Championing the Moringa tree – Ahmedabad Mirror

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Championing the Moringa tree

By Tariq Engineer, Ahmedabad Mirror | Updated: Aug 5, 2017, 02.00 AM

SMS Moringa leaves contain large amounts of high quality protein and essential amino acids Could the humble drumstick tree (part of the genus Moringa) represent the future of food in the climate change era? For Professor Mark Olson, who teaches evolutionary biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the answer is a resounding yes, especially for the large human population that lives in dry tropical lattitudes around the world.

The trees just happen to be packed with all kinds of good stuff. Its leaves contain large amounts of high quality protein (comparable to powdered milk, Olson says) and essential amino acids. Other nutritional benefits include four times more vitamin A than found in carrots and seven times more vitamin C than oranges.

According to Olson, the evidence also suggests that the leaves have cancerpreventing properties and can help regulate glucose levels. “The idea of bringing these benefits to such a large and important swath of the human population is what attracted me to Moringa,” Olson says. “Depending on the local climate, with a plot of trees, you could meet the protein needs of your family at low cost.”

There are non-nutritional benefits too. The seeds can be pressed to make vegetable oil and the leftover seed cake can be used to purify drinking water. And they happen to withstand drought and grow rapidly — over 6 m in a year. “They are generous,” Olson says. To provide a fillip to the scientific research into the Moringa, Olson has created the International Moringa Germplasm Collection, which is a farm that holds over 500 trees representing twelve of the 13 species from genus Moringa (of which the drumstick tree, or Moringa oleifera — locally known as saragvo— is one).

Olson began his research on Moringa in 1995, when he was doing his PhD in evolutionary biology at Washington University in St. Louis. “There was a fair amount of applied research on Moringa— medicinal and industrial — but it was focused on drumstick, on one species, and there was not much effort to survey the entire diversity systematically,” he says The samples he collected remained at the university greenhouse for a decade before a prize from National Geographic gave Olson the financial wherewithal to buy a plot of land in perfect monsoonal, dry, tropical latitude in Mexico.

Then, about three or four years ago, a group called Trees for Life, which is based in Wichita Kansas and was founded by Balbir Mathur (originally from Allahabad) provided additional funds to transplant the trees to Mexico and set up the farm. The India connection doesn’t end there. Olson spent most of July in India trying to set-up a mirror collection in the country.

“India is the home of the most used species. It should be the epicentre of Moringa research,” he says. To that end, Olson met with the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources in Delhi and is hopeful that an agreement will be signed by the end of the year. Olson is also collaborating with Garima, a PhD student at the University of Delhi, who is studying the genetic diversity of Moringa. “We are trying to look for variations in different types of Moringa,” she says, “so we can produce plants with the best genetic stock.” Olson considers Garima’s work to be “the most important research being done on Moringa at the moment.”

He believes that the hot spots of Moringa genetic diversity lie in India. “We are trying to find the wild progenitor. Somewhere in India a few ancient agronomists selected some particularly succulent individuals and domesticated the drumstick that we now have in sambhar.” His expectation was that the farm would serve as a base for high quality, global collaborative research into Moringa but that hasn’t quite happened. He believes there are two reasons for this: The first is that Moringa doesn’t offer anything new to those living in rich, temperate countries, and the second is that there isn’t emough funding for studying crops that would benefit villages in Mexico and India. “It is a cruel fact of the global distribution of resources,” he says.

But he remains hopeful that Moringa research will eventually overcome these obstacles, especially since feeding a growing global population in a climatically problematic future will require finding local food sources. Besides, eating more drumstick leaves can also help solve current problems such as child malnutrition. A recent report by the NGO Praja stated that one in three government school students in Mumbai were malnourished. “Mumbai is the perfect climate for the tree,” Olson says. “Imagine a society in which we can avoid brain stunting for an entire generation at low cost.”




How to Use Moringa Oil Products for Skin and Hair | StyleCaster

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Moringa Oil Is the New Must-Have Ingredient for Perfect, Clear Skin

One of the biggest beauty game-changers of the past 10 years? Learning that oil-based products don’t, in fact, make our skin more oily. But with this newfound love for facial oils (and pretty much all things oil-based) has come a growing array of options: coconut, argan, sea buckthorn, noni, monoi, marula—it seems a new wonder oil is rolled out just about every month, each with more touted skinfood superpowers than the last. The longer that list becomes, and the more exotic the oil, the harder it gets to suss out which are actually worth the hype.

