Moringa Tree, The Wonder That Lay Within
Moringa trees are resilient, fast growing nitrogen fixing trees that quickly produce a large quantity of nutrient packed leaves during the rainy season or if irrigated. These leaves can be harvested up to 6 times per year and will grow back rapidly if regularly picked through the growing season. At Sons of Thunder, due to the extended dry season, the trees are currently only harvested 3 times per year. The trees are managed under a ‘pollarding’ system where the upper branches of the tree are regularly removed to stimulate the growth of a dense canopy of fresh leaves which can then be harvested.
Greenpop has planted 2 000 Moringa trees with the Sons of Thunder farmers over the last 5 years during the annual Zambia Festival of Action. Over that time, the farm has harvested over 300kgs of dried leaves. Benson, the local headman who is responsible for the management of the Moringa trees, is passionate about the trees and is working on acquiring a solar pump to extend the harvest of the Moringa trees into the dry season to increase yields and open up an opportunity to sell the Moringa on local and international markets.
1. Improve nutrition
The leaves of the tree are a source of many vitamins and minerals and have a relatively high protein content as well. One cup of fresh leaves can contain:
- Protein- 2 grams
- Vitamin B6- 19% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
- Vitamin C- 12% of the RDA
- Iron- 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2- 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A- 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium- 8% of the RDA
The seed pods of the moringa tree are also edible and can contain up to 157% of your RDA for Vitamin C
2. Increase antioxidants
Several antioxidant compounds can be found in moringa: Vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid. These compounds can help reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
3. Lower blood sugar levels
Several studies have shown that Moringa may help lower blood sugar levels. However, most of these were based on animal studies and few thorough human studies have been conducted.
4. Reduce inflammation
The plant has been shown to reduce inflammation in animals and may have a similar effect on people.
5. Lower cholesterol
Animal and human studies have shown that Moringa can lower cholesterol levels in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease.
However, despite the above-mentioned benefits, be aware that, as with all herbal medicines, you should be careful of how often and at what quantities of Moringa you are taking. Additionally, some studies have argued that the tree does indeed have a variety of health benefits, a simple well-balanced diet would be able to supply most people with a similar range of nutritional benefits.
For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!
World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.
Composting is surprisingly easy with these 4 steps – you can even do it at home, and don’t need a lot of space.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.