Moringa is a drought resistant, fast growing tree that can reach up to 3 meters in its first year. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Tree of Life’ due to its many practical uses. It grows in nearly all tropical and subtropical countries even in poor and depleted soils and has the potential to help reverse global warming, restore soil, provide food for the starving, remove toxins from drinking water and help nourish agricultural economies in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Fighting Climate Change & Revitalizing Soil
Research shows that moringa sequesters more carbon than other drought-tolerant species. Not only does it capture carbon in the plant itself, but it also helps to nutrify and carbonize depleted soils — in essence, restoring fertility to the land. Knowing its potential to combat the climate crisis, some companies are planting moringa in order to reverse the effects of desertification in arid regions. Imagine — a forest of 60,000 life-giving, miracle trees!
Supporting Small-Scale Farmers
Moringa leaves can also be produced intensively in a family-size small garden. The seeds can be spaced as closely as ten centimeters apart. When the plants reach a height of a meter, they can be cut down to a height of 30 centimeters. The leaves can be stripped from the stems and used to prepared sauces or dried for long-term storage as a nutritious food additive, and the stems fed to livestock. The stumps survive the harvest and will re-sprout, allowing another harvest in as little as fifty days. Using this technique, a Moringa garden can continually produce green matter for several years with very little labor required.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating documented uses of moringa involves its seeds. Containing water-soluble proteins that act as a coagulant, crushed moringa seeds, used by rural communities, function as an affordable way to filter turbid river water. And recent studies show that moringa seed waste can act as an antimicrobial agent and even remove heavy dyes from industrial wastewater. Since seed waste material is a byproduct of oil extraction, this process is considered a green and holistic approach to improving water quality.
High in nutrients.
The range of moringa cultivation is vast because it grows prolifically even in unhealthy soils. Soil nutrient deficits can eventually lead to increased disease, which, combined with other societal constraints, perpetuates a cycle of chronic malnutrition. It is more nutritious than kale with 2x the protein, 6x iron and 97x the vitamin B2. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, blood sugar balancing and has cancer preventative powers. Its bark, roots, leaves, flowers and pods are all edible
In addition to purifying water, mitigating climate change, and providing nutritious food, there are still other notable socio-economic benefits associated with the cultivation of moringa. Many small-scale farmers in rural Africa often struggle with depleted and eroded soils. Since, as we’ve seen, moringa can help replenish the soil, it can also provide a livelihood to small-scale farmers. In poverty-stricken communities, the myriad applications of moringa — from medicine to fertilizer to food — have the potential to break devastating cycles of poverty and resource depletion.