Moringa oleifera, the moringa tree, has been aptly nicknamed the miracle tree for its nutritional value and medical qualities. The moringa tree is native to South Asia and is known for how quickly it grows.

Many parts of the tree are edible, making it a valuable source of food in impoverished, rural areas especially in times of drought because the tree is very hardy.

Nearly every part of the moringa tree can be used. Although the wood from the tree is not very high quality, the fruit, leaves and pods are all edible.

The moringa tree leaves have a very high level of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C as well as vitamin A. One cup of moringa leaves offers two grams of protein and more than 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, and riboflavin. One cup of moringa pods offers 157 percent of the daily allowance for vitamin C.

The leaves have twice as much calcium and protein as whole milk when compared ounce for ounce. Considering approximately 670,000 children die from a vitamin A deficiency every year, the moringa’s nutrients are very valuable.

Moringa oil is extracted from the seed of the tree. This oil’s special quality is that it does not quickly go rancid. In impoverished areas where refrigeration is not an option, the oil can be a very good alternative to other vegetable oils.

One of the significant attributes of the moringa tree in light of global poverty is the purification quality of the seeds. There is a coagulant found in the crushed seed that can be used to reduce turbidity and alkalinity in water. There is also an antiseptic property withing the seed that helps purify it.

The nutrition within the tree makes the moringa a valuable asset in the alleviation of global hunger. The success of the moringa tree is evident as organizations have incorporated it into their programs for hunger alleviation. The Peace Corps in specific implements the use of the tree into the programs.

Iona Brannon

Sources: Epoch Times, Fox News, International Journal of Development and Sustainability, Kuli Kuli, SABC
Photo: Flickr