| Garden Home | Research Home | Mark Olson's Home Page | Moringa Home Page |

Moringa oleifera Lam.

This species is one of the world's most useful plants. Though apparently native only to restricted areas in the southern foothills of the Himalayas, M. oleifera is cultivated in all the countries of the tropics. M. oleifera is cultivated for its leaves, fruits, and roots for a variety of food and medicinal purposes. The young fruits (sometimes called "drumsticks" ) can be cooked in a number of different ways. An excellent oil is derived from the seeds, which is used for cooking and lubrication of delicate mechanisms. The leaves are extensively used as a vegetable in many parts of the world, and the root can be made into a condiment similar to horseradish (true horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, is a member of the Mustard Family, Brassicaceae). M. oleifera is also of interest because of its production of compounds with antibiotic activity such as the glucosinolate 4 alpha-L-rhamnosyloxy benzyl isothiocyanate. Other research has focused on the use of M. oleifera seeds and fruits in water purification.

It is commonly and incorrectly known under the names M. aptera and M. pterygosperma.


Please note: The following links are provided to help satisfy requests for information about M. oleifera, which clearly can play an important role in providing people with useful products and nutritious food. However, no single tree can be expected to satisfy the claim of being able to "eradicate world hunger". Many factors contribute to keeping people hungry, especially the unfair distribution of wealth and land.
M. oleifera seedYou can buy high-quality seed and obtain cultural information from:
Dr. David Odee
Head Biotechnology Division
Kenya Forestry Research Institute
PO Box 20412
011 254 (0)154 32891-3 or 32541 (voice)
011 254 (0)154 328-44 (fax)
email: kefri@arcc.or.ke; put "ATTN DAVID ODEE" in the subject line.
A large vareity of cultivars, including the annual PKM can be obtained from Horti Nursery Networks, Tamil Nadu, India (email: kodis@eth.net).
For an overview of M. oleifera applied uses and extensive references, visit the University of Leicester's M. oleifera Page.
For an up-to-date list of publications regarding Moringa medical research, search the PubMed database for "Moringa". Notice that most of the studies focus on M. oleifera, with a few also including M. stenopetala. Despite their potential, none of the other species have ever been studied.
The organization ECHO's Technical Note on M. oleifera has the results of much practical experience with the tree.
The organization Trees for Life has a M. oleifera project site with information. [Webmaster review: "Cool site! Very informative!"]

If you are interested in finding out more about the use of Moringa oleifera seeds in water purification, please get in touch with: Dr. Geoff Folkard
Engineering Department
University of Leicester University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH
United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2538
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2619
E-mail: gkf@le.ac.uk
Cooking Moringa
  • Learn to Eat Moringa has loads of recipes.
  • To date, most research on economic uses has focused on M. oleifera, and the other species have been almost completely ignored. Perhaps other species have even more effective flocculants, antibiotics, oils, or more unkown applications.

    Moringa oleifera images

    1. Tree cultivated in village of Antanimieva, southwestern Madagascar; 2. Large trees in agricultural complex near Chennai (Madras), India; 3. Side view of flower; 4. Fruits and seeds ready for cooking; 5. Field of annual cultivar PKM south of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India

    1. 2. 3. 4.


    Please get in touch! molson@ibiologia.unam.mx
    ©1999 Mark E Olson