MORINGA OLEIFERA: TRULY A “MIRACLE” TREE
(No doubt many of you scratched your head when you saw a recent listing for Fresh Moringa Leaves. Fortunately for all of us Patty D. is very familiar with them and has graciously researched the following as well as sharing a bit of her own amazing story. THANK YOU PATTY!)
The Moringa tree can meet all your nutritional needs, take the place pharmaceuticals and even purify your water. For centuries, the natives of northern India and many parts of Africa have known of the many benefits of Moringa oleifera, also known as the clarifier tree, horseradish tree and drumstick tree (referring to the large drumstick shaped pods). In East Africa it is called "mother’s best friend”. 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. It is little known in the western world and only recently have people begun trying to grow it in the US. This miracle tree is now being grown by our very own Greg and Carole Lolley of Mayim Farms. There are hundreds of uses for this tree as every part of it can be used.
The immature pods are the most widely used part of the tree and contain all essential amino acids along with many vitamins and other nutrients. The immature pod can be eaten raw or cooked while the mature pods are usually fried and and said to taste somewhat like peanuts. The pods also yield an edible oil known as Ben Oil. This oil is clear, sweet and odorless, and never becomes rancid. Nutritionally, it most resembles olive oil. The root has been used as a substitute for horseradish but safety is questionable due to the presence of a toxic alkaloid (moriginine) a potent fungicid, pterygospermin, and a bacteriocide, spirochin. While less toxic if the bark of the root is completely removed, excessive consumption of the root can be toxic so it is best to avoid the root altogether. The leaves are eaten as greens, in salads, in vegetable curries, as pickles and for seasoning. 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 are rich in calcium and potassium.
The leaves contain 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 amounts of recommended daily allowances: Protein 42%, Calcium 125%, Magnesium 61%, Potassium 41%, Iron 71%, Vitamin A 272%, and Vitamin C 22%. 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 leaves are readily available even when other sources of nutrition are scarce and the powder can be stored for months without refrigeration with no loss of nutrients. The Moringa tree offers hope nutritionally, medicinally and economically to the extremely poor 3rd world countries. In the Western world, it is coming into use in supplement forms.
India’s ancient tradition of Ayurveda says the leaves of the Moringa tree prevent 300 diseases. While most medicinal uses of the tree are anecdotal and little research has been done, there is no question about the antibiotic potential. Although human trials (random, placebo controlled) are lacking, many countries use all parts of the tree to treat internal and skin infections. Several compounds have been identified and proven effective in vitro (in a petri dish). Research also supports the Moringa’s role in treating cancer, but again, human trials are lacking. Other medicinal benefits of Moringa include the ability to lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Again, these claims are based on anecdotal evidence over centuries of use and animal studies.
Once the oil has been extracted from the pods, there is a seed cake left. This is as effective as as aluminum sulphate (alum) in removing suspended solids from turbid water and is non-toxic, contrary to aluminum. This has major potential in the treatment of waste water also. Unlike aluminum, this can be produced locally generating employment and income. Currently there are ongoing studies and projects being done to examine this potential. Truly a “miracle tree”!
*Ramachandran,C., Peter,K.V. and Gopalakrishnan,P.K., 1980, Drumstick (Moringa oleifera): A multipurpose Indian Vegetable. Economic Botany, 34 (3) pp276-283.
*Meitzner and Price (Amaranth to Zai Holes: Ideas for Growing Food Under Difficult Conditions,?ECHO, 1996),
“In 2007, due to a complication of low back surgery, I was in a wheelchair and could only walk around my house with a cane and hanging on to furniture . I was on nearly 30 medications including morphine and antidepressants.. When the neurosurgeon bluntly told me to “take the morphine, get in the wheelchair and learn to live with it” , I knew my life had to change. Prayer led me to a chiropractor and from there to a clean, whole food diet. Within 6 months, I was out of the wheelchair and off over 20 medications including the morphine and psychotropics. I lost 80 lbs over several years. I am now nearly fanatical about healing through the use of real food and natural remedies and do everything I can to avoid doctors. I spent over 30 years in conventional medicine in pharmacy and as an RN." Patty D.
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Lastly: A new recipe featuring Moringa has been added to the recipe section.
Thank you to everyone who braved the heat picking up your Market orders yesterday. We totally get why some of you prefer coming early and as much as we love what we do, are thankful when we can pack up and get going this time of year! Early is fine with us as you don’t mind visiting while your order arrives! Please know that we go to great lengths to keep your produce fresh year round, and particularly in these hot months.
Also, we appreciate that so many of you remembered to make your checks to Market at Dothan.
In case you miss it below, Mayim Farms will be featured on “Focus at Four” Wtvy/Wrgx next Friday, July 14 2017 at 4pm.
By way of a brief announcement, next week we will have a photo section with some fun ideas to beat the heat!
This Week’s Grower Notes
We have the best Growers in the Wiregrass! Please learn more about them on our Grower Page.
Big shoutout to Restoration Gardens for their healthy melons!
AVALON FARMS: We are very sad to say that the blackberries are done for this year.
But we are excited that winter vegetable seeds will be starting to go in this week. I’ve really enjoyed making our winter seed order….so many interesting things to try! If you have a favorite to request give me a shout asap. Journeys are always more fun shared with friends.
Our garlic harvest is done and available in the market. Garlic can be a pain to peel. But then I discovered Silicone Garlic Peelers! Just Google “Silicone Garlic Peeler” and you’ll find them available everywhere. So easy to use and cheap too.
DANNY’S GREENS: The summer lettuces took a hit from the sudden heat and we’re giving them a week to recoup and don’t have them listed this week. Thanks for your understanding.
HORTONS FARM: Four Packs of Fire Ant First aid have been relisted. If you work or play outdoors this is a summertime MUST for all insect bites.
MAYIM FARMS: Fresh Moringa leaves now on the market.
From the pen of our own Patty D. ……“These 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. Protein 42%, Calcium 125%, Magnesium 61%, Potassium 41%, Iron 71%, Vitamin A 272%, and Vitamin C 22%. These numbers are particularly astounding! 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 fresh and as a supplement in a juice form and in powdered leaf tablets.”
Watch for us on “Focus at Four” Wtvy/Wrgx on July 14 2017 at 4pm