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Health Benefits of the Miracle Tree or Moringa Tree

It seems like every year or two a new “superfood” hits the shelves of health food stores around the country. Whether it be some Chinese ancient herbal remedy or some pseudo-grain grown by an indigenous culture in some part of the world, superfoods have been growing in popularity with the health-conscious population around the world.

The moringa tree, like other superfoods, offers enormous amounts of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our bodies need. But what is the moringa tree? Where does it come from? How can we consume it? In this short article, we will look at the variety of health benefits that this amazing tree offers.

What is the Moringa Tree?

Moringa Oleifera, also known as the moringa tree, the drumstick tree, or the horseradish tree, is a small tree that is native to the foothills of the mighty Himalayan mountains in the northern part of India. For thousands of years, this small tree has been cultivated by different cultures throughout India and Africa because of its health benefits.

One of the biggest benefits of the moringa tree is that it can be grown in extremely arid regions where rainfall is in limited supply. It also tolerates a wide range of soils and can be grown in regions ranging from old, depleted pasture land to lands bordering desertification.
The moringa tree has been planted by peasant communities around the world, from arid regions in India and Africa to dry regions throughout Central America and Mexico. As it has gained popularity as a superfood, many people in the global north have also begun to add small moringa trees to their greenhouses.

Furthermore, the moringa tree has no known major pests meaning that it can quickly be established as a perennial tree crop that can be added to different agroforestry systems. The tender leaves and drumsticks are a favorite part of many eastern cuisines and a unique “green” flavor. The root of the moringa tree can also be consumed and has a flavor resembling horseradish. The seeds themselves can also be eaten for a wide range of health benefits that we will explore below.

All of the parts of the tree mentioned above are not only edible for humans, but also can be used as a fodder or forage crop for animals. The high protein content of the leaves make it an excellent supplement to homemade chicken feed and will help produce healthier eggs with bright orange yolks. If you have several moringa trees, you can also harvest the seed pods and feed them fresh to your cows, goats, sheep or other large animals.

In summary, then, the moringa tree is a multi-use tree that thrives in otherwise difficult growing conditions where arid conditions and nutrient depleted soils are prevalent. Almost every part of the tree (except the bark and wood) is edible and offers excellent nutrition to both humans and domestic animals.

Health Benefits of Moringa

As is the case with most superfoods, the Moringa Oleifera tree was a crop grown by isolated populations whose ancestral knowledge regarding the benefits of the tree was passed down from generation to generation. In the last two decades, however, different scientific and nutritional studies of the moringa tree have confirmed what these peasant populations have known for generations: that the moringa tree is loaded with incredible nutritional benefits.

Furthermore, the moringa tree is an extremely rich source of antioxidants such as quercetin and chlorogenic acid. For people who deal with diabetes and high blood sugar, regular consumption of moringa leaves, roots and seeds can also help to significantly lower your blood sugar levels.
Certain studies have also shown that moringa leaves and seedpods can help to regulate hormonal imbalances and help to slow the aging process. A cup of moringa tea each morning, then, can help you stay eternally young, or at least keep you looking younger for longer.

While the health benefits of moringa go on and on, the majority of these health benefits come from the fact that it packs an enormous amount of nutrition into one small, little leaf. The high protein content along with the high concentration of essential vitamins and minerals has made the moringa tree effective in helping to combat malnutrition of children and mothers in developing countries. At the same time, moringa can be consumed as a natural medicine supplement for everything from reducing swelling to boosting the immune system and to increase breast milk production in lactating mothers.

How Can You Prepare Moringa?

If you are able to grow your own moringa tree or purchase it fresh from a local farmer, you can use add the fresh leaves to soups, stews or stir-fry. In eastern cultures, curry leaves are added to curry powders. The seed pods offer a fleshy “meat” that adds texture and flavor to pretty much any stew. If you enjoy eating fresh salads, the moringa leaf and tender seed pods can also be added to any salad. The root and seeds can be ground up and added to a dressing for a horseradish type flavor that adds spice to any meal. Many people consider fresh Moringa leaf to be an alternative for spinach and you can use it in place of any recipe that calls for spinach leaves.

