I love to garden and grow things, especially fruit trees and other trees. One of my favorite trees to grow is called the Moringa tree. It is also called “Tree of Life” and is known by other names like drumstick tree, Benzoil tree, or horseradish tree.
The moringa tree grows these really long pods, hence the name drumstick tree. And the term benzoil tree comes from an oil that you can extract from them. The name horseradish tree comes from the taste of the Moringa tree root, which kind of tastes like horseradish.
In this article I will talk all about the Moringa tree, where they come from and where they grow, what the health benefits are, and how to eat it or what to use it for. Let’s get to the information!
Where does the Moringa tree come from and where does it grow?
I didn’t know anything about this tree until a few years ago, I was doing a lot of Arizona gardening and learning about plants that grow well here in the hot Phoenix climate, and I came across someone on YouTube talking about them. I was intrigued, to say the least. They grow extremely fast and can be grown in all kinds of different climates.
The Moringa tree is native to parts of Africa and Asia. The origin said to have come from the base of the Himalayas in India. The most common and cultivated type of Moringa is the species, Moringa Oleifera. In fact, India is the largest producer of Moringa.
It is grown all over South and South East Asia, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Centra America, Caribbean, South America, Africa, and now in the United States. Although it is relatively new to the United States.
It is a fairly easy plant/tree to grow in a home backyard, and provides all kinds of useful benefits. In fact my neighbor has a few planted around her house, in our townhome complex, the HOA agreed to let her plant them, haha.
What are the characteristics of the Moringa Tree? And what do you use it for?
The Moringa tree has so many interesting characteristics and health benefits, I wanted to cover a few of them here.
- Drought-resistant. It makes sense that it would grow well here in Arizona and places like Africa, where water may not be in plentiful supply. Yet it also thrives in tropical areas where it rains quite a bit.
- Extremely fast-growing. Under the right conditions, you can plant it from a seed and have a 10 foot-tall tree within a year, or year and a half.
- Water purification. Parts of the tree can be used to purify water.
- Many parts of the tree are edible. The leaves are edible, the long pods are edible, and the roots are edible.
The leaves can be eaten fresh, placed in salads, and smoothies, or commonly they are dried and ground up into a powder, and sold in capsules or just in a bottle. It is sometimes marketed as a dietary supplement.
The long pods that grow are commonly eaten in South Asia. Usually, they are parboiled and then cooked in a curry until soft.
The roots can be shredded and used as a condiment, and taste kind of like horseradish, which is where that name came from.
What are the health benefits of Moringa?
The Moringa tree has several health benefits, which along with all the uses, gives it the name, “The Tree of Life.”
- Very high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Just one-half cup of cooked leaves will meet the daily recommendations for both of those vitamins. One-half cup of raw pods will give you enough vitamin C for a day. Or one ounce of raw leaves will meet your vitamin C daily requirement. Ounce per ounce, moringa leaves contain 5 to 6 times as much Vitamin C as orange juice.
- High in Beta-carotene. Ounce for ounce the leaves contain 3 to 5 times more beta-carotene than carrots.
- High in Vitamin E. Just one ounce of the Moringa tree powder will give you 3 times the daily requirement for Vitamin E.
- Very high in Iron. Ounce for ounce the leaves contain about 3 times as much iron than spinach or roast beef. That is awesome!
- High in Potassium. Ounce for ounce, Moringa leaves contain about 3 times as much potassium as bananas.
- High in Calcium. Ounce for ounce, Moringa leaves contain 3 to 4 times as much calcium found in milk.
- Rich in Antioxidants.
For other health benefits check out this source. Other sources include this one from Wikipedia and this one from Medical News Today. There are some potential side effects, so review those carefully.
The Moringa tree is truly a miracle tree, I can see why it is dubbed, “The Tree Of Life.” Hopefully you found this information useful and helpful.
Let me know in the comments if you have heard of this tree, and or have grown it, or used it in some way.
Moringa Tree of Life Video
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I have one of these in my front yard. I received my tree many years ago when it was only four maybe five inches tall. Thank you for the compiler information on its nutritional values.
The pods are seed pods and dry with a hard outer shell. To eat these I should pick them to eat while they are green and supple? I use the trees leaves in salad, soup and stews. I did not know to pick the seed pods early to eat them. They look rather like okra to me in your article.
You are very welcome! yes the pods are eaten when green. They can be used in soups and stews and treated the same way as okra or green beans.
I would like to raise my own Moringa tree
I grew Moringa over the summer and it is now growing in my dining room for the winter.
That is awesome, Cindy!
Learn something new every day. Since it is a fast growing plant I might try planting some seeds as a summer annual. It would never survive a Canadian winter. Thanks for the info about Moringa.
You are very welcome, Joy! 🙂 Yeah, it would freeze unless it was in a climate-controlled greenhouse.