(NaturalNews) It has been said that the Moringa tree is one of the most useful trees on the planet. The Moringa tree is a highly nutritional food source and is known for its medicinal properties. According to various sources, the Moringa tree can contribute significantly in combating the problem of malnutrition and disease in developing countries.
What is the Moringa Tree?
The Moringa tree (Moringa Oleifera) is a slender, semi-deciduous, perennial tree that grows to about 10 meters tall, with drooping branches. It thrives in subtropical and tropical climates, giving fruit and flowers continually. However, the drought resistant Moringa grows best in dry, sandy soil. This makes it an ideal tree to grow in semi-desert conditions, as it provides both food and shade. The Moringa is a fast growing tree that can reach up to 3 meters in its first year.
Every part of the Moringa tree is useful, from the leaves to the roots, providing a rich source of food and medicine. The leaves are said to be a rich source of nutrients. According to miracletrees.org, fresh Moringa leaves contain 7 times the vitamin C of oranges, 4 times the calcium of milk, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 3 times the potassium of bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach and as much protein as that found in eggs.
Noel Vietmeyer of the US National Academy of Sciences, Washington said of the Moringa tree: "Although few people have ever heard of it today, Moringa could soon become one of the world's most valuable plants, at least in humanitarian terms".
The Moringa leaves can be added to a salad or they can be cooked to make a spinach-like meal. The young seed pods, called drumsticks, can be prepared in a similar way to green beans and taste a bit like asparagus. The flowers can be cooked and mixed with other foods or fried in batter. The flowers can also be used to make a nutritious tea. The seeds can be removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. Seeds, if eaten raw, are very bitter.
Other Uses of the Moringa Tree
The Moringa seeds can be used as an effective water clarifier. Leaves can be used as a fertilizer and natural pesticide. When planted in a row, the Moringa tree makes a fast growing hedge and wind-break.
The Moringa tree has been hailed as the "miracle tree" by many and is seen as a natural solution to many problems associated with poverty in developing countries. Being resistant to drought and pests, the Moringa tree grows well in countries that need it the most.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.