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Moringa oleifera

Moringa oleifera

One of the most remarkably useful trees is one being cultivated heavily for use in the Sudan. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said that village women had successfully used the tree Moringa oleifera  to cleanse the highly turbid water of the River Nile. After trying other moringa species in Egypt, Namibia, Somalia, and Kenya, they too have shown properties that clarify water quickly.

When moringa seeds are crushed and poured into a pot or bottle of dirty water, the water turns transparent within seconds. The seeds' anti-bacterial properties can turn low, medium, and high turbidity waters into tap-water quality in an hour or two.

Studies on the effectiveness of moringa seeds for treating water have been done since the 1970s, and have consistently shown that moringa is especially effective in removing suspended particles from water with medium to high levels of turbidity (muddiness or dirtiness).

In water with high turbidity, a litre of water needs only one of the horseradish-smelling seeds for effective treatment. In low turbity, one seed may do 4 litres. When the water is boiled, this increases its nutritional effectiveness by making inactive a nutrition-inhibiting protein (lectin).

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Widely cultivated

The moringa tree today seems to be native only to the southern foothills of the Himalayas, but it has been grown wonderfully elsewhere in dry, sandy soil, and it tolerates poor soil. It can grow to a height of about 10 metres.

Apart from Africa, moringa trees are being cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. We are now growing a few Moringa trees around our Creation Tips office in Australia, as we are situated in a semi-rural area and rely mostly on tank water.

  Above: Beautiful moringa flowers are used for decoration and in health products. Almost every part of Moringa oleifera is useful. The leaves are inexpensive and are used in soups, and with meat, chicken and vegetable dishes. The leaves are somewhat like spinach in both looks and nutritional value. Fresh leaves have 4 times the calcium of milk, 7 times the vitamin C in oranges, and 4 times the vitamin A in carrots. They are used in tea, soup, and porridge. Moringa's bark, roots, fruit, flowers, leaves, seeds and gum are used as an antiseptic and in medicines to treat rheumatism, bites and other ailments. The seed pod has been used to desalinate sea water. Marah 03 The bark and roots are used as a spice and in soap; seed oil is used in cooking, machine lubrication, and cosmetics; the wood is used for fences and firewood. The flowers are also used in religious festivals, churches, and to decorate houses. Powdered moringa is used in cakes, fish feed, and cattle feed. The Marah tree? Who knows what has been lost in the mists of time.  The tree could be a metaphor, a typo or it's real meaning lost in translation.  Usually bitter water is associated with a high salt content - what we call brak water in South Africa.  No doubt clever scientists have been racking their brains for a simpler version of reverse osmosis - and maybe the message from Marah can be blended with the Grimm tale of Sleeping Beauty - one prince needed please.