As we reported in a previous blog post about the Healthiest Foods in the World, moringa leaves are amazingly nutrient dense: 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 4 times the calcium of milk, 3 times the potassium of bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach, and 2 times the protein of yogurt. In addition, moringa has minerals, 46 antioxidants, significant amounts of beta-carotene and all the essential amino acids. Aid agencies consider moringa a vital tool in the fight against malnutrition around the world. Maybe that’s why some call it the Tree of Life or Miracle Tree.
Other benefits and uses of moringa include: anti-aging properties, lowers cholesterol, helps detoxify your body, makes your body more alkaline, plant based protein is easy for your body to process. Moringa oil can be used for cooking, lubrication for fine instruments, put on cuts or burns and as skin lotion. After the oil is extracted from seeds, the remaining material (press cake) is used to purify water. Some claim moringa reduces risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Some use moringa as part of a weight loss program.
The focus of this blog post is on how to grow and process moringa for consumption. While you could buy it over the Internet as tea or powder, obviously it’s less expensive to grow your own. Fortunately, moringa is easy to grow. It doesn’t need high quality soil or a lot of special care. I even heard it can grow where other trees will not survive. Moringa is drought tolerant and suited to arid regions. That’s why it’s so popular in Africa and India.
The first video above shows how moringa trees can be coppiced (pruned) repeatedly for decades to produce a bountiful crop. That method produces flowers and seeds, in addition to lots of leaves. You can also grow moringa close to the ground in garden beds as explained in the second video: Plants are spaced 10 cm (3”) apart in 1.2 m (4’) wide garden beds (100 plants per sq. meter). Harvest every 8 weeks when plants are about 3’ or 1 m tall or less. Cut back to about 10 cm above ground and the plants will quickly regrow. This method produces up to 650 tons per hectare (2.5 acres). Leaves are washed and then slow dried in shade, because sunlight will zap the nutrients. The dry leaves can be pounded into powder with mortar and pestle or pulverized in a blender.
A friend writes: “I steam moringa and mix with salt, onions and olive oil. Tastes good with no bitterness. I have a bucket of leaves and stems I will shred and extract liquid from and make spray fertilizer. (Moringa leaf extract is a plant stimulant.) Oil can be extracted from moringa seed in the home. Seed from mature pods-which can be 60 cm (24 in) long-are roasted, mashed and placed in boiling water for 5 minutes. After straining and sitting overnight, the moringa oil floats to the surface. ”
The Miracle Tree was written by Dr. Monica Marcu, Pharm.D., and Ph.D. as a result of her study of medicinal plants and her definitive research of one of our greatest trees, the Moringa oleifera. This book defines the hundreds of substances such as vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, fats, minerals, specific phytochemicals, each with clear importance and numerous applications in healing and nutrition.
Lower cost books about moringa
Pruning for thicker growth
Moringa YouTube channel
Moringa farm in Thailand (exporter with over 20,000 trees)
Moringa health benefits video
Search YouTube for moringa recipes