IT’S TIME TO LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT MORINGA OLEIFERA HEALTH BENEFITS. Get the Moringa facts in the quick video and be sure to check out our sister company: The Moringa Company at the link above.
Holistik Health is dedicated to providing you with the world’s best information and supplementation in regards to all things health and nutrition. We specialize in superfoods and superfood recipes with an emphasis on Moringa Oleifera and other world class superfoods.
As always, we invite you to leave your comments with us, Subscribe and connect with us at the links below. Enjoy and talk soon!
Moringa oleifera From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Drumstick tree” and variants thereof redirect here. This name is also used for the golden shower tree (Cassia fistulosa)
Pods of Moringa oleifera inPanchkhal, Nepal
Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa, which is the only genus in the family Moringaceae. English common names include: moringa,drumstick tree (from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish), ben oil tree, or benzoil tree (from the oil which is derived from the seeds). It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables. It can also be used for water purification and hand washing, and is sometimes used in herbal medicine.
ETYMOLOGY Moringa derives from the Tamil word, murungai or Malayalam word, murinna (alternately muringa). Numerous other common names for moringa exist in different languages worldwide.
M. oleifera is a fast-growing, deciduous tree. It can reach a height of 10–12 m (32–40 ft)  and the trunk can reach a diameter of 45 cm (1.5 ft). The bark has a whitish-grey colour and is surrounded by thick cork. Young shoots have purplish or greenish-white, hairy bark. The tree has an open crown of drooping, fragile branches and the leaves build up a feathery foliage of tripinnate leaves.
The flowers are fragrant and bisexual, surrounded by five unequal, thinly veined, yellowish-white petals. The flowers are about 1.0-1.5 cm (1/2″)long and 2.0 cm (3/4″)broad. They grow on slender, hairy stalks in spreading or drooping later flower clusters which have a length of 10–25 cm.
Flowering begins within the first six months after planting. In seasonally cool regions, flowering only occurs once a year between April and June. In more constant seasonal temperatures and with constant rainfall, flowering can happen twice or even all year-round.
The fruit is a hanging, three-sided brown capsule of 20–45 cm size which holds dark brown, globular seeds with a diameter around 1 cm. The seeds have three whitish papery wings and are dispersed by wind and water.
In cultivation, it is often cut back annually to 1–2 m (3–6 ft)and allowed to regrow so the pods and leaves remain within arm’s reach.
CULTIVATION The moringa tree is grown mainly in semiarid, tropical, and subtropical areas, corresponding in the United States to USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, but prefers a neutral to slightly acidic (pH 6.3 to 7.0), well-drained sandy or loamy soil. In waterlogged soil the roots have a tendency to rot. Moringa is a sun- and heat-loving plant, thus does not toleratefreezing or frost. Moringa is particularly suitable for dry regions, as it can be grown using rainwater without expensive irrigation techniques.
Parameter Requirement/range Climate Grows best in tropical or subtropical Altitude 0 – 2000 m Rainfall 250 – 3000 mmIrrigation needed for leaf production if rainfall < 800 mm Soil Type Loamy, sandy, or sandy-loam Soil pH pH 5 – 9 PRODUCTION AREA[EDIT] India is the largest producer of moringa, with an annual production of 1.1 to 1.3 million tonnes of fruits from an area of 380 km². Among Indian states, Andhra Pradesh leads in both area and production (156.65 km²) followed by Karnataka (102.8 km²) and Tamil Nadu (74.08 km²), a pioneering state having varied genotypes from diversified geographical areas and introductions from Sri Lanka.
Moringa is grown in home gardens in Odisha and as living fences in southern India and Thailand, where it is commonly sold in local markets. In the Philippines, it is commonly grown for its leaves which are used as food. Moringa is also actively cultivated by the World Vegetable Center in Taiwan, a center for vegetable research. In Haiti, it is grown aswindbreaks and to help reduce soil erosion.
More generally, moringa grows in the wild or is cultivated in Central America and the Caribbean, northern countries of South America, Africa, Southeast Asia and various countries of Oceania.
As of 2010, cultivation in Hawaii, for commercial distribution in the United States, is in its early stages.
