of which can prove fatal following ingestion. The leaves are eaten as greens, in salads, in vegetable curries, as pickles and for seasoning. They can be pounded up and used for scrubbing utensils and for cleaning walls. Leaves and young branches are relished by livestock. The Bark can be used for tanning and also yields a coarse fiber. The flowers, which must be cooked, are eaten either mixed with other foods or fried in batter and have been shown to be rich in potassium and calcium.

In developing tropical countries, Moringa trees have been used to combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers. Three non-governmental organizations in particular - Trees for Life, Church World Service and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization - advocate Moringa as “natural nutrition for the tropics.” Leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder for many months without refrigeration, and without loss of nutritional value. Moringa is especially promising as a food source in the tropics because the tree is in full leaf at the end of the dry season when other foods are typically scarce. Analyses of the leaf composition have revealed them to have significant quantities of vitamins A, B and C, calcium, iron and protein. According to Optima of Africa, Ltd., a group that has been working with the tree in Tanzania, "25 grams daily of Moringa Leaf Powder will give a child" the following recommended daily allowances:

Protein 42%, Calcium 125%, Magnesium 61%, Potassium 41%, Iron 71%, Vitamin A 272%, and Vitamin C 22%. These numbers are particularly astounding; considering this nutrition is available when other food sources may be scarce.

Scientific research confirms that these humble leaves are a powerhouse of nutritional value. Gram for gram, Moringa leaves contain: SEVEN times the vitamin C in oranges, FOUR times the Calcium in milk, FOUR times the vitamin A in carrots, TWO times the protein in milk and THREE times the Potassium in bananas.

The Moringa tree has great use medicinally both as preventative and treatment. Much of the evidence is anecdotal as there has been little actual scientific research done to support these claims. India's ancient tradition of ayurveda says the leaves of the Moringa tree prevent 300 diseases. One area in which there has been significant scientific research is the reported antibiotic activity of this tree.

This is clearly the area in which the preponderance of evidence - both classical scientific and anecdotal evidence - is overwhelming. The scientific evidence has now been available for over 50 years, although much of it is completely unknown to western scientists. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s a team from India identified a compound they called pterygospermin. This group was also able to demonstrate its mode of antimicrobial action in the mid 1950’s. Field reports and ecological studies form part of a rich traditional medicine history claiming efficacy of leaf, seed, root, bark, and flowers against a variety of dermal and internal infections. In 1964 other active compounds were isolated and tested in-vitro, and these studies, along with observational studies provide a very plausible mechanism of action for the centuries of claims of efficacy. Unfortunately, because many of the reports of antibiotic efficacy in humans are not supported by placebo controlled, randomized clinical trials, Western medical prejudice leaves the Western world ignorant of Moringa’s antibiotic properties.

Another area of folklore which research supports is in cancer treatment. Moringa species have long been recognized by folk medicine practitioners as having value in the treatment of tumors. Studies examined certain compounds for their cancer preventive potential. Recently two of these compounds were shown to be potent inhibitors of activation of lymphoblastoid (Burkitt’s lymphoma) cells. One of these compounds also inhibited tumors in mice bred to be prone to tumors. In another study, Bharali and colleagues examined skin tumor prevention following ingestion of drumstick (Moringa seedpod) extracts. In this mouse model, which included appropriate positive and negative controls, a dramatic reduction in skin tumors was demonstrated. More rigorous study is required in order to achieve a level of proof required for full medical endorsement of Moringa as, in this case, a cancer preventative plant.

After the oil is extracted from the pods, the seed-cake remaining contains the active components for removing turbidity (solid particles) from water. Because bacteria adhere to the solids, this seed-cake also effectively removes bacteria. At the Thyolo Water Treatment Works in Malawi, Africa, two researchers from the University of Leicester, England, have worked on substituting moringa seeds for alum to remove solids in water for drinking. Not only were the tests successful in removing as much solid material as alum, but the seeds used were "purchased from enthusiastic villagers in Nsanje Region in Malawi" (Folkard and Sutherland, 1996. Not only is Moringa oleifera as effective as aluminum sulphate (alum) in removing suspended solids from turbid water, it has a major advantage. Because it can be produced locally, "using Moringa rather than alum would save foreign exchange and generate farm and employment income." The potential for Moringa to create a new market for a community is there, and studies and projects are taking place examining this potential. Use of this natural substance would also remove a source of aluminum contamination.