One of the buzzier oils as of late: moringa oil, taken from the seeds of the moringa tree (also known as the horseradish tree, ben oil tree and drumstick tree). The plant has long been used for its multitude of medicinal properties (which include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant). More recently, research has shown that moringa seed extract works as an antimicrobial against a number of bacterial and fungal species and to help reduce oxidative damage linked to aging. Further study has found that cream made with moringa leaf extract helped to improve skin volume, texture and smoothness. Not a bad bet, if you ask us.

With findings like these, it was only a matter of time before skin and hair care brands started to incorporate its oil into products in order to help boost moisture, reduce the signs of aging, and even ward off zits. But is the ingredient as good as it is on paper?

Dr. Debra Jaliman a New York-based dermatologist, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, seems to think so. “Moringa oil is packed with vitamins A, B, and C. It stacks up against other popular oils since it has many therapeutic properties,” she says. “It’s an antioxidant and has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a good exfoliant as well as an emollient, too.” Though those with acne-prone skin can feel squeamish about putting oil atop already-greasy skin, Jaliman likes this oil for acneic skin, saying that it can hydrate without clogging pores thanks to its antiseptic properties.

Dr. Jeannette Graf, a New York-based dermatologist, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and author of Stop Aging, Start Living also likes moringa oil for its antimicrobial activity. But as she points out, where the ingredient really shines is in its ability to fight free radicals. “Moringa oil’s strongest benefits are its large amounts of antioxidants,” she says.

As if these perks aren’t enough, moringa oil is also for all skin types, according to Susie Wang, a cosmetic chemist and founder of skin care and cosmetics line 100% Pure. To get the most out of moringa’s skin-benefiting properties, Wang suggests looking for products made with vitamin E, which helps “makes [moringa oil] more potent and stable,” she says. Wang also suggests reaching for oil formulas that boast moringa as a lead ingredient, like True Moringa’s Passion Body Oil. “With serum and cream formulas, there is usually heating involved, which alters the nutritional phytochemicals found in moringa oil,” she notes. And if the oil in the product is obtained via is cold-pressed technology? All the better. “Because of the sensitivity of moringa, it’s best if the oil is not heat processed,” she advises, adding that moringa-based products should housed in dark, glass bottles and stored away from heat and light to help maintain their stability.

Finally, the plant’s benefits don’t stop with skin: both derms say that moringa oil can serve as a great hydrator for hair. “The oleic acid in moringa oil can help strengthen the hair and retain moisture,” Jaliman says. “It’s antibacterial properties can help keep dandruff and/or dry scalp away as well.” Jaliman and Graf suggests looking for conditioners of all kinds made with moringa — including sprays, leave-in treatments and masks — to help boost hair health.

Whether you’re tapping moringa oil for its antibacterial properties in a cleanser, to deliver a fat dose of antioxidants to the body, or to help hydrate bouncy curls, click through the latest products that use this one-size-fits-all ingredient. 0 Thoughts? 1 of 10 To bring cuticles, elbows, or any body part back to life…


The tree that keeps a community alive

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Aug 2017 • 245165 Views

The tree that keeps a community alive

The red watering can jostles against Tinyiko Mambana’s leg as she moves through the small orchard, the water inside whirling around the rim before she lets it cascade over eager roots. Moringa trees can handle Hoedspruit’s arid soil, but the cool liquid is welcome. Mambana makes sure they get what they need – every day – because their versatile leaves sustain her entire community.

HIV/AIDS and other illnesses orphan masses of Hoedspruit children to whom the Moringa has become a lifeline. Its leaves, which can be used in cooking, are rich in nutrients and vitamins that build healthy immune systems. The Nourishing Moringa programme introduced Mambana and her fellow townspeople to the wonder of the tree. Founded by Sarah Berg, the initiative aims to empower people with the skill of subsistence farming, assisting in the planting of orchards and imparting knowledge that is crucial to their upkeep.

The Moringa has been used as a disease combatant and source of food for over 4 000 years. Along with providing the means to a healthier way of life, the orchards have created valuable jobs for the community, allowing the likes of Mambana to raise children and grandchildren. The blessing is generational. If they are taken care of, the Moringas will keep giving back, providing an alternative way for South Africans to access healthy living.