CULTIVATION PRACTICE Moringa can be grown as an annual or perennial plant. In the first year, all pods are edible. Later years also bear inedible bitter pods. Therefore, moringa is often commercially cultivated as an annual. On less favorable locations, perennial cultivation has big advantages. Erosion is much smaller with perennial cultivation. Perennial cultivation of moringa is also practiced in agroforestry.
Soil preparations In tropical cultivation, soil erosion is a major problem. Therefore, the soil treatment has to be as shallow as possible. Plowing is required only for high planting densities. In low planting densities, “it is better to dig pits and refill them with the soil. This ensures good root system penetration without causing too much land erosion. The pits must be 30 to 50 cm deep, and 20 to 40 cm wide.” 
Propagation Moringa can be propagated from seed or cuttings. Direct seeding is possible because the germination rate of M. oleifera is high. After 12 days, the germination rate is about 85%. Production in seedbeds or containers is very time-consuming. In these techniques, the plants can be better protected from insects and other pests. They are also used in areas where soil erosion is a problem.
Cuttings of 1 m length and a diameter of at least 4 cm can be also used for propagation. At least one third of the cutting must be buried in the soil. In the Philippines, moringa is propagated by planting 1– to 2-m-long limb cuttings, preferably from June to August. It can also be propagated by seeds, which are planted an inch below the surface and can be germinated year-round in well-draining soil.
Planting For intensive leaf production, “the spacing of plants should be 15 x 15 cm or 20 x 10 cm, with conveniently spaced alleys (for example: every 4 m) to facilitate plantation management and harvests. Another option is to space the seeding lines 45 cm apart and to sow every 5 cm on those lines. One can also space the lines only 30 cm apart and sow at a larger distance on the lines (10 to 20 cm)”. Weeding and disease prevention are difficult because of the high density. In a semi-intensive production, the plants are spaced 50 cm to 1 m apart. This gives good results with less maintenance.
Moringa trees can also be cultivated in alleys, as natural fences and associated with other crops. The distance between moringa rows in an agroforestry cultivation are usually between 2 and 4 meters. In Haiti, it is used as fencing and windbreaks on farms.
BREEDING In India, from where moringa most likely originated, the diversity of wild types is large. This gives a good basis for breeding programs. In countries where moringa has been introduced, the diversity is usually much smaller among the cultivar types. Locally well-adapted wild types,though, can be found in most regions.
Because moringa is cultivated and used in different ways, there are different breeding aims. The breeding aims for an annual or a perennial plant are obviously different. The yield stability of fruits is an important breeding aim for the commercial cultivation in India, where moringa is cultivated as an annual. On less favorable locations, perennial cultivation has big advantages. Erosion is much smaller with perennial cultivation. In Pakistan, varieties have been tested for their nutritional composition of the leaves on different locations. The different breeding aims result in a different selection. India selects for a higher number of pods and dwarf or semidwarf varieties. Breeders in Tanzania, though, are selecting for higher oil content.
YIELD AND HARVEST M. oleifera can be cultivated for its leaves, pods, and/or its kernels for oil extraction and water purification. The yields vary widely, depending on season, variety, fertilization, and irrigation regimen. Moringa yields best under warm, dry conditions with some supplemental fertilizer and irrigation. Harvest is done manually with knives, sickles, and stabs with hooks attached. Pollarding, coppicing and lopping or pruning are recommended to promote branching, increase production and facilitate harvesting.
FRUITS When the plant is grown from cuttings, the first harvest can take place 6–8 months after planting. Often, the fruits are not produced in the first year, and the yield is generally low during the first few years. By year two, it produces around 300 pods, by year 3 around 400-500. A good tree can yield 1000 or more pods. In India, a hectare can produce 31 tons of pods per year. Under North Indian conditions, the fruits ripen during the summer. Sometimes, particularly in South India, flowers and fruit appear twice a year, so two harvests occur, in July to September and March to April.
LEAVES Average yields of 6 tons/ha/year in fresh matter can be achieved. The harvest differs strongly between the rainy and dry seasons, with 1120 kg/ha per harvest and 690 kg/ha per harvest, respectively. The leaves and stems can be harvested from the young plants 60 days after seeding and then another seven times in the year. At every harvest, the plants are cut back to within 60 cm of the ground. In some production systems, the leaves are harvested every 2 weeks.
The cultivation of M. oleifera can also be done intensively with irrigation and fertilization with suitable varieties. Trials in Nicaragua with 1 million plants per hectare and 9 cuttings/year over 4 years gave an average fresh matter production of 580 metric tons/ha/year, equivalent to about 174 metric tons of fresh leaves.