This tree is truly a “miracle” tree offering hope; nutritionally, medicinally and economically to devastatingly poor 3rd world countries. It has just recently begun being used as a supplement in a juice form and in powdered leaf tablets.

Sources:

Ramachandran,C., Peter,K.V. and Gopalakrishnan,P.K., 1980, Drumstick (Moringa oleifera): A multipurpose Indian Vegetable. Economic Botany, 34 (3) pp276-283.

http://peacecorps.mtu.edu/resources/studentprojects/moringa.htm

http://www.tfljournal.org/article.php/20051201124931586

Meitzner and Price (Amaranth to Zai Holes: Ideas for Growing Food Under Difficult Conditions, ECHO, 1996),

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/cv/wedc/papers/20/sessioni/sutherla.pdf

                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
from wikipedia: The "Moringa" tree is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas, corresponding in the United States to USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10.

  too cold sensitive for us!  looks like an amazing food source though. 
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3080
Location: woodland, washington
    
  52
Trees for the Future is way hard into moringa.  those folks do some pretty good work.


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Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
marina phillips wrote:
from wikipedia: The "Moringa" tree is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas, corresponding in the United States to USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10.

  too cold sensitive for us!  looks like an amazing food source though. 
Yes... I figured for most parts it might be more difficult outdoors. I would pot it and bring it indoors in winter. The clippings are so nutritious. Malnutrition is being reversed in DAYS in India where normal techniques used takes months. Powerful stuff.

Tried to list all its uses here.....

Chelle
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
tel wrote:
Trees for the Future is way hard into moringa.  those folks do some pretty good work.
Lovely site that....  One of the first sites I went to and learned about Moringa.

Chelle
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 586
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
Quote Cyara post (quoting Natural News):
"The immature pods are the most valued and widely used of all the tree parts. The pods are extremely nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids along with many vitamins and other nutrients."


I didn't know that any one plant provided all essential amino acids... if that is accurate then truly this is a Miraclle Tree...

I have found that when an amazing food like this, will only grow only in certain temperate zones, that there is usually something similar that will grow in other zones.... I am guessing that Stinging Nettles might be a close plant to provide nutrients for those of us north of where the Miracle Tree will grow..

Does anyone else have a suggestion of a similar plant that can be grown farther north? or has anyone had any success growing the Moringa in norther regions?


Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
I have actually read of it being germinated and grown as an annual in northern climates. Indoors it might stay perennial so can get some blooms and pods. Good salad food anyway as an annual.

Chelle
                  


Joined: Feb 08, 2010
Posts: 2
I made a post on this on another forum I frequent Here Someone grows one about mid way down!
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Thanks TA. Went looking and they came up with this site here

Chelle
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
I have 53 Moringa S. that are 2 1/2 years old as indoor trees. My house is cool in the winter, yet as long as they stay above 45 F they have leaves.

Moringa O. didn't well at my altitude of over 6200' and didn't like the cool winter house temp. They died out. That's the one most the documentation is about.

The leaves are very peppery so make a good addition to "sweet" salads. Also useful in hot tea this time of year.

Outdoors summers here is also can be too cool without a season extender so they stay indoors until my greenhouse is built.

They do not want a lot of water and do best in a fairly fast draining soil.

There are people that raise them in tropical wet areas of the world with ongoing research being conducted to improve pod production. India seems to be a leader in research.

My interest wasn't only in the nutritional values found in them, or the bio fuel that can be harvested from the seeds, but what they can do for other plants. From the mulched/shredded leaves and stems a beneficial spray can be made that has been shown to enhance vegetable and fruit plant growth.
                                    


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 59
I tried growing some from seed last year here in Michigan.

It was very unhappy with our extra-cool summer weather.  We had several nights in July right around 39/40 degrees, and it would actually wilt down and not perk up until the middle of the next day.  It went into shock in October with the chill, even though it didn't frost.

They're in my basement under a grow light, alive, but definitely not happy.

We'll see what comes of them in 2010, if anything.

