You might have heard of moringa. This plant is native to Asia and Africa and suddenly caught international attention a few years ago. It was declared a 'superfood' and became the latest plant to be 'discovered' by the rest of the world. But it's more than just a fad. Let Grass-fields give you the lowdown on this versatile plant.
It's not 'new'
[via The Independent]
Although hailed as a 'new' and 'trending' ingredient among much of the Western press, moringa is an ancient plant which has been used in many cultures over thousands of years. It is found naturally across Africa and Asia. The name is derived from murungai, the Tamil for 'drumstick'.
There are many different species
Moringa is a genus of plant, so it's not surprising that there are a number of different species. While moringa oleifera is the variety that has most widely grown, spreading across Africa and Asia from its origin in the Himalayan foothills, there are many others - 12 others to be exact. These species are mostly grown in Africa, with a number native to Kenya, Ethiopa, and Somalia.
It's used in food
Moringa is often used in food across the countries it's grown in. One dish in particular is popular in West Africa. Miyan zogale is a dish popular among Northern Nigerians. Hailing from Hausa people, the dish is a healthy vegetable soup/salad hybrid. See here to find out how to make this dish.
You can make moringa tea
As moringa is a plant, perhaps it's not too much of a stretch for people to make tea from it. It can be made two main ways, either by boiling dried leaves, or by using a powder made from them. It's slated to help with digestive issues and is a good source of Vitamin C.
Moringa is packed full of protein
Moringa's reputation for a superfood does not come purely from its apparent medicinal qualities. This powerful plant is chockfull of protein, 30g per 100g of it to be exact. It's a perfect alternative to whey protein powders for vegans or those who are lactose intolerant. It's also used in smoothies and juices for a nice boost.
It's big in the beauty industry
Moringa is not just for food and drink. The magical crop has taken centre stage in the beauty industry. Famed for its mix of vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, moringa is often used in skin products even among big names like Lush. It's so popular it has helped transform the lives of many farmers in Kenya. Find out how to make your own moringa face mask here.
What do you think? How are you going to get your moringa fix? Maybe you have some moringa-based recipes to share with us. Let us know!
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