Moringa is a tree that has been used for thousands of years in India for everything from food, to building materials, to medicine. This ‘wonder tree’ truly is wondrous in that each part of the tree is useful. The roots, stems, leaves, seed pods, resin and flowers are considered to be healing herbs in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian healing system) and Unani (traditional Middle Eastern healing system) folk medicine. In modern times, the leaves and seed pods are utilized extensively due to their nutrient content and modern studies are investigating their healing potential.
It is believed that the moringa tree originated in northern India and was being used in Indian medicine around 5,000 years ago, and there are also accounts of it being utilized by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. This tree was, and still is, considered a panacea, and is referred to as the ‘The Wonder Tree’, ‘The Divine Tree’, and ‘The Miracle Tree’ amongst many others. Moringa was used extensively in Ayurveda, where virtually all parts were considered useful with a plethora of healing attributes. It was employed to support digestion, spleen and eye health, as a cooking additive, and in many other ways. Its taste was considered bitter and pungent; its energetics, heating; and its effect upon the dosha (Ayurvedic constitutional type) are balancing to Kapha (dosha ruled by earth and water) and Vata (dosha ruled by air and ether).
The whole tree has been used for erosion control and for building materials to provide shelter.The seed is high in oil, and the fibers remaining after oil extraction are one of the best plant-derived flocculants (clarifying agents) for clarifying water. Further, the roots are believed to taste like horseradish and are thus used as a condiment. Additionally, the flowers are eaten in omelets. The leaves have an extremely high nutrient value and are dried and powdered and put in sauces and baby formula. A beverage is made from the leaf, either as a standard tea or as a type of reconstituted dried leaf juice. In India, the immature seed pods (known as drumsticks) are eaten like asparagus. Further, a nutrient dense formula made from the leaves is sprayed on plants in South America in order to boost corn yields.