Malunggay – Simply One Of Nature’s Finest Trees

Going by the scientific name Moringa Oleifera, this super versatile tree is more commonly known as moringa in English. In the Philippines, it is popularly known as malunggay, and is very common in many households as an ingredient in many dishes and used for a variety of medicinal applications as well. While it may be true that regular consumption of apples can keep the doctors away, for many Filipinos, malunggay is what keeps them healthy and strong. Even the legendary boxing champ himself, Manny Pacquiao, has revealed that one of the secrets to his uncanny strength lies within this miracle tree.

It’s not unusual to see malunggay trees growing in a common residential backyard. The leaves are a common ingredient in many soups, as well as many poultry and seafood dishes. When it comes to nutritional value, this vegetable is on the top of the A-list, power-packed with Vitamins A, B and C, as well as essential amino acids and minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron. In fact, the nutritional content of malunggay leaves is more than what other food sources have to offer – it has four times more calcium than milk, seven times the Vitamin of oranges, and three times the potassium in bananas.

The malunggay tree is one of the most versatile trees nature has to offer. Virtually every part has some form of significant use – whether for food, medicine, cosmetics or industrial use. While the leaves may be considered the most nutritious part of the tree, the pods, flowers and seeds are also eaten as well and also contain significant nutrients or therapeutic properties. The leaves may also be used as animal forage or as a domestic cleaning agent. This tree is also one of the easiest to cultivate because of its low-maintenance attribute, high resistance to drought, and its ability to thrive in almost any kind of soil.

The seeds of the malunggay tree can be extracted to yield what is known as ben oil. Containing a high concentration of behenic acid, this oil is comparable to sunflower oil and olive oil, and is characterized by its exceptionally long shelf-life, clear texture and pleasant taste which make it perfect for salads and other dishes. And because it burns clean without producing any smoke, it makes an excellent alternative fuel or as lubricant for machines. After the seeds have undergone extraction, the seed cake left can be used as fertilizer or a medium in water purification through a process called flocculation.

The malunggay tree is a treasure chest of medicinal and therapeutic goodies. For breastfeeding women, the leaves can be used to make tea in order to increase volume of breast milk, and it can also provide them with a significant amount of iron, calcium, Vitamin D and Folic Acid. The leaves also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat minor wounds or insect bites. Consumption of malunggay may also help strengthen the immune system, manage blood pressure, relieve headaches/migraines, promote better sleep, treat gastric ulcers, and help stabilize blood sugar levels.