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This article is about the genus Moringa. Moringa is also the common name of a particular species, Moringa oleifera.
M. ovalifolia in Namibia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Moringaceae
Genus: Moringa
Type species
Moringa oleifera

See text


Donaldsonia Baker f.
Hyperanthera Forssk.[2]

Moringa, native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. The name is derived from murungai/muringa, the Tamil/Malayalam word for drumstick. It contains 13 species from tropical and subtropical climates that range in size from tiny herbs to massive trees.

The most widely cultivated species is Moringa oleifera, a multipurpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India[4] and cultivated throughout the tropics.[5] M. stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than M. oleifera.

Moringa species grow quickly in many types of environments.

Nutritional content[edit]

Much of the plant is edible by humans or by farm animals. The leaves are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals.[5] A 100-g portion of fresh moringa leaves has 9.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C.[6]

Feeding the high-protein leaves to cattle has been shown to increase weight gain by up to 32% and milk production by 43 to 65%.[7] The seeds contain 30 to 40% oil that is high in oleic acid, while degreased meal is 61% protein.[8] The defatted meal is a flocculant and can be used in water purification to settle out sediments and undesirable organisms.[9]

According to the NGO, Trees For Life International, gram for gram, raw moringa leaves contain 7 times the vitamin C of Oranges, 4 times the vitamin A of carrots, 4 times the calcium of milk, 3 times the calcium of bananas, and 2 times the protein of Yogurt. The nutrients of the powdered leaves are different. Gram for gram, moringa leaf powder contains 10 times the vitamin A of carrots, 17 times the calcium of milk, 15 times the potassium of bananas, 25 times the iron of spinach, 9 times protein of yogurt, 4 times more fiber than oats, and 1/2 the vitamin c of oranges. [10]

Moringa is very susceptible to oxidation similar to apples and avocados and will turn brown if it is exposed to oxygen or light for too long after being picked.

Moringa oleifera (seedpods), Maui, Kahului

Farming worldwide[edit]

Moringa cultivation is on the rise in Honduras and all across South America. Claims are made that it is a profitable means of combating deforestation, but Moringa species are not native to the forests of the New World. As of 2012, support for Moringa farmers is being offered by the Honduran federal government through the Secretary of Agriculture and by private foreign investment firms. The plant's market potential is widespread given its easy growth and high nutrient content. As described below, the plant is valued for its leaves and high-protein seeds. It can also be made into defatted meal. M. oleifera silviculture is being promoted as a means to combat poverty and malnutrition.[7]

M. oleifera is being cultivated in poverty-stricken nations, such as Niger, as a primary source of food and nutrients,[11] and a source of income through sales due to widespread and global marketability.[12]

In Haiti, moringa is planted as a windbreak and to reduce soil erosion. The trees provide many products from oil to soil amendments (fertilizers) and tisanes made from the leaves.

In Mexico, Reserva Las Estacas, in Morelos, includes the cultivation of moringa.[13][14]


Moringa is considered a potential oilseed feedstock for biodiesel.[15] Its main advantage is that biofuel produced from it is not in direct competition with food, as the plant produces both biofuel feedstock (seeds) and food (leaves) independently.[15] Moringa seeds contain 30 to 40% oil that is high in oleic acid.[15] Its biodiesel has better oxidative stability than biodiesel made from most other feedstocks.[15] Leaves and seeds can be harvested from mature trees without damaging them.

List of species[edit]


  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Genus: Moringa Adans.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1996-09-17. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  3. ^ "Moringa Adans.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  4. ^ Olson, Mark (2010). "Moringaceae Martinov. Drumstick Tree Family" (PDF). Flora of North America. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 7: 167–169. 
  5. ^ a b Janick, Jules; Robert E. Paull (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. CABI. pp. 509–510. ISBN 978-0-85199-638-7. 
  6. ^ "West African Food Composition Table" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  7. ^ a b "The Moringa Tree Moringa oleifera" (PDF). Trees for Life International. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  8. ^ Schill, Susanne Retka (2008-05-14). "Multidimensional Moringa". Biodiesel Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  9. ^ Schwarz, Dishna (June 2000). "Water Clarification using Moringa oleifera" (PDF). Technical Information W1e (Gate Information Service). Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ginny Stein (12 July 2012). "Miracle Tree helps in Niger's food crisis". Australia: The World Today/ABC News. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Annette Frost (3 July 2012). "Moringa: The Tree of Life". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Reserva Las Estacas, Morelos, Mexico (in Spanish)
  14. ^ Agrin, A.C., a civil association related to Reserva Las Estacas
  15. ^ a b c d Schill, Susanne Retka. "Multidimensional Moringa". Biodiesel Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Dadamouny, M.A. (2009). "Population Ecology of Moringa peregrina growing in Southern Sinai, Egypt.". M.Sc. Suez Canal University, Faculty of Science, Botany Department. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  17. ^ "Subordinate Taxa of Moringa Adans.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  18. ^ Dadamouny, M.A., Zaghloul, M.S., & Moustafa, A.A. (2012). "Impact of Improved Soil Properties on Establishment of Moringa peregrina seedlings and trial to decrease its Mortality Rate.". Case Study. Egyptian Journal of Botany, NIDOC. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 

External links[edit]