OIL One estimate for yield of oil from kernels is 250 l/ha. The oil can be used as a food supplement, as a base for cosmetics, and for hair and the skin.
PESTS AND DISEASES The moringa tree is not affected by any serious diseases in its native or introduced ranges. In India, several insect pests are seen, including various caterpillars such as the bark-eating caterpillar, the hairy caterpillar or the green leaf caterpillar. The budworms Noctuidae are known to cause serious defoliation. Damaging agents can also be aphids, stem borers, and fruit flies. In some regions, termites can also cause minor damage. If termites are numerous in soils, insects management costs are not bearable.
The moringa tree is a host to Leveillula taurica, a powdery mildew which causes damage in papaya crops in south India. Cultivation management should therefore be checked.
NUTRIENTS Moringa oleifera leaf, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 64 kcal (270 kJ) Carbohydrates 8.28 g Dietary fiber 2.0 g Fat 1.40 g Protein 9.40 g Vitamins Vitamin A equiv. (47%) 378 μg
Thiamine (B1) (22%) 0.257 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (55%) 0.660 mg
Niacin (B3) (15%) 2.220 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (3%) 0.125 mg
Vitamin B6 (92%) 1.200 mg
Folate (B9) (10%) 40 μg
Vitamin C (62%) 51.7 mg
Minerals Calcium (19%) 185 mg
Iron (31%) 4.00 mg
Magnesium (41%) 147 mg
Manganese (17%) 0.36 mg
Phosphorus (16%) 112 mg
Potassium (7%) 337 mg
Sodium (1%) 9 mg
Zinc (6%) 0.6 mg
Other constituents Water 78.66 g Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units Percentages are roughly approximated usingUS recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database M. oleifera pods, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 37 kcal (150 kJ) Carbohydrates 8.53 g Dietary fiber 3.2 g Fat 0.20 g Protein 2.10 g Vitamins Vitamin A equiv. (1%) 4 μg
Thiamine (B1) (5%) 0.0530 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (6%) 0.074 mg
Niacin (B3) (4%) 0.620 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (16%) 0.794 mg
Vitamin B6 (9%) 0.120 mg
Folate (B9) (11%) 44 μg
Vitamin C (170%) 141.0 mg
Minerals Calcium (3%) 30 mg
Iron (3%) 0.36 mg
Magnesium (13%) 45 mg
Manganese (12%) 0.259 mg
Phosphorus (7%) 50 mg
Potassium (10%) 461 mg
Sodium (3%) 42 mg
Zinc (5%) 0.45 mg
Other constituents Water 88.20 g Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units Percentages are roughly approximated usingUS recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient Database Many parts of the moringa are edible. Regional uses of the moringa as food vary widely, and include:
The immature seed pods, called “drumsticks”, are popular in Asia and Africa. Leaves are eaten, particularly in Cambodia, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. Mature seeds Flowers Oil pressed from the mature seeds Roots In some regions, the young seed pods are most commonly eaten, while in others, the leaves are the most commonly used part of the plant. The flowers are edible when cooked and are said to taste like mushrooms.
LEAVES Nutritional content of 100 g of fresh M. oleifera leaves (about 5 cups) is shown in the table (right; USDA data), while other studies of nutrient values are available.[
Sonjna (Moringa oleifera) leaves with flowers in Kolkata, West Bengal,India
The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, provitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese, and protein, among other essential nutrients. When compared with common foods particularly high in certain nutrients per 100 g fresh weight, cooked moringa leaves are considerable sources of these same nutrients. Some of the calcium in moringa leaves is bound as crystals of calcium oxalate though at levels 1/25th to 1/45th of that found in spinach, which is a negligible amount.
The leaves are cooked and used like spinach and are commonly dried and crushed into a powder used in soups and sauces.
An Indian drumstick
The immature seed pods, called “drumsticks”, are commonly consumed in South Asia. They are prepared by parboiling, and cooked in a curry until soft. The seed pods/fruits, even when cooked by boiling, remain particularly high in vitamin C (which may be degraded variably by cooking) and are also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
SEEDS The seeds, sometimes removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts, contain high levels of vitamin C and moderate amounts of B vitamins and dietary minerals.