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The unknown abilities of Moringa trees
Feb 19, 2021 | written by: Laurenz Blindenbacher
Water. Source of life and symbol of vitality, purification and renewal. Over 70% of the earth is covered by water. However, only about one percent of all water is available to us as clean drinking water - which makes it the most precious commodity on earth.
So how do we create more drinking water? Apart from modern purification plants and costly desalination (which can do lasting damage to the environment), there are natural alternatives. Which brings us to our protagonist: The moringa tree. Did you know that its seeds are able to purify water? If you answered in the negative, don't worry: you are not alone. The abilities of Moringa Oleifera are amazingly still largely unknown in the western world. Let us enlighten you.
For centuries, people in Africa have been using plants and natural raw materials to purify drinking water, moringa seeds being one of them. They contain active ingredients that work similarly to chemical flocculants in water treatment. In large parts of Africa, the Moringa (originally from India) is also called the "miracle tree" because of this almost magical ability. But what is behind the magic?
The scientific explanation: particles of higher density and bacteria are bound by the water-soluble proteins of the ground seed and thus sink to the bottom. The clean water can then be poured off the sediment. One seed is enough to bind dirt particles in one litre of water and kill 99 percent of the bacteria in it. We also did a self-test. If you want to know how this process works on a micro level, you can find the scientific explanation here.
In the meantime, let's turn our attention to the other "superpowers" of moringa - because there are a lot of them. For one thing, there is the nutritional value. Whether as a leaf, tea, ground or in the form of seeds: Moringa contains numerous vitamins, proteins and minerals. To be precise: twice as much calcium as milk, seven times as much vitamin C as oranges, three times as much iron as spinach and four times as much vitamin A as a carrot. If that's not a superfood, what is? Antioxidant, immune-boosting and blood pressure-lowering effects have also been proven in the meantime.
The only limit to the possible benefits is the imagination. Moringa as a basis for hand soap? No problem: its effectiveness was recently confirmed in a study by the London School of Tropical Medicine. In Tibetan medicine, a similar juice has been used for over 2000 years and is still called the "drink of the gods". One may not blame this designation. Speaking of Tibet: Moringa are very robust trees. They grow without problems even under adverse conditions. We could go on like this for a while, but I'm sure you've understood by now: Moringa is a multi-talent.
So let's return to the initial question. Can Moringa solve the drinking water problems in parts of the world? This question is also discussed again and again in research. The tree now grows in 82 countries, mainly in Africa, Arabia and Southeast Asia, where it is one of the most important crops. However, the use of moringa seeds for water purification alone does not solve global problems. It would, however, be a step in the right direction.
Because this much is certain: we are talking about a cheap and, compared to chemical water treatment, environmentally friendly and natural alternative. Especially for poor, rural areas where access to clean water is often not guaranteed. Sometimes the best technology is the one that is the simplest. And the spread of such ecological water treatment options could not only save many lives in the future in the first place, but also benefit the environment.
That's the great thing about trees. They have more than one benefit, or a whole range of them - like our miracle tree, the Moringa.