Native to India is the Malungay (Moringa) tree; often called the drumstick tree, miracle tree, or ben oil tree. This tree is pound-for-pound one of the most nutritional things on this planet, so much so that it is being referred to as a superfood. It’s leaves are often used in salads, soups, and stews, while it’s flowers can also be used in the same way. Moringa also produce seeds which are commonly roasted and can also be refined to produce ben oil (hence the nickname) which can be used for just about anything from soaps to fertilizer. This plant grows very well in tropical regions with adequate rainfall. In Hawaii, these plants can be found almost everywhere. It’s distinct seed pods can be used to identify this miracle tree.
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Moringa Nutrition Content
The miracle tree is best known for it’s nutrition packed leaves which are the most commonly used and the easiest to prepare part of the plant. It’s advised that the baby leaves, or new-growth leaves, be used as they contain the highest nutritional value. Here are the top nutrients contained in Moringa leaves according to the USDA:
- Vitamin A – 350% more than carrots.
- Vitamin C – 733% more than oranges.
- Calcium – 366% more calcium than cows milk.
- Potassium – 294% more than bananas.
- Protein – 200% more than cows milk.
All comparisons are for a serving size of 100 grams.
The amazing thing about the Moringa plant is that contains a high amount of protein compared to other plants. It also contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.
Although the seed pods don’t contain nearly the same nutritional value as the leaves do, raw Moringa seeds contain a good amount of potassium and vitamin C.
“Many people report an improved sense of overall health while consuming Moringa consistently over an extended period of time.”
The nutritional value is obviously high in Moringa. If you look at the nutrient comparisons above, you’ll notice that it dwarfs the competition (I mean, seriously? 733% more vitamin C than oranges?). The potential health benefits are also startling, in a good way. Vitamin A and C are both essential for the body, helping to boost the immune system as well as maintaining bone health and vision. Vitamin A also helps your skin repel bacteria and viruses efficiently. Calcium and potassium are also vital minerals aiding in proper bone, heart, muscle, and nervous system health.
The amino acid content is truly the remarkable thing about this superfood. Better yet, Moringa contains all the essential amino acids. This is important because your body cannot make essential amino acids on it’s own. Therefore your diet needs to contain a source of essential amino acids. Amino acids help to rebuild tissue which is critical, especially if you are one who exercises regularly. It is also believed to aid in fat loss, and stamina.
Moringa has also been believed to improve energy levels and sleep function as well. People also report that the miracle tree has helped them deal with many common health problems such as headaches, constipation, diarrhea and infections. It is also used frequently in developing countries to help fight malnutrition.
Moringa also contains a high amount of flavenoids and carotenoids, antioxidants which are famous for aiding in cancer prevention. An ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) study done by Brunswick Laboratories found that Moringa contained nearly 2500% the antioxidant power of the popular noni juice, and almost 2,600% that of another popular superfood, the goji berry.
The Moringa oil is also popular for it’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied to cuts and burns, as well as insect bites and rashes.
Many people report an improved sense of overall health while consuming Moringa consistently over an extended period of time. Although I do not have any personal stories (only research), I certainly do believe that Moringa can be a healthy addition into one’s diet.
Almost any plant retains it’s full nutrient content when eaten raw. Nutrients are fragile and can be destroyed fairly easily when heat is applied. Moringa leaves can be added into a salad and won’t ruin the overall flavor of the salad. Moringa leaves taste almost the same as any other ruffage and chances are that if you enjoy salad, you’ll have no problem throwing a handful of miracle tree leaves in. If salads aren’t your thing, you may mix it into soups and stews.
I prepare it in a chicken soup where I throw in a handful in right before I turn off the heat. The thin leaves wilt quickly and the flavor is totally gone. The flowers can also be prepared in the same way. The seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack.
Although I’ve never taken any Moringa supplements (all natural for me!) there are many people that do and continue to use it. Moringa supplements are primarily available in capsule and powder form. The essential oil from the seeds are also commonly used. Taking a supplement is a good idea if you live in a region where Moringa is difficult to grow. Here are some of the most popular Moringa supplements on the market:
If you live in a suitable region for cultivation and would like to purchase the Moringa tree or seeds, visit the links below and browse the selections!
There is no doubt that this rather common tree is of high nutritional value. It has potential health benefits which can aid much of today’s health problems.
We’d love to hear from you! Have you tried Moringa?
Author: Brennan Young
Thank you for stopping by! I started The-Urban-Farmer.com to share my love for creative gardening, healthy living, and home DIY’s. If you enjoy the content on this site, I encourage you to follow The-Urban-farmer.com via social media (below). I’d also love to hear from you so feel free to contact me!