The drumstick tree known as Moringa oleifera is hugely popular because of its diverse range of health benefits. Every part of this tree is a nutritional powerhouse in itself. This article brings to life the uses and benefits of leaves, seeds pods, flowers, and root of moringa.
Moringa pods or drumsticks as they are commonly known in parts of Asia are slender looking pods with triangular seeds in it. Flesh and seeds of drumsticks are tasty and have a diverse range of health benefits and medicinal uses. The drumstick tree which grows to 30-40 feet is a deciduous tree that is native to India. The tree is widely cultivated in tropical, semiarid and subtropical conditions. After planting, the harvest takes around 5-8 months. The yield is low during the first year. By the third year, the tree produces around 300-500 pod fruits. If the soil condition is conducive a good tree produces in excess of 1000 fruit pods. Leaves, flowers and seed pods of moringa are used in various vegetable recipes.
The word moringa is derived from the Tamil word murungai which refers to a triangular-twisted pod in young fruit. The flowering of moringa tree takes place once or twice in a year. The slender-long pod fruit is green in color on the outside. When the sticks are parboiled the seeds and flesh in the pod get a translucent color. Every part of moringa tree is useful and most parts of the tree are edible.
Drumstick Tree Uses and Benefits
Leaves and flowers of drumstick are used as herbal medicine for varied treatments at home. Flowers and pod fruits are used as vegetables in Asian cuisine. Drumstick flesh and seeds are used in soups, curries and sambhar, a vegetable stew. Drumstick soup made from leaves, flowers, or pulp/seeds from pods is healthy and has high nutritional value.
Leaves and flowers of Drumsticks are used as forage for livestock. Traditionally leaves, seeds, flowers, root, and bark or moringa is used as medicine. The presence of zinc in drumstick leaves and seeds enhance the process of spermatogenesis.
Health Benefits and Uses of Moringa Leaves
1. Excellent for Healthy Glowing Skin
Moringa leaves are a powerhouse of nutrients. The leaves of drumstick tree have diverse range of health benefits. The leaves of this tree are packed with nutrients. The leaves of drumstick are an excellent source of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and provitamin A, vitamin K, beta-carotene, vitamin K protein and manganese aside from other major essential nutrients. In many Asian countries, women consume Drumstick leaves for healthy glowing skin and hair strengthening. Also, Moringa leaves have natural blood-purifying properties thereby helping in acne reduction.
2. Aids Digestion
Drumstick leaves are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine and riboflavin. These play a vital role food digestion. The vitamins present in drumstick leaves are known to regulate the digestive process by aiding the breakdown of complex fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
3. Excellent Nutritional Value
Moringa leaves are a significant source of calcium. A 100 gram serving of cooked drumstick leaves is excellent all-round nutritional value. Moringa leaves can be cooked in the same way spinach is. Also, moringa leaves are dried and crushed to use as flakes or powder in soups, stews, and sauces.
Health Benefits and Uses of Moringa Root
4. Used in Water Purification
The taste of moringa root is similar to horse radish. The root can be shredded and used in small amounts as a condiment. The roots of drumstick tree are used to make perfumes, medicines, fertilizers, and as cleansing agents in water purification. The seed cake that remains after oil extraction from moringa seeds is used as a fertilizer or as a flocculent in water purification process.
5. Treatment of Illnesses and Medical Conditions
The root of drumstick tree is used as medicine in various cultures. Moringa root is known for its antibiotic properties and is used for a variety of illness and conditions such as Asthama, digestive disorders, gastritis, skin disorders, rheumatism, inflammation and thyroid related problems.
6. Treatment of Ovarian Cancer
Keep in mind root of moringa should be consumed more for medicinal purposes rather than food. While the nutrient content in moringa root is excellent, root of this plant also contains certain phytochemical compounds and alkaloids that can act as powerful toxins if consumed in excessively large quantities. On the flip side, studies reveal the compounds present in moringa root can be used as alternative treatment for treatment in ovarian cancer.
