Moringa – the miracle tree

A year ago we gave L a loan to buy a treadle sewing machine and start a tailoring business. Today she repaid half the loan, as agreed. I’m so proud of her – she’s had a tough year, but she was determined to repay on time.

Leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

L was diagnosed with AIDS about a year and a half ago and started treatment with antiretroviral medication (ARVs). Today she looked much thinner than when I last saw her two months ago. A bout of malaria took its toll. I asked her if she was taking her Moringa powder. She wasn’t – the nurse at the clinic told her not to take it while she was on ARVs.

As L told me, many don’t know anything about Moringa. Not a medicinal plant, it wouldn’t interfere with ARVs. It is a powerhouse of nutrition and would really help L to regain and maintain her health.

The Ngulube promote Moringa as a food supplement at the agriculture field day in Mufulira. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The Ngulube promote Moringa as a food supplement at the agriculture field day in Mufulira. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Hedwig Mueller, who works with Dawn Trust Community Center in Ndola, recommends that AIDS patients take Moringa powder, Artemesia and Lemon Grass tea to boost their weakened immune systems. All can be quite easily grown in tropical countries. Some people are using the herbal combination as a substitute for ARVs when they are not available or the side effects prove too problematic.

Stanley and Hilda Ngulube pose beside one of their young Moringa trees.

Stanley and Hilda Ngulube pose beside one of their young Moringa trees.

See www.anamed.net/AIDS_Ribbon.pdf (click to download PDF) for an interesting panel discussion on this topic.

Stanley and Hilda Ngulube promoted Moringa as a food supplement at their stand at the Mufulira Agriculture field day a few weeks ago. They grow over 600 Moringa trees on their farm. Stanley’s pamphlet says: “gram for gram Moringa has twice the protein of yoghurt, seven times the vitamin C of oranges, three times the potassium of bananas, four times the vitamin A of carrots and four times the calcium of milk.” 100 grams of Moringa powder is about a cup.

The pamphlet also says: “The World Health Organization has promoted Moringa as an alternative to improve food supplements to treat malnutrition.”

Many NGOs and health workers are following suit. Moringa has proven to be very helpful in treating and preventing malnutrition in children and the sick. In some countries Moringa is eaten regularly as a vegetable.

Stanley highly recommends reading Dr. Monica Marcu’s book “The Miracle Tree”. Dr. Marcu writes of her clinical and laboratory experience with Moringa and its nutrients, benefits and uses.

To learn more about this wonderful plant and how it is being used to treat malnutrition and other health problems in developing countries check out: www.treesforlife.org and www.moringatreeoflife.com.

Tomorrow morning, May 5, we fly out of Lusaka, Zambia for a week in Kenya to visit our Sudanese friends. It’s been a wonderful 2.5 months here. Already we’re talking of ‘next year’.

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