Malunggay /Moringa Oleifera

Malunggay, commonly known simply as Moringa. Moringa is one of eco-friendly plants that help the world hunger and sick people. It is a soft-wooded tree that grows to about 20 feet tall, with corky bark and small feathery leaves. Its root is just like a Japanese wasabi or horseradish.

Moringa is entirely edible, from leaves to roots. The moringa plant is drought resistant and grows practically anywhere around the world—even lands with poor soil, near the sea and dry areas, and can even withstand severe drought once the plant is established.

Seeds sprout readily in one week. Alternatively, one can plant a branch and within a week, it will grow by itself with another sprout. It is often cut back year after year in fence rows and continues to thrive. Therefore, to keep an abundant supply of leaves, flowers, and pods within easy reach, topping out is useful. Of course, it is natural and understandable that water and fertilizer make it grow better.

Nutritional Value of Malunggay

The leaves contain significant sources of minerals and vitamins A, B, and C. It contains high levels of calcium, phosphorous, iron, protein, with low fat, and low carbohydrates. Its iron content is very good for anemia.

We like to believe that if we will plant moringa tree in our backyard garden as well as all vacant lots around the world, there shall be no food shortages and malnutrition problems.

According to other sources on the internet, Moringa has seven times the vitamin C in oranges; four times the calcium and two times the protein in milk; four times the vitamin A in carrots; and three times the potassium in bananas.

Culinary Uses of Malunggay

Virtually every part of it is edible. The Moringa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, particularly in the Philippines, where it is called malunggay. It can be cooked in any various ways like that of spinach. The roots can be pulled out and can be used as horseradish. Flowers can be eaten as vegetable, or you can use it to make a tea, and it provides calcium and potassium. From its seed, quality oil called Ben oil is yield by pressing. The oil is good for cooking and lubricating precision machines such as watches and sewing machines.

So why I became interested in planting moringa? During the 1940s, Japan suffered from food shortages. We used desiccated coconut powder as bread flour mixed with edible grass powder. I can remember how moringa leaves were dried and powdered to make a bitterly tasting bread just to survive from hunger. However, it was good that moringa provided hungry Japanese with enough nutrients.

How did we make bread out of moringa leaves? At first, rinse moringa leaves and boil it for 4-5 minutes. Then, dry it either under the sun or windy shade. Grind it and mix with any flour to make cake, bread, or noodles. This makes a highly nutritious daily meal.

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