Moringa - - Tree of life!



Moringa, or Moringa Oleifera is referred to as the ‘Tree of Life’ as each and every part of the tree can be utilized in one way or another, from the seeds, pods and flowers being utilized as food, whilst the rest of the tree is utilized for making herbal medicine and for making tools. In saying this, though the Moringa leaves are known to provide numerous advantages in various capacities, however, dried Moringa is said to have a higher nutritional value. The reason being, after six hours of being picked, the Moringa leaf, in its original state, starts to lose its vitamin and mineral qualities. Therefore, dried Moringa is said to be better in terms of holding nutritional value, and can be consumed in the form of ‘Moringa Tea’ or sprinkled on top of other healthy drinks and food.
The benefits of Moringa are countless, with its ability to store vitamins and minerals; Moringa is in fact the cure or provides relief from various ailments, some of which are as follows:

·      Acne Treatment
o   The extract of Moringa leaves can be used as a purifying face mask, whereby all that is to be done is to grind Moringa leaves with rose water to form a paste, which is then applied on the face for five minutes.
·      Wounds
o   Moringa leaves are known to have anti-septic and anti-inflammatory qualities, thus when applied, it can lead to the wound healing whilst preventing infection.
·      Diabetes
o   The usage of Moringa leaves, both through its original state or dried form, can be utilized to effectively regulate blood sugar level, which in turn can help to control diabetes.
·      Toxins
o   Moringa has the ability to detox the body, as when consumed it attaches itself to the toxins which are then flushed out of the system.
·      Immune Deficiency
o   Extracts from Moringa leaves can aid in regulating the immune system, through improving the cellular immune response and exerting positive effects on various other immune system components.
Moringa also provides benefits in terms of culinary uses, including being used as a substitute for meat by vegetarians due its high content of protein. Other than this, the leaves themselves can be utilized in salads and are utilized in the preparation of soups and salads, whilst also possessing characteristics which make it perfect for cattle feed, both in terms of nutrition and monetary terms.
On the other hand, certain parts of the Moringa tree are unfit for consumption such as the roots and its extracts, as particular parts may contain certain toxins which can be hazardous to health. Furthermore, women during pregnancy or whilst breast feeding, should avoid Moringa use as enough research has not been carried out in order to ascertain the reactions. And most important of all, before consumption of Moringa or any other herb, it is advised to contact a medical practitioner, especially if it is being utilized for therapeutic purposes. 


  

Moringa -- what it really is?


Moringa Plant. Photo credits: The Organic Farmer



Moringa, stemming from the flowering plant family, Moringaceae, derives its name from muringa, the Tamil word for drumstick. It contains thirteen species ranging from small herbs to tall trees, found in subtropical and tropical areas of the world, with its appearance being similar to that of shrub with fast growing and drought resistant qualities. Further to this, it is known by natives as ‘The Tree of Life’ as each and every part of the tree can utilized in one way or another, from the seeds, to the pods, to the flowers, to the leaves and much, much more!
In terms of its history, the Moringa plant was highly valued in the ancient world, with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans using the seeds of the plant to extract edible oil, in order for it to be utilized in the making of perfume and skin lotion. Furthermore, in the nineteenth century, Moringa plantations in the West Indies aided the export of oil to Europe for perfumes, as previously used, and lubricant for machineries.
In more recent times, the most widely cultivated species is the Moringa Oleifera, commonly termed as Moringa, also known as drumstick tree or horseradish tree, which originates from the sub Himalayas of India. It is cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas with particular states in India, including Andhra Pradesh followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, aiding the country in being its largest producer. It’s further cultivated in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America and its native, Asia.
As mentioned previously, other than the most common, Moringa Oleifera, twelve more species of the said plant exist all over the world, which are as follows:



  • Moringa Arborea
  • Moringa Borziana
  • Moringa Concanensis
  • Moringa Drouhardii
  • Moringa Hildebrandtii
  • Moringa Longituba
  • Moringa Ovalifolia
  • Moringa Peregrina
  • Moringa Pygmaea
  • Moringa Rivae
  • Moringa Ruspoliana
  • Moringa Stenopetala


Grown in various parts of the world, the Moringa tree can be cultivated in a wide range of soil conditions, however the preference is of loamy soil (contains a small amount of organic material, with the mineral in a loam soil ideally being around 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay by weight) or well drained sandy soil. Furthermore, this particular plant is suitable for the dry regions, as it is a plant which thrives on heat, thus it does not require expansive irrigation techniques and can be grown through utilizing rainwater.

The variations in the Moringa plant are further diversified in terms of dried moringa and fresh moringa, with the former being an output of the latter i.e. fresh moringa is ‘chamber dried’ in order to generate the dried moringa leaf.

Chicken Stroganoff

Chicken Stroganoff is a variation of the original dish, Beef Stroganoff, of the Russian Origin. It is basically a dish with sauteed pieces of beef or chicken with mushrooms in sour cream served with noodles - succulent pieces of chicken with a creamy sauce, an absolute delight to have.








Ingredients:

Chicken boneless, cut in strips, 1 cup
Mushrooms, sliced, 1/2 cup
Butter, 2 tbsp
Olper's Cream, 1 cup
Vinegar, 2 tbsp
Garlic paste, 1 tsp
Tomato puree/paste, 2 tbsp
Paprika, 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Chicken powder, 1 tbsp
Black pepper, crushed, 1 tsp
Noodles/fettuccine, boiled, 400 grams.

Method:

Heat a pan and melt butter. Add a teaspoon of garlic paste and chicken, and fry for 3-4 minutes. Now add tomato puree, salt, paprika, mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes. In the end, add the cream, vinegar, black pepper, chicken powder, mix well, cover with a lid, and on low flame cook for two minutes or till the sauce thickens. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or dried oregano, and serve with noodles.

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