“It is well documented for its nutritional abilities and beneficial in fighting malnourishment.”
Moringa or “malunggay” as commonly known among Filipinos is a plant recognized for its nutritional and medicinal value. It is known to different parts of the world under various names such as ben-oil tree, west Indian ben, horseradish tree, drumstick tree (English); paraiso blanco resebe (Spanish); acacia blanc, ben aile, pois quenique (French); and among other things. Malunggay is grown in settled areas as backyard vegetable and as a border plant (smaller shorter plants you’d plant around the edge of a flower bed).
Scientific Name: Moringa oleifera
Filipino Name: Malunggay
Malunggay leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried. You can eat the leaves as you eat any other vegetables. When cooking, add the leaves right near the end of cooking time for all dishes to keep the nutrition. Dried leaf powder can be used as a tea, added to beverages, sprinkled on food or taken in capsules. It can be used in soups or any other dish.
Benefits of Malunggay
Malunggay is well documented for its nutritional abilities and beneficial in fighting malnourishment. In fact, some supplement companies based their products entirely around the benefits of this wonder leaf. These are a few of the benefits attributed to Moringa:
- High in Nutrients
- A great source of antioxidants and some vitamins, including:
– Vitamin C
– Vitamin A
How to Use Malunggay
Malunggay appears to be most potent when fresh, and since it grows in most climates, it is readily available for herbal remedy. From the roots, trunk, and branches to the leaves, flowers, and seeds, the malunggay tree are usable for nutritional and medicinal purposes.
- Decoction of leaves (a method of extraction by boiling of dissolved chemicals from herbal or plant material) is used for hiccups, asthma, gout, back pain, rheumatism, wounds and sores
- Poultice of leaves is applied glandular swelling while fresh pounded leaves mixed with coconut oil can be applied to wounds and cuts.
- Young leaves provide nutritional supplementation and recommended for lactating mothers – it increases the flow of milk (galactagogue).
- Pods are used for intestinal parasitism, while the leaves and fruit are used for constipation
- Decoction of boiled roots is used to wash sores and ulcers
- The seeds have been prescribed for hypertention, gout, asthma, hiccups, and as a diuretic.
Malunggay is also available in many forms like dried leaves and capsules. Estimated quantity of macronutrients and micronutrients (per 10 kg and 100 kg dry weight basis) of Malunggay leaves based from the mean values of 4 sampled locations in the Philippines (2009).
Types of Malunggay / Moringa Leaf
- Dried Malunggay / Moringa – dried leaves that can be further ground into powder form or used directly as a nutrient-rich tea.
- Powdered Malunggay / Moringa – fine powder produced from the dried moringa leaves.
- Powdered Malunggay / Moringa Seeds and Leaves – ground whole moringa seeds as well as the leaves.
- Malunggay / Moringa Capsules or Tablets – encapsulated or condensed dried moringa powder.
- Fresh Malunggay / Moringa – harvested and used fresh like a leafy vegetable.
- Malunggay / Moringa Extracts – usually an alcohol tincture made with the leaves, seeds or roots of the Moringa oleifera plant species.
- Malunggay / Moringa Tea – pre-packaged teas of moringa leaf or powder
Overall, consuming green foods and their dry powdered concentrates can be significantly helpful for maintaining a balanced nutritional uptake during the course of a lifetime, however, it is best to consult with your doctor or specialist before using.
Explore and enjoy the wonders of Malunggay to live a normal and healthy life!
Mineral Macro-Nutrients, Micro-Nutrients & Other Elements in Leaves of Malunggay Plant (Severino S. Magat, Ma. Cecilia M. Raquepo and Carmelita D. Pabustan)
The Best 100 Philippine Medicinal Plants (Jaime Z. Galvez Tan, MD, MPH / Isidro C. Sia, MD, PhD