Moringa: green-leafy veggie (tree) grows well during drought

Edible leaves of a Moringa tree

By Cat, Dec 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves of this amazing tree are considered a superfood; plus the tree grows well in a warm, dry climate. Given the progression of climate change in our corner of the world here in NW Montana, this could become an important food source for us as our climate becomes more arid. Plus, its deep roots make it an amazing carbon-sequestor.

Its leaves have the texture of spinach with a radish-like taste, and are packed with nutrients. Use its leaves in salads and soups; add to smoothies or raw veggie juices. Its young seed pods are also edible, similar to green beans.

Important caution: We must be careful when introducing new, non-native species, as they can become problematic, invasive weeds.

Want to know more about this tree, and what makes it a superfood? Read on for more detail.

(Photo, below, from Wikimedia commons)

Moringa orchard (India)

Growing moringa

It is a bit hard to get the seeds to sprout, but not impossible (see “Growing Moringa from Seed” YouTube video (2) for details), but once it is germinated, it is a quick-growing tree.

It thrives in semiarid, tropical and subtropical areas; you can grow it outdoors if temperatures range from 70° to 90°F year-round. If winters are colder as they are here, grow it in a pot on wheels so you can easily move it out to the deck in warmer seasons, and indoors (or a greenhouse) in cooler seasons; just remember that it grows deep roots, so a deep pot is needed.

Benefits of Moringa

See a short (48 second) YouTube video: What Makes Moringa a Super-Food (3) for a quick summary.

Nutritional value of moringa leaves

The following is from an article by Dr. Mercola (1a), unless noted otherwise. See also his article on Moringa Uses (1b).

Moringa is packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and essential vitamins/ minerals galore. 1 cup (21 grams) of the leaves provide:

  • Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of your RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of your RDA
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine): 19% of your RDA
  • Vitamin C: 12% of your RDA
  • Iron: 11% of your RDA
  • Magnesium: 8% of your RDA
  • Protein: 2 grams

which beats other high-nutrient foods of the same weight.

It is also rich in vitamins D and E; other minerals such as calcium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and silica; the beneficial fat alpha-linolenic acid (plant-based omega-3 fat); and all of the essential amino acids your body needs to thrive.

As if that were not enough, it also provides these four amazing benefits:

Lowers blood sugar levels: In a study involving diabetic rats, moringa was shown to have antidiabetic effects, likely due to the beneficial plant compounds contained in its leaves, including isothiocyanates.(4) In other research, women taking 7 g of moringa leaf powder daily for three months reduced their fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5 percent. (5)

Maintains healthy cholesterol levels: In terms of cholesterol-lowering properties, an animal study (6) involving hypercholesterol-fed rabbits found moringa to be effective in lowering cholesterol by 50 percent, while reducing atherosclerotic plaque formation by 86 percent.

These effects were comparable to those of the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin. The study authors noted: “[Moringa] possesses antioxidant, hypolipidemic and antiatherosclerotic activities, and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.”

Provides a plethora of antioxidants: Moringa leaves are rich in antioxidants such as beta carotene, chlorogenic acid, quercetin and vitamin C. As noted in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (7,8), “[Moringa] leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity against free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to major biomolecules and give significant protection against oxidative damage.”

Further, authors of a study (5) involving postmenopausal women who took moringa leaf powder daily for three months concluded: “[These] plants possess antioxidant properties and have therapeutic potential for the prevention of complications during postmenopause.”

Reduces inflammation: The flavonoids, isothiocyanates and phenolic acids in moringa leaves, pods and seeds also possess anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2017 study published in PLOS ONE comparing the anti-inflammatory effects of isothiocyanate-enriched moringa seed extract to those of a curcuminoid-enriched turmeric extract and curcumin-enriched material suggests moringa (9) “displayed strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties … making them promising … for the mitigation of inflammatory-mediated chronic disorders.”

Moringa seeds used for water purification

“Due to their ability to act as a coagulant and antimicrobial agent, moringa seeds have long been used for water purification in Africa and Central and South America,” (1) and could be used here in a crisis. (10)

Moringa pods

When young, the pods are similar to fat green beans, and can be eaten in much the same way. When ripe, their seeds can be eaten like peas or crushed and cold-pressed for moringa oil. If you don’t cold-press the oil yourself, be aware that this expensive oil has many issues similar to olive oil.  Specifically, the quality of moringa oil varies widely, in that it can be diluted with inexpensive and rancid GMO seed oils like soy or corn (see Cat’s post on quality of olive oil for more on this practice: Adulterated or Fake Olive Oil).

For this reason, use only 100% cold-pressed oil from Organic moringa seeds;


  1. Mercola articles on Moringa: (1a):; (1b):
  2. Growing Moringa from Seed Video (7 minutes):
  3. What Makes Moringa a Super-Food Video (48 seconds):
  4. Biomed Research International 2015; 2015
  5.  Journal of Food Science and Technology November 2014; 51(11): 3464-3469
  6. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. March 28, 2008; 116(3): 439-446
  7. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention December 2014; 15(20): 8571-8576
  8. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition December 2009; 64(4): 303-11
  9. PLOS ONE August 8, 2017; 12(8): e0182658
  10. Moringa for Water Purification:

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