I tasted a couple of the leaves -- a lot like the flavor of nasturtiums, capers, peppergrass.
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Denninmi,
    You didn't mention which Moringa you have, but I'm guessing it's the same ones that I had died (Moringa oleifera). Mine all started from seed, but from three different sources( Africa, Mexico and India).
    Mine are almost all in a south/east corner with windows on both sides. Even though my bedroom is generally 60 or a bit less at night-that corner can be 5 -10 degrees cooler.
The trees are within a foot of the windows and have not wilted, even when the power has been out.
    They can be grown as an annual in the more Northern states, but my experience has been when getting started they can be slow unless they have optimum conditions. They do need to be started early for setting out if used as an annual.
                                    


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 59
Pat Maas wrote:
Denninmi,
    You didn't mention which Moringa you have, but I'm guessing it's the same ones that I had died (Moringa oleifera). Mine all started from seed, but from three different sources( Africa, Mexico and India).
     Mine are almost all in a south/east corner with windows on both sides. Even though my bed


Yes, M. oleifera.  I bought the seeds from ECHO in Florida.
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Denninmi,
    Echo was one of my sources. My brother with contacts in Africa was another and Moringafarms.com in California was the other. Tried a few other people but never got a response.
   
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Good article on using Moringa for cattle fodder and as an enriching spray on plants here.....

Chelle
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Thank you Cyara ,
    There is more info now than when started a few years ago. Fodder for my livestock was one of the objectives in growing Moringa S. The plant spray was another. It's just getting everything organized to make that happen. Thank you again.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
You're very welcome Pat.

It is the same reason I have grown Moringa so much in my Food Forest. I also know you can feed it to rabbits and goats too. Not sure about chickens .... seems they don't readily take it. I know that they can be trained to take duckweed so maybe I can find a way to include it. No chicks yet so that is for the future.

I include Moringa leaves every day now in my diet too. I can't eat dairy and so am always looking for good sources of natural calcium.

Chelle
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Couldn't do without the ladies milk! Really like the yogurt, butter and cheese they provide. My diet is primarily vegetarian but do have occasional meat-from my livestock.
    Had a problem with the strong peppery taste of the morninga leaves so just add to salad now or a bit in a mixed tea leaf cup. Goes well with mushrooms, onions and peppers as well as some of the brassicas.
    Getting ready to add rabbits this spring, so will work on getting them used to it. Not all livestock like moringa and knowing rabbits do is helpful. That and I really like my rhubarb and it does best here with rabbit manure-the more the better. Strawberry patch next door to the rhubarb doesn't complain either! )  Now, just have to wonder about the benefits of rabbit manure for the moringas...... Got to try it!
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
I love dairy and so miss it tremendously but I discovered that it was responsible for a persistent cough that I could not break. Didn't feel ill .... just couldn't lick the cough till I quit dairy. And when I have some... cos love it... the cough starts again.

I find only the young leaves peppery. The older leaves which are apparently more nutritious are almost bland. I can just throw those into a salad without hardly noticing they are there. I have grown to love eating them. Think my body knows they are good for me.

What kind of rabbits you adding? I want French Angoras. I will dig out some stuff I have on file about rabbits and Moringa and post it. Not at my desktop right now. Seems to be pretty good for them too.

How do you use the rhubarb? My Mom used to make a really good pie. Are there any other ways to use it?

I'd be interested to know how the rabbit manure works with the Moringa.

Chelle

Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Will try the older leaves, thank you! )
    I'm opposite of you on the dairy, my body craves it and am the healthiest when having daily yogurt and milk. Working on making that a year round situation,
      Will be going with satins. Had them years ago and liked their dispositions. Have had/shown French Angoras, but so far haven't seen any locally that were worth a hoot. The wool quality can be variable based on genetics and diet-so until find the right animals to at least make a start with, will let that be for now.
    Thanks for posting the info on rabbits and moringa. Have not seen that.
      Rhubarb-one of those yummy things. I do a lot of baking, and am investigating some of the healing properties also.  Will share that info. Anyway, with the fruit here in spring and summer it is usually a combo with strawberries, mulberries or cherries. Will be adding back in garden huckleberries and ground cherries for off season baked goods this year. Do make anything from pies, cobblers, fruit chews, syrups to... just limited by my imagination.
      Will let you know how the rabbit manure affects the moringa. Have been using a rabbit manure compost tea a local guy has and they seem to like it. Looks like once a month at this point.
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 586
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
I have checked the sites and links you folks have provided (thnx) I can't seem to find out if I can grow Moringa to the point it will make viable seeds... The Wichita Kansas site says they grow Moringa outside in the summer, but i can't see anywhere if they can get seeds, in one summer, to grow it the next year.??

Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Dr Surapol cited another trial with rabbits in India which found that animals eating moringa excrete more cholesterol in the faeces, and have less fat in their bodies. Traditional Indian people have used moringa leaves to treat obesity.
The whole article is here and mostly about the tremendous health benefits of using Moringa....

