Friday, July 13, 2007
MORINGA: ‘Miracle plant’ with many healing powers
MORINGA: ‘Miracle plant’ with many healing powers
By Seye Adeniyi
Moringa plant; insets(L-R) are moringa flowers, friuts
and it's seeds
Many of the orthodox drugs being used to cure diseases today have their chemical formulations from herbs and trees, thanks to technological and medical advancement. Seye Adeniyi, in this report, X-rays the nutritional and medicinal benefits of a ‘miracle plant’ called Moringa Oleifera.
If you always complain of body pains, bowel disorder, headaches, fever, flunctuating body temperature, skin infections or diseases, as well as other ailments, then there is good news for you. Also, if you are the type that so much believe in foreign products especially drugs, and who does not believe that anything good can come out of Africa, as it is the attitude and belief of many people, then you need to have a rethink. However, for the benefit of those who have great delight and likeness for natural therapies especially what some people call alternative medicine, then you need to add this vital information to your knowledge. The news is that there is a plant which you might have been seeing either in your immediate environment or in your neighbour’s compound, but which you never given serious attention or probably, you always over-look, thinking it is irrelevant.That plants is known as Moringa oleifera — a shrub which our forefathers knew its worth and numerous benefits especially in the treatment of animal health, but which many of them did not document its nutritional and medicinal advantages for generation to come.
Every part of moringa oleifera plant, including the seeds and roots, are very useful in tackling many diseases like hypertension, chest infections, lung diseases, pains as well as skin infections. This is in addition to many other nutritional and medicinal usefulness. For instance, moringa seeds which have now become a “hot cake” in many African countries as well as USA and other Asian countries according to reports, sell for ten pounds for just ten seeds. The plant has many domestic names depending on the region or continent. Among the Yorubas, it is called Ewe-Igbale, while the Hausas refer to it as Sogele. The Ibos have their own name for the plant, just as it commands different names among different tribes. It is generally known as “drum stick,” and this is what the Asian as well as the Indians call it.
Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has undertaken scientific researches on moringa plant, and has come to a conclusion that it is extremely nutritional and medicinal. The benefits have also been documented in some medical and nutritional journals, little wonder many pharmaceutical companies all over the world are seriously working on the plant to make a fortune from it by extracting its active ingredients to produce drugs for both human and animal benefit. Speaking with Chief (Mrs.) Grace Oluwatoye, a trained nurse, who is also a lover of traditional/natural therapy and a specialist in Moringa plant, she told Natural Health that the seeds of the plant are being used for water purification in some African countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi as well as in some developed nations of the world like China, Japan, Malaysia, USA and India.
“In Malawa for instance, the seed has become a major “chemical” for water purification process and it is as popular as any other drug in the country.” “To confirm this, just click to Google, and you will appreciate what I’m saying,” she stated. The flowers according to her, can be processed and used for the production of pesticides. Moringa flowers contain certain natural chemicals which insects and other pests cannot withstand. Many pharmaceuticals companies and pesticides-producing industries have realised this, and they are working on it. In fact, moringa contains a “safer environment-friendly chemicals.” It is not injurious to human health compared to other/pesticides which have some negative effects on health.” The bark of moringa plant is also useful for medicinal purposes. The oil from the seeds for instance is also used by pharmaceutical companies in the making of certain types of drugs, while the pulp from the tree is used in paper making industries. “This simply means that no part of moringa plant is useless as both human beings and animals have one thing or the other to gain from the miracle plant,” she stressed.
It should be noted that when processed into powdery or tea form and consumed, it detoxifies the body system, cleanses impurities in the arteries and works against the build-up of cholesterol. Other advantages of the plant popularly known as miracle plant in many African countries include boosting of body immunity to resist infections and diseases. For example, moringa leaves, when dried, processed and taken, fight the dual epidemic of HIV and hunger in African countries. In Lusaka, Zambia for instance, people living with HIV/AIDS are using it as a food supplement to improves their body immunity against infections. The same thing, according to Mrs. Oluwatoye, is said to be happening in Uganda, Kenya and Senegal where processed moringa powder is extensively being used to fight certain infections in people living with HIV. It is a very rich source of vitamin A, C, B-complex, E, K, as well as folate biotin.
It is a nutrient-rich food additive for pregnant and lactating women. It is also an immunity booster. Children having malnutrition also stand to gain from moringa plant as well as growing children having bone problems. It also prevents childhood blindness. On comparative analysis with other common fruits and vegetables based on gramme for gramme, moringa leaves, according to Mrs. Oluwatoye, contains four-times the calcium in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots, two times the protein in milk, three-times the potassium in banana, and seven-times the vitamins C in oranges. “Little wonder it is referred to as “miracle plant.” Oluwatoye further stated that the World Council of Churches and Societies has endorsed the plant as a health-promoting vegetable, especially for children and for chronically-sick people. It has also recommended that the miracle plant should be used as an instrument for fighting poverty and diseases in poor countries of the world. She, however, encourages every family in the country to plant moringa in their compounds, not only for health benefits, but also as a money generating investment.
“Honestly moringa plant, though not as popular as other medical plants, is an unpopular “plant of life”; a divine gift to humanity. Once you can plant it using the seeds cuttings or the seedlings, and can process it yourself, then you are a doctor on your own. My husband is over sixty and I’m over fifty, but you cannot easily deduce our ages, because we look younger than our ages and moringa is one of our secrets. Even there are many learned fellows like medical experts, professors etc who do come to take the plant. Honestly, you need to see them looking healthy and young, she further stressed. Buttressing the efficacy of moringa plant in treating malnutrition as well as other diseases in children, Dr. Nurudeen Animasaun, a naturopath stated that without mincing words, moringa oleifera is a miracle plant especially in the treatment of certain diseases. It is also important to state that some companies in America are using moringa plants to produce soft-drinks and beverages, and as she put it, “it is being sold for a high price because people appreciate the health benefit compares to other beverages. Its also have high degree of detoxifying properties on the body.
Moringa plant is non-toxic according to different laboratory findings, even at high concentration. It is easily digestible, easy to conserve and easy to use as supplement or on most foods (adult or children). Moringa plant or its processed products has no caffeine like other beverages, thus escaping adverse effects like anxiety as well as other negative effects on health. You can also use it to enrich pap, porridge or oat meal.
Source: Nigerian Tribune