Moringa Oleifera (known locally in the Philippines as Malunggay) can easily be grown – both indoors and outdoors. When grown outdoors, the trees could grow as high as 9 meters. They have a soft, white wood and corky, gummy bark. Their roots have the taste of horseradish.
Each of their compound leaves contains 3 to 9 very thin leaflets dispersed on a compound stalk. Their flowers are white and flagrant – and they produce long, 9-ribbed pods with 3-angled winged seeds.
Moringa Oleifera trees are grown throughout the Philippines as vegetables and border plants. They are ideal for gardens because their root system does not compete with other crops for surface nutrients. The shade that they provide is beneficial for vegetables which are less tolerant to direct exposure to sunlight.
Moringa Oleifera trees are drought resistant. They grow in all kinds of well-drained soils. They also conserve water by shredding leaves during the dry season. They can easily be grown from seeds or from cuttings. Researches done about these trees are in the areas of nutrition, water purification, livestock feed, vegetables dyes, herbal medicine, and oil production.
Malunggay young leaves and pods are often used as human food. The leaves are excellent source of the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and crystine – the natural minerals the human often require. Due to high Vitamins A, C and E, which are very potent antioxidants, they are very effective source to rid of unstable free radicals that can react with and damage molecules that cause aging. They can reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
They also prevent the onset of various chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, and heart diseases.
Immature Malunggay pods are very nutritious. They contain all the amino acids essential to the human body, along with many vitamins and nutrients. Immature pods can be eaten raw or prepared like green peas or green beans, while the mature ones have a peanut-like flavor. They are usually fried.
Malunggay older leaves may be dried and powdered. Powdered Malunggay leaves can be included in sauces and condiments. Innovative recipes have included powdered Malunggay as ingredients for baked goods like pan de sal, as well as pasta and noodles.
Malunggay leaves bark and young shoots can serve as fodder for livestock such as cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry. The leaves also serve as pesticide if dug into the soil before planting crops.
Moringa flowers can be cooked and mixed with other food. They can also be in hot water for five minutes to make tea. Likewise, they are a good source of nectar for honey producing bees.
Malunggay seeds or peas may be used as any other green peas – from the time they appear up the time they turn yellow and their shells begin to harden.
Moringa Oleifera seeds have medicinal properties- they could treat different illness such as gout, urinary infections, boils and gouts. Scientific reports indicate that they boost male potency.
Moringa Oleifera seeds are a good source of vegetable oils used as base materials for pure or 100% biodiesel, which has proven to be effective even in unmodified diesel engines. Biodiesel is becoming increasingly important as governments react to growing oil import dependency.