I quote some more from the article:
The nutrients and properties of moringa

Dr Surapol cited many foreign studies confirming the high levels of nutrients in moringa or marum. It is packed with protein, twice as much as a serving of fresh milk. Moringa contains three times more vitamin A than carrots, seven times more vitamin C than oranges, triple the potassium of bananas and more than three times more calcium than milk.

It's also high in fibre and low in calories. The oil from moringa seeds has similar compounds found in olive oil.

Other benefits of moringa include anti-ageing properties. The plant contains flavonoids rutin and quercetin, lutein which maintains the vision, caffeoylquinic acids, vitamin C, and carotenoids, all of which act as antioxidants. There are also substances called oestrogenics and Beta-sitosterol which help slow the degeneration of cells in the vital organs, optic nerves and arteries.

In 1964, antimicrobial substances were discovered in moringa, with an effect like that of anti-chloasma drugs. In Indian traditional wisdom, moringa extract is used as an ear-drop to soothe pain.

Preliminary research has found that moringa has something called Benzyl thiocyanate glycoside, and niazimicin that can inhibit certain kinds of cancer. Rats given moringa pods had lower rates of skin cancer than those not given doses of the plant, Dr Surapol said.

"When there's a claim that moringa can prevent cancer, please note that it's just an unfinished result of an in-vitro study. Further research is needed to prove that it can really prevent cancer in humans," he added.

Dr Surapol cited another trial with rabbits in India which found that animals eating moringa excrete more cholesterol in the faeces, and have less fat in their bodies. Traditional Indian people have used moringa leaves to treat obesity.

Other trials have indicated that moringa leaf extract has certain properties that protect the liver and reduce blood pressure.


Chelle
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Another article listing all the potential uses for Moringa includes rabbits ...

Alley cropping:  With their rapid growth, long taproot, few lateral roots, minimal shade and large production of high-protein biomass, Moringa trees are well-suited for use in alley cropping systems.

Biofuel: There is an increasing interest today in large scale cultivation of Moringa oleifera for use of its seed oil to produce biofuel.

Biogas:  Moringa leaves provide an excellent material for production of biogas.

Dye:  The wood yields a blue dye which was used in Jamaica and in Senegal.

Fencing:  A common use of Moringa trees is as a living support for fencing around gardens and yards.

Foliar nutrient:  Juice extracted from the leaves can be used to make a foliar nutrient capable of increasing crop yields by up to 30%.

Green Manure:  Cultivated intensively and then ploughed back into the soil, Manure can act as a natural fertilizer for other crops.

Gum:  The gum produced from a cut tree trunk has been used in calico printing, in making medicines and as a bland-tasting condiment.

Honey clarifier:  Powdered seeds can be used to clarify honey without boiling.  Seed powder can also be used to clarify sugar cane juice.

Honey producer:  Flowers are a good source of nectar for honey-producing bees.

Livestock feed:  The high bioavailability of Moringa leaves and stems make them an excellent feed for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits.


Oil: Moringa kernels contain about 37% edible oil, similar in quality to olive oil, and has also been used for the lubrication of fine machinery and by cosmetics industries as a base for making perfumes.

Ornamental:  In many countries, Moringa trees are planted in gardens and along avenues as ornamental trees.

Plant disease prevention:  Incorporating Moringa leaves into the soil before planting can prevent damping off disease (Pythium debaryanum) among seedlings.

Pulp:  The soft, spongy wood makes poor firewood, but the wood pulp is highly suitable for making newsprint and writing paper.  (Paper using Moringa wood can be produced at a low-cost village level.  See: http://internet.roadrunner.com/~rotto/paper.html).

Rope making:  The bark of the tree can be beaten into a fiber for production of ropes or mats.

Tannin:  The bark and gum can be used in tanning hides.

Water purification:  Powdered seed kernels act as a natural flocculent, able to clarify even the most turbid water as well as aluminum sulfate but without any toxicity.
Found here.....

Chelle
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Ronie,
    You won't find any info on the moringa making pods at this point as they don't in annual rotation. At least not yet.
Even where they have been planted in the Caribbean islands, its been hit and miss. In more continental tropical locations timing for flowering and podding still varies, but they generally do, eventually.
      It's going to be upto breeders to work on that specific trait and increased cold hardiness, without losing the nutritional aspects of the plant for us to grow them, see them pod here in the US outdoors in colder climes.
    Currently they are grown in some southern locations, California and Hawaii. Have heard of podding in Hawaii with limited success in Florida and California.
   
