Herbs & Plants

Moringa oleifera (Bengali Shojne danta)

Botanical Name :Moringa oleifera
Family: Moringaceae
Genus: Moringa
Species: M. oleifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names:Moringa oleifera, the word Moringa probably came from dravidian language Tamil and commonly referred to as “Shojne” in Bengali, “Munagakaya” in Telugu, “Shenano” in Rajasthani, “Shevaga” in Marathi, “Nuggekai” in Kannada, “Moringa” (from Tamil: Murungakai, Malayalam: Muringa, Konkani: Mashinga sanga

Other names for Moringa in English include:

*”Drumstick tree”, from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed pods.
*”Horseradish tree”, from the taste of the roots, which can serve as a rough substitute for horseradish.
*”Ben oil tree”, from the oil derived from the seeds

The Chinese name of the Moringa , pronounced “la mu” in Mandarin and “lat mok” in Cantonese, means “spicy (hot) wood”, and is reminiscent of the English name “horseradish tree”.

In some Indian-origin languages, the name is phonetically somewhat similar to Moringa, while in others it is quite different.

*In Assamese, it is called Sojina.
*In Punjabi, it is called Surajana.
*In Tamil, the tree is called Murungai Maram  and the fruit is called Murungai-kaai.
*In Hindi, it is called sahjan .
*In Urdu, it is called Sohanjna.
*In Marathi, it is called Shevaga .
*In Rajasthani, it is called Shenano.
*In Malayalam, it is known as Muringa, and the fruit is called Muringakaya or Muringakka.
*In Dhivehi (Maldivian) , it is called Muranga.
*In Kannada, it is known as Nuggekayee .
*In Tulu, it is known as Noorggaee.
*In Telugu, it is known as Munagachettu , and the fruit is called Munagakaya .
*In Konkani, it is called Muska Saang or Mashinga Saang.
*In Gujarati, it is called Saragvo.
*In Oriya, it is called Sajana or Sujuna.
*In Bengali, it is called Shojne danta .
*In Nepali, it is known as Sajiwan or Swejan.
*In Guyana, it is called Sijan.
*In Hausa language, it is called Zogale
*In Sinhalese, it is called Murunga.
*In Sindhi language, it is called Sohenjara. The fruit may also be called Singi or Singyu [plural]
*In Thai, it is called ma rum .
*The Tagalog name in the Philippines – Malunggay – is also phonetically similar to “Moringa”. In Ilocano, another Filipino language, it is called Marungay. It is called Kamunggay in Visayan. Malungge in Pampango or Kapampangan. In the Bikol language, it is referred to as Kalunggay.
*In Vietnamese, it is called “chùm ngây”.
*In Haiti, the Moringa is called the benzolive (or benzolivier).
*In Nicaragua, the plant is referred to as Marango.
*In Indonesian, the Moringa is called kelor (kalor in Malay).
*In Javanese, it is called limaran.
*In Mooré (Burkina Faso), it is called “Arzan Tiiga,” which means “tree of paradise”.
*In Zarma (Niger), it is called Windi Bundu which means, loosely, “fencepost wood”, a reference to its use as live fencing. The leaves are the primary part eaten, and in fact are so common that the Zarma word “kopto”, or “leaf”, is synonymous with cooked Moringa leaves.
*In Dioula (Côte d’Ivoire), it is called “Arjanayiiri”.
*In Mauritius, the leaves are called “Brède Mouroum”, while the drumstick part is known as “Bâton Mouroum”.
*In Konkani (Goa) it is called Saang or Maska Saang or Mashinga Saang.
*In Ilokano it is called marunggay or marunggi.
*In Myanmar (Burma) it is called “Dandalun”.
*In Chichewa language of Malawi they call it ” Cham’mwamba”
*In Madagascar it is called “ananambo”

The fruit meat of drum sticks, including young seeds, is good for soup. Young leaves can either be fried with shrimp or added as a topping in fish soup. Dandalun leaves soup is said to increase urination and thus benefit the kidneys. It is widely used in Myanmar traditional medicine.

*The MMPND entry for Moringa gives names in many other languages.

Habitat :
The “Moringa” tree is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas, corresponding in the United States to USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. While it grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. Reports that it grows wild in the Middle East or Africa are completely unsubstantiated.[citation needed] Today it is widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is considered one of the world’s most useful trees, as almost every part of the Moringa tree can be used for food or has some other beneficial property. In the tropics, it is used as forage for livestock, and in many countries, Moringa micronutrient liquid, a natural anthelmintic (kills parasites) and adjuvant (to aid or enhance another drug) is used as a metabolic conditioner to aid against endemic diseases in developing countries.

