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Moringa – a tree with special properties

Learn more about the many benefits of this small tree for farming and health

2005

Moringa is a small tree with many valuable properties. It grows fast and it continues to grow if cut back. The leaves can be cooked as a green vegetable or used for animal fodder. It is a legume and improves soil fertility. It also produces seed pods that make a delicious vegetable when young.

However, the seeds are also very valuable. When crushed, the seed kernels produce a good cooking oil and the paste makes a good animal food. The crushed seed kernels can also be used to clean water. When a very small amount of crushed kernel paste is mixed with water, it causes any particles and diseases in the water to form clumps, which quickly sink to the bottom. The water can be filtered through a cloth and is then safer to drink. 

Discussion 

  • Do participants have any experience with moringa? Are there any trees growing in your area? Where could seeds be obtained from? 
  • Have participants ever eaten tree leaves as vegetables? Would it be useful to have such edible leaves available as a source of food, especially at times when vegetables are scarce? 
  • Obtain some moringa seeds, crush them, and use them to clean a sample of muddy river or pond water so that people can watch the result. 
  • Try encouraging people to use the young pods as a green vegetable in cooking. Would there be a market for these locally? 
  • What methods could be used for extracting the oil from the kernels? Again would there be a good market for this excellent cooking oil? 
  • Moringa leaves can also be used to prevent or cure malnutrition. Dry moringa leaves well and powder them in a mortar and pestle. Store in a jar or plastic bag and add just one teaspoon per person to stews, porridge, soups or baby cereal just before eating. The dried leaves are rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.
Illustration of a man hanging seed pods out to dry

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