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
ronie wrote:
I have checked the sites and links you folks have provided (thnx) I can't seem to find out if I can grow Moringa to the point it will make viable seeds... The Wichita Kansas site says they grow Moringa outside in the summer, but i can't see anywhere if they can get seeds, in one summer, to grow it the next year.??
Ronie, I think your best bet is to grow and see. In some places it takes longer than a year to set seed... I have read of 2 years.

One thing I do know is that it can grow vegetatively. When one of my moringas had been knocked over in a huge wind it grew again as 2 trees. This could be snipped off to make a second tree. Not so easy to bend over but what nature achieved can be replicated. You can also plant truncheons... cuttings from the tree... and they will take and form a new tree. However I have read somewhere that these will not form the strong taproot of seedlings and are more easily uprooted in a fierce storm. If this is no concern then you could plant a forest of trees in a backyard this way with very few trees to start.

If I was in very hard winter weather I would grow it indoors... or on wheels outdoors summer.. to swing inside when frost threatens.

Agreed, this would only provide enough nutrition for a family, but it is such superior nutrition I would go to the trouble.

In most rehabilitation cases where fighting malnutrition it takes many weeks of sound nutrition for the children to start showing signs of improvement.... with Moringa it takes only days. I really believe in this stuff... I eat enough of it!!!  Even dry it for winter to add to smoothies. It can be made into such a fine powder that you can really add it to most anything. They make it into cakes for the malnourished children. I am playing with the idea of making a Moringa flour ..... when I have enough leaves dried for winter ..... and seeing if I can make a truly outstandingly healthy cookie that hopefully tastes good too.

Chelle
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Found something else about rabbits...

A strength of Moringa is that it is a non-toxic, easily digestible source of nutrition which also has many beneficial effects on health in general. Recently, very extensive health and safety studies conducted at the Nogutchi Memorial Medical Research Centre in Ghana determined that Moringa leaf powder has no toxic elements. In this study laboratory mice, rats and rabbits were fed a diet which included up to 15 times the recommended daily dosage of Moringa leaf powder (i.e., the equivalent of a child consuming 375 grams of leaf powder daily). Absolutely no adverse side effects from even the most concentrated Moringa diet were observed.
Found here.... Worth keeping url addresses! 

Chelle
ronie dee


Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 586
Location: Cosby MO
    
    2
OK thanks Pat and Chelle...  I appreciate the info.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Some videos on YouTube...

Discovery Channel - Documentary of Moringa Oleifera video here...

Purifying Water With Seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree video here....

Moringa for Life video here...

Possibilites of Moringa video here.....

Chelle
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
One small consideration:

Species that put a lot of minerals into your food quite frequently take the good with the bad.

Such great figures on calcium and potassium might suggest that it would accumulate heavy metals more than other plants, much the way spinach does.

If some of your land is marginal with respect to heavy metal contamination, it would probably be worthwhile to plant moringa only in the cleanest soil you have.


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Interesting thought... and not one I have come across in all my research with regard to Moringa.

I have done an extreme amount of reading on Moringa... including many research papers .... for more than 2 years now ....  and have yet to see any suggestion of this happening. To the contrary. Even rabbits .... who are extremely vulnerable to diet .... can be overfed this as fodder without harm.

The greatest wonder to me is that the potential has not been exploited by the modern world yet. I can see it starting to happen. I know how healthy it keeps me on a very simple diet. I am far healthier than most of my peers and many who are younger. I consider Moringa a daily essential.

Chelle

bunkie weir


Joined: Nov 05, 2009
Posts: 108
Location: eastern washington
    
    1
great thread all. lots of great info. now i'm looking into trying to grow it up here. will start in pots and maybe move to the greenhouse.

in looking at sources for seed, i checked Echo in Florida which denninmi and pat mentioned. i see they label it as 'Moringa, Horseradish Tree, Drumstick tree'. perhaps it's connection to the horseradish (i'm assuming through the title) might be giving it its peppery taste?
                                    


Joined: Dec 01, 2009
Posts: 59
bunkie weir wrote:
great thread all. lots of great info. now i'm looking into trying to grow it up here. will start in pots and maybe move to the greenhouse.

in looking at sources for seed, i checked Echo in Florida which denninmi and pat mentioned. i see they label it as 'Moringa, Horseradish Tree, Drumstick tree'. perhaps it's connection to the horseradish (i'm assuming through the title) might be giving it its peppery taste?