A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, and support sustainable landcare

Moringa oleiferais a small, fast-growing, drought deciduous tree or shrub that reaches 12 m in height at maturity. It has a wide-open, typically umbrella- shaped crown and usually, a single stem. Its wood is soft and its bark is light. It tends to be deeply rooted. (F/FRED, 1992) Its leaves are imparipinnate–rachis 3 to 6 cm long with 2 to 6 pairs of pinnules. Each pinnule has 3 to 5 obovate leaflets that are 1 to 2 cm long (von Maydell, 1986). The terminal leaflet is often slightly larger.

You may click to see the  …>….(01). the tree   flowers

Its leaflets are quite pale when young, but become richer in color with maturity. Cream-colored flowers emerge in sweet-smelling panicles during periods of drought–or stress–when the tree loses its leaves. The pods are triangular in cross-section-30 to 50 cm long-and legume-like in appearance. The oily seeds are black and winged.

In the Philippines, malunggáy is propagated by planting 1–2 m long limb cuttings, preferably from June to August. The plant starts bearing pods 6–8 months after planting, but regular bearing commences after the second year, continuing for several years. It can also be propagated by seeds, which are planted an inch below the surface and can be germinated year-round in well-draining soil.

As with all plants, optimum cultivation depends on producing the right environment for the plant to thrive. Malunggáyis a sun and heat-loving plant, and thus does not tolerate freeze or frost.

There is a saying in Tamil Language in India “Murungaiyai odithu vala, pillaiyai adithu vala” (Meaning: the murungai tree must be cultivated by regular pruning, children must be groomed with proper guidance(by punishing too).

Edible Uses:
The fruit of the tree is quite popular as a vegetable in Asia and Africa. The fruit is a long thin pod resembling a drum stick. The fruit itself is called drumstick in India and elsewhere. Moringa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, particularly in the Philippines, South India and Africa.
India :
The Moringa pod is known as “munga”, saragwa or saragwe in India and is often referred to as “drumstick” in English. In South India, it is used to prepare a variety of sambar and is also fried. In other parts of India, especially West Bengal and also in a neighboring country like Bangladesh, it is enjoyed very much. It is made into a variety of curry dishes by mixing with coconut, poppy seeds, and mustard or boiled until the drumsticks are semi-soft and consumed directly without any extra processing or cooking. It is used in curries, sambars, kormas, and dals, although it is also used to add flavor to cutlets, etc. In Maharashtra, the pods are used in sweet & sour curries called Aamatee.

Tender drumstick leaves, finely chopped, are used as garnish for vegetable dishes, dals, sambars, salads, etc. It is also used in place of or along with coriander, as these leaves have high medicinal value. In some regions the flowers are gathered and cleansed to be cooked with besan to make pakoras.

It is also preserved by canning and exported worldwide.

In the Philippines, the leaves are widely eaten. Bunches of leaves are available in many markets, priced below many other leaf vegetables. The leaves are most often added to a broth to make a simple and highly nutritious soup. The leaves are also sometimes used as a characteristic ingredient in tinola, a traditional chicken dish consisting of chicken in a broth, Moringa leaves, and either green papaya or another secondary vegetable. The leaves can also be processed with olive oil and salt for a pesto-like pasta sauce that has become popular on the Filipino culinary scene.

The leaves are now used in making “polvoron”, which is a milky and powdered snack, bio-fuel, and moringa oil.

In Leyte, extracted moringa juice is mixed with lemonsito juice to make ice candies or cold drinks, making it more palatable and agreeable to children who dislike vegetables.

On September 14, 2007, Senator Loren Legarda campaigned for the popularization of Moringa. She asked the government to make Moringa among its priority crops for propagation. The Bureau of Plant Industry, in its report, stated that weight per weight, Moringa leaves have the calcium equivalent of 4 glasses of milk, the vitamin C content of 7 oranges, potassium of 3 bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach, 4 times the amount of vitamin A in carrot, and 2 times the protein in milk. Moringa also helps to purify water, a cheaper alternative to mechanical filtration.

The leaves are often fried and mixed with dried-fried tuna chips (Maldive fish), onions and dried chillies. This is equivalent to a sambal and eaten along with rice and curry or Garudhiya. The pods are called “Muranga Tholhi” and it is used to cook a mild curry called “Kiru Garudhiya”.

Medicinal Uses:
The tree’s bark, roots, fruit, flowers, leaves, seeds, and gum are also used medicinally. Uses include as an antiseptic and in treating rheumatism, venomous bites, and other conditions.

Extract from the seeds is used as a flocculant in a low-cost form of water treatment. In February 2010, Current Protocols in Microbiology published a step by step extraction and treatment procedure to produce “90.00% to 99.99%” bacterial reduction.   The seeds are also considered an excellent biofuel source for making biodiesel.

The flowers, leaves, and roots are used in folk remedies for tumors, the seed for abdominal tumors. The root decoction is used in Nicaragua for dropsy. Root juice is applied externally as rubefacient or counter-irritant. Leaves applied as poultice to sores, rubbed on the temples for headaches, and said to have purgative properties. Bark, leaves and roots are acrid and pungent, and are taken to promote digestion. Oil is somewhat dangerous if taken internally, but is applied externally for skin diseases. Bark regarded as antiscorbic, and exudes a reddish gum with properties of tragacanth; sometimes used for diarrhea. Roots are bitter, act as a tonic to the body and lungs, and are emmenagogue, expectorant, mild diuretic and stimulant in paralytic afflictions, epilepsy and hysteria.

The juice from the leaves is believed to stabilize blood pressure, the flowers are used to cure inflammations, the pods are used for joint pain, the roots are used to treat rheumatism, and the bark can be chewed as a digestive.

A decoction of the root bark of Moringa is used as fomentation to relieve spasm. The juice of the leaves is given as an emetic. The root and bark are abortifacient. The expressed juice of the fresh roots, bark, and leaves of Moringa is poured in the nostrils in stupor and coma. In Guinea, the bark and the roots are considered rubefacient and they are used as vesicants. The ground roots are mixed with salt and applied as a poultice to tumors. The bark and the leaves ground together are applied on head for neuralgia.

In the Indian indigenous system of medicine (Ayurveda), the leaves of Moringa oleifera are described to remove all kinds of excessive pain, useful in eye diseases, cure hallucinations, and as an aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, dry tumors, hiccough, asthma etc.
Drumsticks have been confirmed as a natural antibiotic and antifungal agent. Pterygospermin, which clinical tests seem to confirm is antitubercular, has been isolated in the drumstick’s root, although Ayurvedic medicine uses the root for liver disorders.
Medicines made from drumsticks are also gynecologically valuable in childbirth as an aid for difficult deliveries.  Externally, applications compounded from drumsticks are used for leg spasms, while the seeds are ground and administered for unblocking nasal catarrhs.

Moringinine acts on Sympathetic nerve endings and  can: Produces a rise in blood pressure; Acceleration of heart beat and constriction of blood vessels; Inhibits the tone and movements of involuntary muscles of the gastrointestinal tract; Contracts the uterus in guinea pigs and rabbits; Produces a slight diuresis due to rise of blood pressure; Relaxes bronchioles.

General nutrition:
The immature green pods called “drumstick” are probably the most valued and widely used part of the tree. They are commonly consumed in India and are generally prepared in a similar fashion to green beans and have a slight asparagus taste. The seeds are sometimes removed from more mature pods and eaten like peas or roasted like nuts. The flowers are edible when cooked, and are said to taste like mushrooms. The roots are shredded and used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish; however, it contains the alkaloid spirochin, a potentially fatal nerve-paralyzing agent. The presence of this compound is not worrying because large amounts are required to elicit deleterious effects, and spirochin even displays antibacterial properties when consumed in smaller amounts.

The leaves are highly nutritious, being a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron, and potassium . The leaves are cooked and used like spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder, and used in soups and sauces. Murungakai, as it is locally known in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, is used in Siddha medicine. The tree is a good source for calcium and phosphorus. In Siddha medicines, these drumstick seeds are used as a sexual virility drug for treating erectile dysfunction in men and also in women for prolonging sexual activity.

Moringa leaves and pods are helpful in increasing breast milk in the breastfeeding months. One tablespoon of leaf powder provide 14% of the protein, 40% of the calcium, 23% of the iron and most of the vitamin A needs of a child aged one to three. Six tablespoons of leaf powder will provide nearly all of the woman’s daily iron and calcium needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The Moringa seeds yield 38–40% edible oil (called ben oil from the high concentration of behenic acid contained in the oil). The refined oil is clear and odorless and resists rancidity at least as well as any other botanical oil. The seed cake remaining after oil extraction may be used as a fertilizer or as a flocculent to purify water.[6] The bark, sap, roots, leaves, seeds, oil, and flowers are used in traditional medicine in several countries. In Jamaica, the sap is used for a blue dye.

The flowers are also cooked and relished as a delicacy in West Bengal and Bangladesh, especially during early spring. There it is called shojne ful and is usually cooked with green peas and potato.

Moringa oleifera is a tree in your backyard that will meet all your nutritional needs, take care of you medicinally, and purify your water for you. This tree actually exists to benefit humanity with every parts of it.
To learn more about this you may click read :-
*Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Tree

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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One reply on “Moringa oleifera (Bengali Shojne danta)”

Moringga or malunggay can do wonders in regulating one’s blood pressure. This is because it contains all nutrients that one needs to control hypertension. A person with high blood pressure need foods rich in zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and potassium and all of those are abundant in malunggay plant

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