There are many healthy foods out there that contain a wealth of nutrition, but one of the most amazing is called the Moringa tree. This humble tree is a nutritional powerhouse that is not only making a global impact on hunger, but it could easily become part of your own edible landscape.
The Moringa Tree - A Brief History
Native to northern India, the Moringa tree is a prolific, virtually indestructible tree that can grow in many parts of the world. Historical artifacts confirm that the Indians, Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks used the Moringa tree for food and medicine as far back as 2000 B.C. In fact, ancient Indian writings purport that the Moringa tree prevents and cures hundreds of diseases. Interestingly enough, researchers of today are, indeed, confirming what the ancients have known all along.
Moringa's Amazing Health Benefits
- Seven times the vitamin C of oranges
- Four times the vitamin A of carrots
- Four times the calcium of milk
- 36 times more magnesium than eggs
- Three times the potassium of bananas
- 25 times more iron than spinach
The leaves of the Moringa tree can also be dried and ground to make a nutritious green powder to add to smoothies, soups, and stews. Interestingly, the nutrient value increases exponentially when the leaves are dried.
On top of their vitamin and mineral content, the leaves of the Moringa tree are unique in that they also provide 18 amino acids. Eight of these are considered "essential" since our bodies cannot manufacture them and must get them from dietary sources.
Cultivating the Moringa Trees
You would probably think that a tree that is so nutritionally valuable would be hard to grow or picky about environment. Not so with the Moringa tree. One of its most impressive features is that it grows in many locations; it can tolerate severe drought conditions; and it germinates easily. In a word, the Moringa is an easy tree to grow. In fact, in warm weather it grows about 20 feet per year.
The Moringa tree can be started easily from seed or cuttings. Once it begins to grow, the Moringa benefits from regular pruning to encourage bushiness. You can prune your Moringa any time of year without damaging the plant.
In the United States, the Moringa tree can be planted in the ground in zones 9-11. In colder regions, plant the tree in containers and bring indoors in winter.
In short, the Moringa tree is a nutritional powerhouse that has been used medicinally for centuries. However, it has only recently begun to make its way into Western health culture. There are not many plants quite like the amazing Moringa tree. Add some super nutrition to your edible landscape by planting one of these easy-to-grow trees today.
Fahey, J. W. Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1. Trees for Life Journal, 2005.