Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What in the World?

Another excursion into "What The Heck Are You Growing Now"?!
I am so excited, my Malunggay has sprouted!!

You don't know what it is? Well, let me tell you.
The "Moringa" (as it is more commonly known as) is botanically known as Moringa oleifer. It is a tree that is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas. Basically, Zones 9 and 10 here in the US. Moringa is an ideal plant to grow indoors. It literally conforms to the container it is growing in. It grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. Today it is widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is considered one of the world’s most useful trees, as almost every part of the Moringa tree can be used for food or has some other beneficial property. In the tropics, it is used as forage for livestock, and in many countries, Moringa is used as a micronutrient powder to treat diseases. Sound good so far?
The leaves are highly nutritious, being a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder, and used in soups and sauces. It is also a good source for calcium and phosphorus.
They enjoy lots of sun and heat. Moringa trees do not need much watering. They should only be watered regularly during the first two months or so of growth, then water only when showing signs of stress.
As for fertilizing, Moringa trees will generally grow well without adding very much fertilizer. Resistant to most all pests, however, in older trees, Termites can be a problem.
The health benefits are amazing.
To name just a few:
The leaves help strengthen the immune system.
It can help control blood pressure, relieve headaches and migraines.
The tea can help strengthen eye muscles, help heal inflammation of the joints and tendons, and even can prevent intestinal worms.
Malunggay also helps relax and promote a good nights sleep.
The last health benefit that I am going to list is great for my diabetic wife, because it helps normalize blood sugar levels.
On top of all of this, it has a beautiful flower, that supposedly has a very pleasant fragrance.

Don't like the name "Malunggay" or "Moringa"? It has a few other names that might tickle your fancy. How about:
"Drumstick tree", from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed pods.
"Horseradish tree", from the taste of the leaves, which can serve as a rough substitute for horseradish.
I think this is the perfect plant! I will keep you posted on the taste, smell and growth of this very useful and interesting plant.
Happy Growing!


  1. How many trees does a family of 3 need? We live in Summerville, SC.

  2. Hey Melissa, I had actually forgotten all about this article. Sadly, the tree got too cold in my greenhouse.