Jul 4, 2008, 6:42 AM
Moringa the ‘miracle tree’ promoted as a cash crop
By Lamin Darboe
Annsru, an Islamic organization, has launched a campaign to promote the cultivation and use of moringa, a plant known as the ‘miracle tree’ in some parts of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
The plant has been used in folk medicine for centuries. It is estimated to contain over 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. It is also a natural anthelmintic, which means that it can expel parasitic worms from the body.
Fortunately, it also tastes good. Its roots can be shredded and used as a condiment, similar to horseradish. The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, and are rich in vitamins and protein. They may be cooked and used like spinach, or dried and crushed to be used in soups and sauces.
The seeds can also be used for cooking. The immature seed pods can be parboiled and cooked in a sauce until soft, or mature seeds can be used to make oil.
Atab Aidara, Executive Director of Annsru, says that his organization is trying to promote the use of moringa due to its healing properties and potential as a cash crop.
Niger already cultivates and exports it and India is the leading producer in the world. According to Mr Aidara, moringa cultivation could potentially address food security and aid the fight against hunger and poverty.