Health Benefits and Uses of Moringa Seeds
7. A Perfect Health Snack
Seeds of moringa are present in the slender pod fruit that grows on moringa trees. Seeds can be removed from mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted with a little seasoning of herbs and spices. 100 grams serving of roasted drumstick seeds are a perfect health snack. The long-slender moringa pod can be cut into small pieces and parboiled. The seeds and the fleshy thick layer of pulp are relished for their taste and antioxidant properties in many Asian cultures.
8. Has Antioxidant Properties
Moringa seeds are known for their antioxidant properties, thanks to the presence of Vitamins A, C and B-complex, that put a brake on growth of harmful free radicals. Research reveals consumption of moringa seeds prevents spread of cancer cells. Dried seed powder is used by practitioners of Ayurveda in combination with other dried herbs as alternative treatment for various health conditions.
9. Promotes good Cardiovascular Health
Consumption of Moringa seed are known to safeguard heart tissue from constructional damage thereby contributing to good cardiac health. These seeds have oleic acid, a complex monosaturated fatty acid that is highly beneficial for good health. This healthy source of fat works as ‘good cholesterol’. Furthermore, intake of these seeds is known to reduce oxidized lipid amounts in the body.
10. Moringa Seed Oil for Acne treatment
Ben oil is an edible oil extracted from mature moringa seeds. Oil pressed from moringa seed has a high concentration of behenic acid. This refined oil is odorless and clear. Oil of moringa seeds is also a potential biofuel. Oil extracted from drumstick seeds is used in homemade facial masks and body masks to nourish skin and give it a healthy glow. Furthermore, moringa seed oil is also applied on the face to get rid of acne, acne scars, acne marks, removal of black spots, removal of fine lines and get clearer and brighter skin tone with radiance and glow.
11. Excellent for varied Health conditions
Moringa Seeds are an excellent snack for diabetes. The seeds are a good source of zinc that helps regulate secretion of insulin hormone. The consumption of seeds helps maintain healthy sugar levels among individuals with diabetic conditions. The presence of Vitamin A and vitamin C in moringa seeds helps repair the mucus membrane, strengthen immunity levels and also takes of eye health.
12. Plays a Vital Role in Sperm Production
Aside from vitamins, the composition of minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron play a vital role in facilitating good health. Zinc is important for the process of sperm production, calcium is important for strong teeth and strong bones and iron is known to reduce the risk of anemia. Furthermore, the bark of moringa tree is has certain compounds that help treat impotency, thinness of semen and premature ejaculation.
Health Benefits and uses of Moringa Flowers
13. A natural Health Tonic for UTI
Extracts of Moringa flowers are used in herbal creams to reduce inflammation and soothe sore muscles. Moringa flower extracts are also used to make perfumes and hair oils. The aromatic flowers are used in aromatherapy sessions at spas. In many cultures, moringa flowers are brewed to make a medicinal tea decoction or consumed as a health tonic to treat urinary tract infections. Because of its high nutritional value, vegetables made with flowers of moringa are consumed by breast-feeding women to increase milk flow.
14. Helps in Weight Loss
Moringa flowers are also recommended in weight loss diets because of the presence of a powerful diuretic that helps reduce water retention and bloating. Furthermore, individuals that are required to take antibiotics and painkillers as medication and treatment should consume moringa flowers as a vegetable as it protects against tissue damage caused by prescription drugs.
15. Enhances Sexual Pleasure
Moringa flowers are also used as an alternative treatment for sexual dysfunctions, low libido, lack of sexual urge, and impotence. In many Asian countries men like to consume drumsticks as it is known to enhance sexual pleasure.
Nutritional Value of Drumstick Leaves (Raw) (Per 100 grams)
Fat- 1.40 g
Other Constituents- 78.66 g
Carbohydrates- 8.28 g
Dietary Fiber- 2.0 g
Nutritional Value of Drumstick Pods (Raw) (Per 100 Grams)
Protein- 2.10 g
Energy- 37 kacl
Fat- 0.20 g
Other Constituents- 88.20 g
Carbohydrates- 8.53 g
Dietary Fiber- 3.2 g
(Nutritional Value source: USDA Nutrition Database)
Culinary Uses of Moringa/Drumstick
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