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  • Greg Bows

The Many Benefits of Moringa

Updated: Jan 29, 2019


An exploration of this fast-rowing, nutrient-dense 'tree of life'.


In a dry, dusty village in north Ghana, a farmer steps out into the early morning to harvest

moringa from his moringa trees. He hacks at the slim stems with his machete, strips the flat

green leaves and gathers the long, dark-green seed pods.


The gifts he harvests from this copse of moringa trees have enabled him to feed his family,

send his children to school and build a larger home for his family.


These fast growing, drought-resistant trees, which are thought to have their origin in India,

grow wild in north Ghana. Although they are most often used as fencing around villagers’

homes, in Ghana they are now being harvested. Thanks to the efforts of organisations like

the Ghana Permaculture Institute (GPI) and Cultivate, this ‘tree of life’ is providing a

livelihood for many small scale farmers in Ghana.


Our Moringa project works along side the Ghana Permaculture institute

Providing Access to Market for Moringa Farmers


Cultivate aims to offer these farmers access to global markets and a chance to fill a market

gap in the industry by implementing systems that will develop the Ghanaian Moringa Brand.

The yields these farmers are receiving for their moringa harvests are helping many of them

make the shift from small scale farming to commercial farming.


The Ghana Permaculture Institute trains the farmers in Moringa cultivation and provides a

centralised processing centre to which the farmers bring their harvest. This centre follows

export standards and its products are certified organic. Cultivate, working with GPI, have made it their mission to create consistent and long term revenue for these small farmers by offering investment, training and business support.


Why Moringa?


The moringa tree is quietly making a name for itself as a ‘superfood’, brimming with

nutritional and medicinal goodness. Moringa is available in various forms, including powders, capsules, tea and oil. It can be used in soups, stews and curries. The easiest form of Moringa to ingest, because it has the mildest taste, is the powder made from the dried

leaves.


What are the health benefits of Moringa?


Moringa Leaves:

  • These highly nutritious leaves are pounded into a powder, which is rich in Vitamin C.

  • One cup of chopped leaves offers 12% of the RDA of Vitamin C.

  • Moringa leaf powder is filled with antioxidants, which act against free radicals (associated with chronic heart disease and diabetes).

  • One cup of fresh leaves offers 19% of the RDA of Vitamin B6, which counteracts anaemia and reduces the risk of heart disease.

  • The leaves can be used as a multivitamin supplement filled with protein, essential fats and minerals.

  • Moringa powder has also been shown to lower cholesterol and may also help reduce blood sugar, although more studies need to be done.

  • In developing nations, where food scarcity and malnutrition are common, the nutritional value of moringa is potentially lifesaving.


Harvesting Moringa in Ghana

Moringa Seeds and Oil:

  • The seeds are found in the elongated seed pods of the moringa tree and can be steamed, boiled or roasted.

  • The seeds from this nutrient-dense tree are packed with calcium, iron and dietary fibre.

  • They have been shown to help fight insomnia, regulate blood sugar levels and ease joint pain.

  • They also have an anti-carcinogenic effect. The seed extracts have been shown to slow the growth of breast, liver and colon cancer cells.

  • Moringa seeds also contain 19 of 22 possible amino acids, including all 9 essential ones that our bodies cannot produce on their own.

  • The oil extracted from moringa seeds is a great skin care product and helps with moisturising, sunburn and rashes.

  • Moringa oil is filled with almost thirty antioxidants, all of which will improve your overall health.

  • The seed cake that is left once the oil has been extracted from the seeds, can also be used as a water purifier as it inhibits bacterial growth.


In conclusion


This unassuming tree, growing prolifically in Ghana, holds within its leaves and seeds, the

potential to positively impact global health as well as the wealth of the farmer as he makes

his way back home with his harvest.


Drying and sorting the Moringa getting ready for shipping.


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