Saturday, 2 July 2011

Moringa oleifera

Indian drumstick is Moringa oleifera, a flowering tree from the family Moringaceae native to southern foothills of the Himalayas. 

The genus name ‘Moringa  derived from Tamil word ‘murunggai’ or Malayalam word ‘muringa’, both of which refer to M. oleifera.

M. oleifera is considered one of the world’s most useful trees.  Almost every part of Moringa tree can be used for food, or has some other beneficial property. 
The greed pods and seeds are consumed as greens.   The flowers are edible, said to taste like mushrooms.
The roots are shredded and used as a condiment.  The root contains of spirochin, a fatal nerve-paralyzing agent.  However the spirochin content is very less to have elicit deleterious effects.  In fact, small amount of spirochin demonstrates antibacterial properties.
The leaves are rich in β-carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium and protein.  The leaves are dried and crushed into powder, and used in soups, sauces, and supplement for children.
Almost all part of the plant can be used in traditional medicine.   The seeds is used for treating erectile dysfunction in man and prolong sexual activity for woman.
In Jamaica, the sap is used for a blue dye.
It is also used as forage for livestock.

M. oleifera is propagated via limb cuttings of 1 – 2 m long.  It can also be propagated by seeds.
Fruiting starts after 6 – 8 months.
It is often cut back annually to about 1 meter and allowed to re-grow so that the pods and leaves remain within arm’s reach.
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