It isn't related to horseradish in any way, but it must contain some of the same or similar essential oils and other compounds, since it has a similar flavor.  Watercress, nasturtiums, capers, other types of cress like pennycress (aka peppergrass) and curled  cress, toothwart, garlic mustard roots, and horseradish all have a similar, peppery/hot flavor.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
bunkie weir wrote:
great thread all. lots of great info. now i'm looking into trying to grow it up here. will start in pots and maybe move to the greenhouse.

in looking at sources for seed, i checked Echo in Florida which denninmi and pat mentioned. i see they label it as 'Moringa, Horseradish Tree, Drumstick tree'. perhaps it's connection to the horseradish (i'm assuming through the title) might be giving it its peppery taste?
The young leaves and roots have a peppery taste but the large older dark green leaves are rather bland. I find them easy to throw into a salad even for a fussy youngster.

Chelle
Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
The roots are known to be a horse radish replacement.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Ok, I've been reading about Moringa and I am definitely going to add it to my food forest!

The old saying “if something sounds too good to be true ...” prompted me to play the skeptic and look for evidence that this plant is over-hyped or dangerous. There is evidence that some people have hyped it a bit (but there is plenty of evidence that it is a very valuable plant). There are a few cautions that may or may not apply to a person …

Much of the large amount of calcium it contains is in the form of calcium oxalate and the calcium may not be very  bio-available to humans.  (Nahrung. 1994;38(2):199-203. Availability of calcium from kilkeerai (Amaranthus tricolor) and drumstick (Moringa oleifera) greens in weanling rats.)  Most of the oxalate seems to be insoluble; if true, at least Moringa would not be a problem to people who are oxalate sensitive … rhubarb, spinach and amaranth are rich in soluble oxalates, and can be a problem. ( Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 May;59(3):246-60. Oxalates in some Indian green leafy vegetables.)

While Moringa does contain all essential amino acids, it does not contain them in a ratio that is optimal for human health – ie, it is a good source of protein but not a complete and balanced protein. Like all common plant sources of protein, it needs to be combined with other foods that have a complementary pattern of amino acids.  (Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1998;53(1):57-69. Nutrient content of the edible leaves of seven wild plants from Niger.)

A related species (Moringa stenopetala) is associated with goiter in Ethiopia, where the leaves are commonly eaten as a green.  At this point, no idea if the chemicals that cause the goiter are also present in M. oleifera, but people with thyroid issues should be cautious, just as they are with members of the cabbage family and soy  Some advocates of Moringa in the USA do sell seeds of M. stenopetala alongside other species for food use.  (East Afr Med J. 1999 Aug;76(:447-51. Familial tendency and dietary association of goitre in Gamo-Gofa, Ethiopia.)

The root has estrogenic properties. Many phytoestrogens stimulate only the beta-estrogen receptors (bone, blood vessels) but the root has been shown to affect the alpha-receptors (breast, uterus).  This makes the root potentially valuable as a medicine, but deserving of respect. The root also contains potentially significant amounts of moringinine (a nerve toxin) and thiocyanates.  I suspect that occasional use as a horseradish condiment is probably a minor risk, but if you develop man-boobs, don't blame me.     (J Ethnopharmacol. 1989 May;25(3):249-61.  Histoarchitecture of the genital tract of ovariectomized rats treated with an aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera roots,  and Acta Eur Fertil. 1988 Jul-Aug;19(4):225-32. Biochemical and physiological alterations in female reproductive organs of cyclic rats treated with aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera Lam., and J Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Jan;22(1):51-62, Antifertility profile of the aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera roots.)


There are some reports that the seed oil is rich in behenic acid, which may adversely affect one's cholesterol profile.  A study from Pakistan found ~6% behenic acid, while another study found that cultivars from India did not contain any behenic acid, and that their samples compared favorably to olive oil.  (J Oleo Sci. 2009;58(1):9-16.  Oil and fatty acid diversity in genetically variable clones of Moringa oleifera from India.; J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Oct 22;51(22):6558-63. Analytical characterization of Moringa oleifera seed oil grown in temperate regions of Pakistan.)
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
The title Miracle Tree had to attract a skeptic sometime!  Borrowed so I can take no credit.... though be it I stand by the name.

With regard to the calcium being locked up as calcium oxalate... or partly so.... This is interesting and not at all easily available info. It would take a skeptic to find it... and I am glad for the info. Thank you. Worth further study.

