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.
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