If you are unable to get tender leaves or seed pods (which can be eaten whole), you will need to remove the stems which can be hard to chew and digest. If you are not able to get fresh moringa leaves, seeds, seedpods or root, there are a number of health food providers that offer moringa powders. These powders are simply moringa leaves and seedpods that have been dried and ground into a powder to help with preservation. The powder offers the same health benefits as fresh moringa products.

One way to use moringa powder is to sprinkle a little bit over every meal as if you were adding a green salt and pepper to your meal. If you have prepared a soup or stew, you can also add a tablespoon of moringa powder to your soup without altering the original taste but adding large amounts of nutrition.

If you like drinking teas or smoothies, you can also use moringa. One great recipe is to add ½ a teaspoon of moringa powder to water, honey, and lemon for a power drink. You can also boil fresh Moringa leaf or moringa powder for a tea that can then be flavored with honey, cinnamon, or other ingredients.

Adding Moringa for an Overall Healthier Diet

If you are looking for a new superfood to add to your diet, the moringa tree is often called the “miracle” tree for good reason. Loaded with vitamins and minerals and nutrition benefits, even a few leaves or a tablespoon of moringa powder each day will be more than enough to get you the nutritional boost you need. If you have a green thumb, you can also try your hand at establishing a few moringa seeds in containers or pots that can add beauty and nutrition to every corner of your house.

Tobias Roberts

After working in the development industry for over a decade, Tobias decided it was time to stop advising Central American farmers how to do things if he didn´t have a piece of land to live coherently with what he taught. Together with his family he runs a small agro-forestry farm, tourism cooperative, and natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador.

39 Comments

  1. Mornings can easily suffer from pests. My every attempt to grow it failed due to spider mites killing the seedlings. Especially if grown in a polytunnel.

    It also needs hot weather to thrive, so it’s best adapted to subtropical climates (Florida for instance), not temperate climates. At least this was the experience of me and several people I know.

    1. I ordered them as bare roots and they all took off like crazy but it seems these are ideally started from a 2-3 foot bare root stalk plant.

  2. I purchased dwarf moringa seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and have had good luck growing them so far–about 75% germinated with no special techniques on my part. Six months later, the trees are now about 18 inches tall. I’m looking forward to harvesting leaves. Thanks for the article about the uses and benefits.

    1. When the trees reach 3ft cut them back about half to encourage side shoots do this again when about 6ft this
      Well help provide leaves to eat and should also give you the beans low enough to harvest when no thicker than
      A pencil then they are slightly peppery and tender you can leave one or two to provide more seed. The trees can be
      Planted close to a house. As the roots go straight down . Neem a tree from India can be grown in a Simalar climate.and a spray can be made to keep insects away . I contacted seeds from Africa in Cape Town and they
      Have Maringa seeds butter do not know about neem

  3. will have to do some more homework myself, but I think i read prior to this article that the roots are toxic to consume.

  4. The Moringa I am growing are constantly in battle with thrips.
    Unchecked the leaves turn yellow and drop off.
    High pressured water to the leaves help keep the thrips in check

  5. I live north of San Francisco in a sunny microclimate. I have the dwarf moringas in pots by a warm, well-protected wall for the cool and rainy season. It will be interesting to see how they do when the temps drop.

    1. Kate,

      It’s almost 2 years later. Do you still have your Moringa? I, too bought Moringa from Baker Creek about the time you had yours. I had one planted in the front garden facing southwest, which grew for a while until winter came. This spring, (2019). I sowed the rest of the seeds and got 2 plants out of 8 or 9 seeds. This time I’m keeping them in containers and plan to bring them in the house when It gets colder. I live in Solano County and winter temps can get down to the 20’s, but not often.

  6. I am in my second year with my Moringa tree’s.I started mine from seeds. I had lots of lovely salads last summer, and my tree’s are starting to give new growth now. i have had no pest problems at all. looking forward to a abundant season.

  7. Helen what part of the country are you located?
    Author will you please provide additional scientific documentation on edible parts of tree. I have also heard roots not edible. What variety are you referring to and where am I able to purchase seeds? Thank you for article very informative.

      1. I usedto live in Ft Davis on Atlantic side from 1983-1987. Best years of my life! My father was Green Beret Special Forces. I also attended Coc Solo High School.
        I’m in Florida now and I also have left my email to help others get started on Miracle Tree.