However there are studies that have established it is still helpful in rats in terms of calcium nutrition.... found here....
S. C. Devadatta1 Contact Information and T. C. Appanna1 Contact Information
(1)  Christian Medical College, Vellore

Received: 26 June 1953 
Summary  Healthy young rats, 28 days old, were placed on six diets in one of which all the calcium was supplied entirely by skimmed milk. In the other diets half of the skimmed milk was replaced by enough ground dried leafy vegetables to provide the same amount of calcium as in the milk diet. At 60 days of age the animals were killed and their bodies analysed for calcium. Comparison of the availability of calcium in these vegetables with that of milk was made by calculating for each an utilization factor which is the ratio of calcium retention to intake. The values for the six diets were: 0·85 for milk diet, 0·74 for diet 1, 0·78 for diet 2, 0·79 for diet 3, 0·54 for diet 4, and 0.69 for diet 5 respectively.
All the five leafy vegetables,viz., Avati Keerai (Sesbania grandiflora), Mola Keerai (Amaranthus gangeticus), Chiru Keerai (Amaranthus spinosus), Curry leaves (Murraya Kænigii), Murunga Keerai (Moringa oleifera) form good sources of calcium from the point of nutrition, especially Avati Keerai, Mola Keerai and Chiru Keerai, as the calcium in these are used as well as that in milk.


I have yet to see even one study establishing harm in humans..... 
Whether the claim of "more calcium than milk" includes this non-bioavailable calcium needs to be addressed. The oral histories recorded by Lowell Fuglie in Senegal and throughout West Africa, who reports countless instances of lifesaving nutritional rescue that are attributed to Moringa (Fuglie, L.J., 1999, 2000). In fact, the nutritional properties of Moringa are now so well-known that there seems to be little doubt of the substantial health benefit to be realized by consumption of Moringa leaf powder in situations where starvation is imminent.
This seems to be the more balanced view....

Here is told just one of many testimonies as to the goodness of Moringa in the diet of a malnourished child....
"It is true that Moringa is capable of wiping malnutrition from the face of the earth, "said Ruth N. Zansi, national director of programs for HFTN in Liberia. "You will see a child come in with swollen feet and the skin is about to burst open—when that child is fed with one table spoonful of Moringa powder, three times a day in his meal, that child starts to recover in seven days," continued Zansi. She also claims that by the second week, the child will start to smile and talk a lot.


The fact that Moringa contains all essential amino acids.. and even some rare amino acids too... is outstanding. If this factor introduced into the diet of a malnourished child is actually reversing malnutrition I would question any conclusions reached that it is not optimal for human health. No food is ever eaten in exclusion anyway so I find it a moot point. No special extra balancing is done in harsh 3rd world scenarios- the leaf powder is simply added to a porridge, or whatever is available, and recovery is begun. It is increasingly being given in prenatal situations to increase the health of the mother and unborn child. She goes home to her usual diet, but adds Moringa.

Moringa Stenopetala... AKA African Moringa.....that you mention here too... is not under discussion. It has never been given the name of "Miracle Tree". I know that ECHO is interested in it

The root bark is toxic and always removed. It is best used for tanning or coarse fiber. I have seen it advised repeatedly that the root meat be eaten in moderation. I will not touch it because of the alkaloids it contains... but it has been used for centuries in moderation.

It is because of the behenic acid in Moringa Oil that it is most usually called Ben Oil. It is often used as a preservative in the food industry. That is probably why there are so many claims that Moringa Oil never goes rancid.

The Moringa seeds yield 38–40% edible oil (called ben oil, from the high concentration of behenic acid contained in the oil) that can be used in cooking, cosmetics, and lubrication.. The Moringa tree, below, is native to Africa and India and has been revered for thousands of years as a miracle tree: Its nutrient-rich leaves and seeds can be eaten, and the oil pressed from its seeds is chock-full of radiance-boosting fatty acids and vitamins A and C. Beauty companies around the world are now bringing the oil’s skin-smoothing de-puffing benefits to you in brand-new moisturizers.

