Species of the Week

In this week take a moment to learn more about Moringa, a miracle of Nature.

Scientific name: Moringa oleifera
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Brassicales
Family: Moringaceae
Reproduction: Cuttings, seeds and pollination by insects and birds
Size: can reach 10m in height


Moringa also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or benzoil tree, is originally from India and today it can be found in all subtropical regions of the world.

It is considered a “miracle of nature” and a “blessing of nature” as one of the most useful cultivated trees for humans because it is rich in vitamins and minerals and almost all parts of this plant can be used for several purposes.

Description and uses
Its fruit has an average of 30 cm and is indehiscent, that is, does not open when it reaches maturity, produces unflavored flowers throughout the year.

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The leaves provide food for several animals, and along with the pods, also serve as food to man. Its oily seeds are used to produce oil and olive oil and to water purification; The bark is used for the production of baskets and the wood for paper production and textile fibers. When reproduced by cuttings, it produce roots able to contain soil erosion, used by many Mozambicans as live fencing.

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In Africa, with millions of people with HIV and AIDS, it has been a weapon to combat the debilitating effects of this disease, for being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, and is a powerful weapon against chronic malnutrition in many regions of this continent.

Curiosities:
All parts of the moringa are used in traditional medicine in Asia, Africa and Central America. It contains more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants, apart from 36 anti-inflammatory substances and 18 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that are not produced by the human body.13014_580_360

Fresh leaves contain nutrients in the following proportions:

  • 7 times more vitamin C than oranges;
  • 17 times more calcium than milk;
  • 10 times more vitamin A than carrots;
  • 15 times more potassium than bananas;
  • 2 times more protein than milk (about 27% of protein);
  • 25 times more iron than spinach;

Vitamins: A, B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin), C and E and beta carotene.

Minerals: chromium, copper, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.

In many parts of Mozambique it is produced Moringa powder for enrichment of drinks and food.

 

 


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