Moringa oleifera: The Miracle Tree?

Like many Americans, I always took my health for granted. I thought I was tough, immune to disease, and my body invincible. And then I turned thirty-two and realized none of that was true.

Truth is, if you are human, you are susceptible to all of the above. After almost dying from fever and dehydration, I was diagnosed with an incurable illness that wreaks havoc on my immune system. When a person goes through something like that, it tends to open your eyes to the drawbacks of western synthetic medicine as well as lifestyle.  Ever since, I’ve had to suffer through treatments that further weaken my immune system and produce terrible side effects. I’m constantly searching for more natural alternatives.

Growing up, it was drilled in my head to eat carrots for vitamin A, eat oranges for vitamin C, put bananas on your cereal for potassium and the milk in the bowl is the best source of calcium. Eating that wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day to get all the nutrients a healthy body needs is very difficult. Some scientists say you would have to eat fifteen different foods to absorb the necessary nutrients a person needs. Since eating that much was hard for me, I thought I could get my recommended amount by swallowing a few vitamin capsules until I heard your body doesn’t absorb much of those chemically produced pills. So now I’m back to trying to eat at least ten veggies a day and generally end up eating around three (with potato chips counting as one of the three). I figured I was doomed to be vitamin deficient, until I discovered the Moringa tree.

I believe the answer to solving most of our natural illnesses and health problems can be solved through nature. After all, many of our modern medicines are derived from plants. So I’m always on the lookout for natural ailment remedies that I can grow in my own backyard. I thought I knew the major ones until I came across an article about the Moringa oleifera also known as horseradish or drumstick tree.

Apparently I’ve been in the dark for a long time. This tree has been around since ancient times and was believed to prevent over three hundred diseases. Why I haven’t heard of it before is beyond me. Every part of the tree contains valuable healing properties. The leaves and pods provide nutrition and medicinal properties. The flowers, bark and roots are medicinal as well. And lastly, the seeds are used for water purification, medicine, cooking oil, cosmetics and mechanical lubricants.

When I started reading the nutritional value, it was like reading the label off a multivitamin bottle.  Here’s what the leaf of a moringa tree provides:

MoringaTree

I was completely blown away with those numbers and wondered why my mother never told me to put Moringa leaves on my cereal. Not only does this leaf contain high amounts of important nutrients for our well-being, it contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein and lastly…Zinc.

Literally, eating some of this amazing plant is like taking a multivitamin except that your body has a better chance of absorbing the plant’s nutrients than the chemically processed pill where most of the nutrients pass through your urinary tract. That’s why organizations, such as Trees for Life, are trying to utilize this plant for preventing malnutrition in certain areas of the world.

Now you would think a plant like this would need the perfect rich environment, such as some isolated jungle in the heart of the Amazon, to contain all these amazing properties. But it’s just the opposite. It’s hardy, drought tolerant and able to grow in sandy soil. In fact, it almost appears to be a gift from above as you look at the climates in which Moringa can grow. This tree’s climate zones are almost identical to the same areas with the most malnourished countries in the world.  Is it coincidence?

Moringa Global Map

Whether it’s coincidence or divine intervention, this tree can propagate in climates where it’s needed the most, and I hope that includes my back yard. I plan on ordering some seeds and giving it a shot. I know the tree can survive in southern Florida so I have a pretty good chance at getting it to live in Jacksonville. For anyone interested…I’ll keep you posted.

Featured image by Lauen Seibert

Moringa Global Map Courtesy of Nanny Moringa

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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  • willcreed

    This is the latest in a long line of miracle foods and supplements, most of which don’t stand up to rigorous scientific analysis. Proof of the health benefits claimed for Moringa is sketchy at best. The research to date is inadequate to prove or disprove the claimed benefits. These clams are very appealing because we would all rather not have to eat a balanced daily diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and just take a supplement or eat a single food. How convenient, if unappetizing!

    I think we all need to be a bit more skeptical before buying onto this latest miracle food.

    For more information: http://www.emaxhealth.com/1275/moringa-oleifera-next-superfood-or-super-hype

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