The Moringa pods I bought at the night market in Kangar.Ever heard of the Moringa oleifera..? Locally known as "Ramunggai" or "Munggai"...
Yes, I'm sure you've taken the fruit in curry dishes, either directly or indirectly taken with your roti canai or tosai..
But do you know the "power" of the Moringa? My brother in-law, Abdullah Shahidan, told me that last December when I visited him in Klang, Selangor. I've forgotten about it until today, when I saw the fruit being sold at the Pasar Malam in Kangar. I bought it immediately at RM2.00 per bundle (see photo above).
For centuries indigenous people in northern India and many parts of Africa have known the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the many names it is known by, such as clarifier tree, horseradish tree, drumstick tree and in East Africa it has the alias "mother's best friend" (Folkard and Sutherland, 1996).
Moringa oleifera is a fast growing, aesthetically pleasing small tree adapted to arid, sandy conditions. The species is characterized by its long, drumstick shaped pods that contain its seeds. Within the first year of growth, moringa has been shown to grow up to 4 meters and can bear fruit within the same first year (Folkard and Sutherland, 1996). Virtually every part of the tree is beneficial in some way, which is of great importance in areas where people have a direct dependence on trees, crops and animals for their livelihood. The studies that have been performed on moringa have taken place primarily in India and Africa, but it seems that there may be a growing interest in the cultivation possibilities in the more humid tropics, including Central and South America. Depending on the purpose and quantity desired, moringa can be grown in a nursery as a community project or on a smaller scale at the family level. It can function as windbreaks for erosion control, live fences, as an ornamental or intercropped to provide semi-shade to species requiring less direct sunlight.
According to the research done, the benefits of Moringa oleifera are almost too numerous to name.
The use of moringa for medicinal purposes may seem to have its roots in folklore and myth, but indigenous people have found much success in using various parts of the tree to cure many physical ailments. For example, the juice from the leaves is believed to stabilize blood pressure, the flowers are used to cure inflammations, the pods are used for joint pain, the roots are used to treat rheumatism, and the bark can be chewed as a digestive. These are just some of uses presented by Optima of Africa, Ltd. Most sources seem to agree on the excellent nutritional benefits of moringa. Because the tree produces leaves during the dry season and during times of drought, it is an excellent source of green vegetable when little other food is available (Folkard and Sutherland, 1996). The leaves provide many necessary vitamins and minerals and can be eaten cooked or dried. The foliage has been compared to spinach in both its appearance and nutritional quality. 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%, Vitamin C 22%These results are impressive, especially when considering this nutrition is available when food sources may be scarce. The leaves and branches may also be used for fodder when nothing else is useable, and the high nutrient content of the leaves would make it a prime candidate to incorporate into a mulching system. This is assuming, however, that the leaves are in abundance and not required as a human food source.
In addition to the leaves, the pods, or drumsticks, are a great commercial product. In India, they are canned and exported all over the world.
The benefits of the Moringa Leaf:
- Increases the Natural Defenses of the body
- Provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain.
- Promotes metabolism with bio-available ingredients
- Promotes the Cell structure of the body
- Promotes natural Serum cholesterol.
- Lowers the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Promotes the normal functioning of the liver and the kidney.
- Beautifies the skin
- Promotes energy
- Promotes proper digestion
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Takes care of the immune system of the body
- Promotes healthy circulatory system
- It is an anti-inflammatory
- Gives a feeling of general wellness
- Supports the normal sugar levels of the body.
This is another article on the Moringa, written by Sade Oguntola:
Health wonders of Moringa plantsThe Moringa Oleifera tree has been called the Tree of Life in many cultures around the world. It has many names based on its many uses: clarifier tree, horseradish tree and drumstick tree (referring to the large drumstick shaped pods) and in East Africa moringa is known as “mother’s best friend”. Its other names include ewe igbale (Yoruba), Zogale (Hasusa) and Idagbo monoye (Igbo).
In a presentation on the health benefits of moringa leaves by Mr Yomi Ige, said current scientific studies had shown that it contains specific antioxidants and health promoting ingredients that offers veritable answers to malnutrition, hunger and diseases.
According to him, “it is a strong antioxidant effective against prostate and skin cancers, an anti-tumor and an anti-aging substance. It modulates anaemia, high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol level. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties ameliorating rheumatism, joint pain, arthritis and oedema.”
“As an antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral agent, it is effective against urinary tract infection, typhoid, dental caries and toothaches as well as common cold.”
Mr Ige remarked that moringa seeds are being used in the prevention and treatment of AIDS with good result study from the 1990’s indicated that there was a connection between forms of malnutrition and likelihood of contracting AIDS.
According to him, “Moringa powder supplementation is an immune stimulant for HIV+ people, particularly those who cannot afford good nutrition and medicines in Africa. Unlike traditional multivitamins, the nutrients found in moringa oleifera are readily absorbed into the body, providing an abundance of highly available, naturally occurring nutrient benefits. “
“A single serving of moringa leaves contains greater amounts of potassium than bananas, greater amounts of Vitamin A than carrots, is as rich with antioxidants as the best green teas, and contains every essential amino acid, making it one of the few plants in the world that provides a complete protein source.” Amazingly, the World Health Organisation has been observing and utilizing the tree for more than 40 years now as a cheap health supplement in the poverty-stricken countries the world over.
According to the annals of the ayurveda, India’s old tradition of medicines, the leaves of the moringa tree could treat at least 300 diseases. Moringa boosts one’s energy in a natural manner and is a remarkable source of nutrition.
Individuals ingesting it say that their ulcers are healed, tumors restricted, there is reduction in the arthritis pains and inflammation, controlled blood pressure, the skin problems are restored and finally they have stronger defenses against diseases.
Another advantage of moringa is that it can also purify water since it has a detoxifying effect. Also as a coagulant agent, moringa can attach itself to hazardous bacteria and other materials and in the process purify the water.
The photos above:
1. The Moringa tree
2. The pods ready to cook.
3. Crab curry with the moringa pods.
4. Prawn curry with the moringa pods.