The seed pods (fruits) of the Moringa oleifera tree are one of the most nutritive and useful parts of this versatile plant. Also known as drumsticks due to their elongated shape, the seed pods are used in a variety of traditional and modern medical treatments and are consumed as food in many areas of the world. The durable, drought-resistant nature of the moringa tree makes it a valuable source of nutrition in regions where water is scarce. Moringa seed pods are used to treat drinking water supplies as well due to their natural coagulant properties that allow particulates to settle in turbid water.
While relatively unheard of in the West, the Moringa Oleifera tree is well known to the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and throughout Southeast Asia. While virtually every part of the Moringa down to the roots can be used for one purpose or another, the fruit of the tree is particularly valuable, both as a highly nutritious food source, and in a number of other applications.
In appearance, the Moringa tree's fruit resembles long, thin beans or pea pods. During vegetative growth they are white in color, changing to brown when they reach maturity. The seeds inside, which are as highly prized by local populations as the fruit, number between 5 to 20 per fruit. The fruit itself is characterized by a taste that can be described as similar to asparagus. Moringa tree fruit look somewhat like drumsticks, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the "drumstick tree".
One of the reasons for the great popularity of Moringa tree fruit in balmy southern Asian areas as well as other tropical regions is its great versatility as a food source, as well as the natural healing power of products made from it. In traditional Indian cuisine, Moringa Olifeira fruit is often prepared in much the same way as beans and can be cooked in a variety of manners, whether fried or incorporated into sambar or curry dishes. As they tend to keep well over an extended period of time, they are perfect for storage and later use.
Moringa fruit, like almost any other part of the tree, is particularly prized for its high nutritional value. Due to a plethora of vitamins and micronutrients, the fruit of the tree is well known for promoting good health and helping to alleviate a host of ailments. With the growing availability of Moringa powder as a health supplement, people beyond the Moringa Oleifera's native environment are finding out what those in the tropics already know about its numerous benefits.
Moringa seed pods are used in the Ayurvedic medical tradition as a specific cure for worms and parasites. Seed pods are also crushed and applied topically to treat minor skin inflammations, warts and infections. The oil contained in the seed pods can be used to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Moringa seed pods contain complex chemical compounds with antibiotic and antioxidant properties that can boost the body’s own natural immune system. As a result, the seed pods are often recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners for patients with digestive upsets and abdominal tumorsv.
Moringa seed pod husks are a bountiful low-cost source of activated carbon, an important medical tool in the treatment of ingested poisons. Unlike other sources of activated carbon that can require extensive processing prior to use, moringa seed husks can be processed using single-step steam pyrolysis, a simple method that can be performed even in remote areas and without advanced technological tools. The chemical compounds in moringa seed pods have also been scientifically proven to reduce swelling and inflammation, making them valuable treatments for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
The seed pods of the moringa plant are highly nutritious with one cup of fresh drumstick pods containing well over 200% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin C set forth by the FDA. Moringa seed pods are rich in proteins and amino acids necessary for health and proper physical function and are high in calcium and potassium. These versatile seed pods are eaten as vegetables in many parts of the world and are cooked in much the same way as green beans. Moringa seed pods taste similar to asparagus and can be seasoned in the same fashion; they can also be fried or incorporated into curries, soups and sambars as a tasty vegetable component of these spicy combination dishes.
Moringa seed pods are currently being used to purify water in a number of remote areas where technologically advanced methods of water purification are not practical. The oil contained in moringa seed pods contains a natural coagulant that interacts with impurities in the water and allows them to settle safely to the bottom, providing fresh drinking water in areas where dirt and other contaminants typically render water supplies unsafe for human consumption. Because moringa seed pods are completely nontoxic and safe for consumption themselves, the resulting water is safer for drinking and other personal uses. Additionally, crushed moringa seed pods can often be acquired at little or no cost from industrial sources that produce this seed pod presscake as a byproduct of moringa oil extraction, making this water treatment method a cost-effective and efficient use of limited resources in less developed parts of the world.
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