MORINGA was one the greatest gifts, which Nature bestowed on man - this was known to the ancient world and they regarded the tree as a “Cure-all Tree.” They also saw the moringa tree as an “Elixir of long life,” “the Tree of Immortality,” “the Tree of Life,” “the Never Die Tree,” “the Miracle Tree that brings harmony to life,” and “Mother’s best friend”.
Other common names for moringa are Horse-radish tree, Ben oil tree, Drumstick tree (referring to the large drumstick shaped pods).
Moringa, like most other trees and plants, lost its fame when science became more experimental and analytical - with rational thinking, which also led to an increased remoteness from Nature.
Today, however, as the whole world is been plagued with numerous degenerating health problems, together with the spiritual and physical transformations sweeping across the entire universe, many concerned scientists are working very hard, trying to fashion out better and less hazardous ways of living in this computer age.
This has led to a more intense experimental and research works that are aimed at verifying those traditional wisdom together with those healing plants that were known for their multidimensional functions to the ancient people.
Moringa oleifera has just been “rediscovered” as a multipurpose tree that has amazing nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic potentials.
It is a fast growing draught-resistant tree that can grow up to 7 meters in one year. It is one of the world’s most useful trees ever known to man, and it is cultivated in most parts of the globe, Tropical Africa, Madagascar, Arabia, Asia, Tropical America, etc. Here in Nigeria, it is propagated by stem cutting or seeds by the Hausas in the North and taken as vegetable, while in some parts of the South, it is planted on farm boundaries, in fences, or as single trees in homesteads for livestock.
There is no part of this “Tree of life” that has not been found very useful. The whole plant, the leaves, the stems, the bark, the roots, the immature pods, the seeds, the flowers, and the flowering tops.
The nutritional benefits of moringa
Moringa is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree with a wide range of nutritional values.
The leaves as vegetable are highly nutritious. The fresh leaves are eaten as greens, in salads, cooked as vegetable soup or used for seasoning foods during dry season when few other green, leafy vegetables are not available. The leaves can also be dried, ground into powder and stored for many months without any significant loss of nutritional or therapeutic values.
Scientific analysis has shown and confirmed that moringa leaves are indeed a powerhouse of essential macro- and micro-nutrients. The leaves are believed to contain approximately 46 types of anti-oxidants, 90 nutrients, 18 aminoacids (out of which 8 are the essential ones).
It is on record that moringa leaves contain more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more potassium than banana, more iron than spinach and the protein quality can equate with those in milk and eggs.
The leaves of Moringa oleifera are rich sources of dietary fibers, starch, beta-carotene, minerals (zinc, magnesium, and selenium), iodine, lutein, zeatin, etc.
With the exceptional content of all the essential macro- and micro-nutrients, the powder extracted from leaves of moringa is used as a nutritional supplement:
• To combat malnutrition and related diseases.
• Mineral and vitamin deficiencies in pregnant and lactating mothers, children and adolescence
• To boost the immune system in HIV and AIDS patients.
The immature pods are highly nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids together with other vital nutrients. The immature pod contains green peas or green beans that can be eaten raw together with salad.
The matured pods yields up to 40 per cent edible oil known as Ben Oil. The oil can be used as olive oil substitute. The Oil is clear, odorless and edible and very useful in cosmetic industries.
The leaves of moringa can also be ground and used for scrubbing utensils and cleaning walls.
The healing benefits of moringa
Hippocrates, the Greek doctor, who is today regarded as the father of medicine, once treated his patients with fasting, detoxification, sunshine, rest and relaxation, herbal baths, herbal infusions, aromatherapy, etc. This great doctor believed that many human illnesses are caused by a chronic condition of deep inner disharmony. Also, he taught that a disorder in one part of the body wouldeventually be reflected in the whole organism. Therefore, if an illness is to be cured completely, the inner harmony of the organism must be restored.
Moringa is one of the herbs that are known to have not only multi-directional activities in the human body but also help in restoring balance and promoting inner harmony and therefore radiant health.
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