Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Tree

By Lisa Maliga

c 2006

To call a tree a “miracle” is to refer to something that Webster’s Dictionary defines as: “One that excites admiration or awe.” Obviously to Verl Rayl of Maun, Botswana, Africa, the Moringa oleifera tree was doing precisely that. After discovering my web site he e-mailed me and politely introduced himself, the reason why he was sending me his missive, and an explanation of what moringa was and what it did.

When he mentioned that moringa was featured in an early chapter of the Bible I thought that maybe he wanted to convert me to Christianity or something. These things have happened for centuries – only offline! But as his logical e-mail stated that he was growing them on his property and why he was doing so, I checked out some links he provided.

Mr. Rayl wrote: “Dr Jean Baptiste the Moringa Project scientist called me and wants me to come down to the capitol for a visit and to take me to meet the only other person who is growing Moringa trees on a fairly large scale and selling the products, an MD who has a clinic in the south. He has 300 trees. He made a press to extract the seed oil. But I being a mechanic all my life know how to do that. I have a friend who has a machine shop so I plan to make one also. The Moringa seed oil is great for cooking oil, also can use it in a lamp like kerosene and it has no smoke or odor. It also can be used on the skin. Can grind the dry seeds and use the powder to purify water. It is in the Bible about that in Exodus.”

“Each part of the Moringa tree has their own benefits and vitamins etc. The leaves, the seed pods when young can be cooked eaten like beans when they are a little older can be opened and seed kernel can be cooked and eaten in any recipe for peas. When seeds are mature can be roasted or fried taste like peanuts. The flowers are great steeped in a cup boiling water for 5 minutes and honey or sugar added. The root can be cleaned etc. on young trees a horseradish substitute but must be careful with that and not use it too often, I don’t really recommend that as that is the only part that is questionable as far as I am concerned. I have not tried it and probably won’t. We use the leaf powder on or in food every day.”

I have been able to work with moringa seed oil for almost a year and have tried this wonderful oil, sometimes referred to as ben oil, in several skincare products. The nutty aroma is a bit strong but when a fragrance or essential oil is added the scent is disguised. Moringa seed oil from Northern India is derived from vitamin and protein filled seeds that flourish on the Moringa oleifera tree. The skin moisturizing benefits are derived from the fact that moringa seed oil is high in vitamins A and C and unsaturated fatty acids. Moringa seed oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal minor skin complaints such as cuts, bruises, burns, insect bites, rashes and scrapes quickly. Moringa oil is also helpful for purposes of tanning or maintaining a tan, as this oil is rich in copper and calcium, important nutrients for the skin.

Moringa oil is also an excellent pre-wash hair conditioner [leave in for up to an hour and wash out], as it contains those cleansing proprieties that our scalp so desperately needs. I am in the process of testing a liquid hair conditioner/moisturizer with it, and so far am having excellent results. The addition of moringa seed oil to soap makes it seem even more cleansing than usual, and it can be used as an effective and economical solid shampoo. However, if used for that purpose, an apple cider vinegar rinse is necessary as it cleans a bit too well for some hair types.

Like many exotic oils on the market, moringa oil has been used in India, Africa and many other Asian countries for centuries. We are very fortunate to be exposed to these wonderful oils and find out just how effective they can be to us.

For more information on moringa, and how you can plant a moringa tree, please visit:

http://www.treesforlife.org/treesforlife.asp

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