    1. Hi I live in Florida! I have miracle tree in abundance ❤️ Many trees. I basically started with one tree and took clippings..I even cut them back and stuck in in the ground and boom they grew! So I’m motivated enough to help someone out with fresh seeds green leaves small plant etc.. you can email me [email protected]
      Please put Miracle Tree in header so I’ll know. Michelle Headrick

    1. Yes. You just need to raise the flower bed with organic soil, manure and compost since we have clay soil. BTW, I’m from Frisco. You can also plant it on huge flower pots so when winter comes, you can bring it inside the house.

  8. If you don’t want to grow it yourself there are plenty of places that sell freshly harvested Moringa leaves for you. For example my site sells fresh Moringa straight from the farm to order. They come in capsules, powders, tea leaves, cold pressed drops and more.

  9. I have been trying to grow Moringa from seeds. I have sprouted some successfully in a sunny kitchen window. They don’t survive transplantation into the ground outside. I’m in SoCal just south of Los Angeles.

  10. I can’t remember where I read this but, I do recall reading several years ago that the roots act as water purifier. It was in those cases when the tree was in a questionable area that the roots would become toxic from the water contaminants that they would remove from the water. It was in then that the roots were not safe to eat. I don’t remember how this effected the rest of the tree.

    1. When the trees reach 3ft cut them back about half to encourage side shoots do this again when about 6ft this
      Well help provide leaves to eat and should also give you the beans low enough to harvest when no thicker than
      A pencil then they are slightly peppery and tender you can leave one or two to provide more seed. The trees can be
      Planted close to a house. As the roots go straight down . Neem a tree from India can be grown in a Similar climate and a spray can be made to keep insects away . I contacted seeds from Africa in Cape Town and they have Maringa seeds butter do not know about neem.

  11. I am growing moringa at two of my houses in SoCal- San Diego and Joshua Tree. These trees grow great if you leave them alone and just water them. Do not try to kill them with kindness with fertilizers, additives, or anything else. Just water them and they will grow. My San Diego house has clay soil, and my Joshua Tree house has sand soil. San Diego is at sea level, and Joshua Tree is almost 3000 feet above sea level. You can take starts from them, or grow from seed. remember to use the KISS theory- Keep It Simple Stupid and they will thrive for you. BTW- Joshua Tree goes from 15 F. to 115 F. and they just love it year after year. Questions- Leo (760) 477-3054

    1. Leo,

      Thank you. I’m in Northern California and I have two dwarf Moringa that I sowed in the spring. Our temps range from the 20’s – 90’s with occasional low 100’s. I was planning to keep them in containers to bring in when temps go down. But now, perhaps I can put them in the hugelkultur on the south side of the house.

  12. Well these used to be for the poor to survive. Like many other superfoods.

    Looks like people like you are gonna ruin that for them.

  13. well!!! very informative article, in my own case i have planted moringa trees for more than 2 & 1/2 years, but pests doesn’t allow leaves to grow. please what pesticide should i apply.
    Best regard.

  14. I also got my seeds from Baker Creek. They arrived yesterday. I am going to try growing it in containers since I live in Minnesota, which about as cold as it get in the US. I already grow tropicals which move indoors when it gets cold. I was lucky to buy a house that has a wall of windows facing south which allow a lot of light. As to the insects that can infect them. I suggest that people look up non-toxic solutions to deal with pest, using common ingredients, like neem oil and hydrogen peroxide, on YouTube. Do NOT use pesticides for something you are going to eat.

  15. I live in Lakeland, FL and I have a Moringa Tree. It got aphids once and I sprayed garlic and colodial silver on leaves and poured around tree base. worked great. I strip leaves on biggest branches and dry in garage. Then pulverize in powder. Just started eating dried seeds. 1 a day or Im in bathroom a lot. I am very Thankful for my tree.

  16. Just simply add dawn soap with water in sprayer bottle and spray leafy area
    If you have a large enough root/ tree, scrape the sides closest to the bottom tip with a butter knife and dip in honey until covered. apply wet paper towel for a few days then soak into water. Allow sprouts to take place.😁

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