Move over, kale—there’s a new super green. The leaves of the moringa oleifera tree, grown in Haiti, parts of Latin America, and Africa, are drawing interest from trend watchers for their nutritional content. The leaves contain high levels of calcium, potassium and protein, as well as vitamins A, B, C, D and E. Because the trees can grow in both tropical and temperate climates and produce leaves year-round that can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried without losing their nutritional content, moringa is becoming an attractive additive.
Oh, and by the way, for all you foodies who don’t happen to be botanists too, moringa leaves are the leaves from the drumstick tree!
Moringa has been used as part of diet in India since ages. Its use in treatment is seen in Ayurveda from the times of Sushruta. Many of its parts like drumstick leaves, fruit, oil etc have immense health benefits targeted towards many systems like digestive, heart and circulatory system.
Moringa as a superfood in the USA
Currently, according to Melissa Abbott, vice president of culinary insights at Hartman Group, a food consulting firm in Bellevue, there isn’t any fresh moringa commercially available in the U.S, so it’s being sold as a powder and in energy shots, bars, and teas at many retailers. Ms. Abbott expects to see commercial planting of moringa trees in the U.S. as awareness grows.
She adds that moringa’s appeal extends beyond its nutritional benefits. Female farmers in Ghana and Haiti grow moringa as a means of supporting their families, she says. “People want to know the story behind their food, and this is a product that helps empower women.”