MORINGA

Moringa hemsida

Moringa is richly nutritious 

Moringa belongs to a genus of dicotyledonous plants and is included in the Moringaceae family. The tree is originally from the northern parts of India, Nepal and Pakistan, but is now also found in the tropical parts of Africa and South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. There are thirteen species of moringa tree, of which Moringa oleifera is the best known. 

The tree is very tolerant of drought and grows best on well-drained, sandy soils between 0-1400 meters above sea level. In these optimal conditions, the tree grows quickly, up to two meters per year during the first 3-4 years. They eventually get to about 10-12 meters tall and have a spreading crown of feathery leaves. 

Moringa can be used for a variety of things. The wood is a useful source of energy and is also used to produce paper pulp. Crush the fruit's seeds and they can be used to purify river water. Trees planted close to each other can form a natural fence for livestock farming within three months. 

Moringa oleifera is best known as an important source of food and nutrition and has been described as "the natural food of the tropics." The tree produces edible capsules that taste a little like asparagus, but it is the tree leaves that are the main source of nourishment, and that have been a great help in preventing famine in developing countries where the tree grows. The leaves are packed with protein, calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium.