Monday, January 17, 2022

The amazing Moringa tree

Welcoming our new VSTX blogger, Tony Ramirez

Tony Ramirez, VSTX | Jul 10, 2012

Courtesy of Tony Ramirez
About the blogger: Tony Ramirez has been researching and documenting the traditional medicinal ethnobotany of South Texas and Mexico for over 35 years. Ramirez, formerly with the Texas Department of Agriculture, has authored over eighty articles on medicinal plants. He currently presents lectures and field studies on the medicinal plants of South Texas and Mexico. Since 1996 he has been an instructor of Herbal Medicine for the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) Program in Laredo, an Environmental Medicine/Border Health elective of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Medical School. His website is

Imagine a tree that produces delicious edible leaves that taste like spinach, pods that taste like asparagus, flowers that taste like mushrooms and radishes, and roots that taste like horseradish. It also grows fast, requires little water, loves sunshine and hot weather, and has little to no disease or insect problems, and provides cooling shade. No, I’m not talking about mesquite!  It is a species of tree that I have grown right here in South Texas for over 25 years!

Moringa oleifera is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northeastern India, but is also widely grown all over southeast and southwest Asia, Africa, central and South America and many other semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas of the world. Moringa is known by many common names including horseradish tree, drumstick, ben oil tree, malunggay, and arbol de vida, among others.

Moringa is among the most nutritious of plants. Its dried leaves have 25 times more iron than spinach, 15 times more potassium than bananas, 10 times more beta-carotene than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, and 9 times more protein than milk or yogurt. The leaves are also rich in B-vitamins, Vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, protein, and all the essential amino acids that the human body requires. Moringa has been introduced to many developing nations to help combat malnutrition and starvation, especially among children and nursing mothers. It is added to food, or made into capsules or tea. Moringa is truly a super-food!

In traditional medicine around the world, moringa is used for a multitude of maladies. As a traditional remedy it is used to treat abnormal blood pressure, diabetes, skin infections, swelling and inflammation, gastric ulcers, nerves, headache, bleeding cuts and minor wounds, as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory for wounds and insect bites, diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, eye and ear infection, anemia, anxiety, asthma, as a blood purifier, coughs and colds, acne, sore throat, sprains, semen deficiency, joint pain and arthritis.

Moringa is totally adapted to the growing conditions of South Texas. I grow my plants from seeds or cuttings. If you have a moringa tree in your yard you can harvest fresh leaves whenever you want. The fresh leaves, flowers and pods are quite versatile and can be added to omelets, soups, stews, rice dishes, stir fry, smoothies, salads, curries, or spaghetti sauce.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended for use as medical advice or to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always seek professional medical advice with regard to any health-related issues.

The opinions and comments expressed by our bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of Viva South Texas. Furthermore, Viva South Texas does not affirm the accuracy of any statements, media and/or information provided in these blog posts.

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