Moringa oil possesses exceptional oxidative stability which may explain why the Egyptians placed vases of Moringa oil in their tombs. Moringa oil has a potent antioxidant considered to be the factor behind its remarkable stability.  Moringa oil is non-drying nutty flavored oil with a pale yellow consistency. The healing properties of Moringa oil, also known as behen oil, were documented by ancient cultures. It has tremendous cosmetic value and is used in body and hair care as a moisturizer and skin conditioner. Moringa oil has been used in skin preparations and ointments since Egyptian times. This is very long lasting oil with a shelf life of up to 5 years.
Found here

Whether it does or does not adversely affect one's cholesterol profile is still open to question. There is so much misinformation in this arena. Eggs are supposed to do this too and yet contain an excellent source of lecithin which brings cholesterol levels down. Organic eggs have been proven not to raise cholesterol levels. Even scientific research these days is suspect. Long-term traditional uses, often derided as annecdotal, have come to be of great value in these times of greed and big business. Moringa has been traditionally used for hundreds of years and is being used by those who have no financial agenda to help those that big business can have no interest in.

Chelle


[Thumbnail for Table Protein Amino Acids in M Oleifera.JPG]

Pat Maas


Joined: May 08, 2008
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
Hi Cyara,

"Moringa Stenopetala... AKA African Moringa.....that you mention here too... is not under discussion. It has never been given the name of "Miracle Tree". I know that ECHO is interested in it."

These are the trees I have, the Moringa stenopetala. It will work at altitude and not so frost sensitive, thus the interest. For me it was a way to gain a bit better health on a mostly veg diet and for the other things on my farm's benefits.

Moringa oleifera has helped far more people than likely will ever be recognized. It is part of a diet as may be found in a third world country-this you pointed out already.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Don't get me wrong, Cyara - I think it is an amazing plant, and I am glad that you started this thread.  I had come across the name of the plant before, but didn't know much about  it.  I now plan on putting in a hedge of it near my citrus.

I just wanted to take a hard nosed look at it.  I can be skeptical, but I consider myself fair-minded.  And the fact that amaranth or cabbage or any crop has properties that limit their use for a subset of people doesn't mean that they aren't good plants to be celebrated.

On the amino acid profile, I think we agree that it is a very good protein, and that it can benefit a diet ... I just wanted to re-enforce the idea of a balanced diet, as Moringa is beneficial when included in the mix, but would be detrimental if someone considered it a superfood capable of being the sole source of nutrients. Sure, I give most regulars here more credit than to believe something like that, but there are some people out there that are susceptible to such hype ... I wanted to be affirmative but also emphasize balance.

BTW - eggs can increase cholesterol, but there are many studies showing they only raise the HDL 'good' cholesterol.There are a number of other benefits from including eggs in the diet.  But I agree with your point that there is still a good deal that remains to be learned about diet and heart health, and there is lots of mythinformation, even (or especially) among the medical community.

There is at least one website that I found in my searching that is promoting M. stenopetala alongside M. oleifera - they have seeds, growing information and recipes for both, and seem to consider both plants as variants of the same miracle.  There may be differences between the plants and it may be that M. oleifera is not associated with thyroid problems the way that M. stenopetala is.  Or they may be closely enough related to contain the same goitrogenic factors.  I don't know at this point, and am merely raising that as a point of information for people that have thyroid issues (my wife has to be very  careful about what she eats - for example, a cup of chamomile tea will drop her body temperature and make her feel miserable ... but I still think chamomile is a great plant).
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Pat Maas wrote:
Hi Cyara,

"Moringa Stenopetala... AKA African Moringa.....that you mention here too... is not under discussion. It has never been given the name of "Miracle Tree". I know that ECHO is interested in it."

These are the trees I have, the Moringa stenopetala. It will work at altitude and not so frost sensitive, thus the interest. For me it was a way to gain a bit better health on a mostly veg diet and for the other things on my farm's benefits.

Moringa oleifera has helped far more people than likely will ever be recognized. It is part of a diet as may be found in a third world country-this you pointed out already.
That is really interesting Pat. I know that if ECHO are interested in it then there is a reason. They seem to be growing it but as yet to have any seed set.

They say....
Moringa, African

Moringa stenopetala

This is another species of moringa and is used the same way as the regular moringa. The leaves are larger and easier to prepare for cooking. It seems to be more drought tolerant, but slightly less cold tolerant. It has not yet produced seed at ECHO, and is very rare, with seeds only available from N.E. Africa and Haiti.

Perhaps you could be on to a good thing if you get it to seed. That you have found it more cold tolerant would be of interest to them too. They are always looking for information on such trees.

I personally have very little knowledge beyond what ECHO have written on the tree. I think most studies have been done on M. O. It would be interesting to read up more on M. S.

Chelle
 
 
subject: The Miracle Tree - Moringa
 
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