Soanjana / Moringa oleife
Properties /Uses : Morniga or Drum Stick tree as it is usually referred to is a tall perennial tree found to grow to heights of over 8mtrs or more. It is slender, and deciduous with its stick like fruits handing thorough out the branches in no specific pattern. 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 foliage for livestock. The immature green pods, called “drumsticks” 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 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. Its leaves are full of medicinal properties. The tree is a good source for calcium and phosphorus. In Siddha medicine, the drumstick seeds are used as a sexual virility drug for treating erectile dysfunction in men and also in women for prolonging sexual activity.
The Moringa seeds yield 38–40% edible oil (called ben oil, from the high concentration of behenic acid contained in the oil) that can be used in cooking, cosmetics, and lubrication.
Aqueous extract from stem bark were shown to increase the rate of heart contractions at low concentrations and decrease the rate at high concentrations, with the effect of lowering blood pressure. Moringinine, from root bark, acts on the sympathetic nervous system and acts as a cardiac stimulant, relaxes bronchioles (bronchial tube inflammation) and inhibits involuntary intestinal tract movement. Anthonine, also found in root bark, is highly toxic to the cholera bacterium.
An extract made from dried powdered leaves was shown to have a very potent depressive effect on the central nervous system, resulting in significant muscle relaxation, decreased body temperatures and increased sleep time among laboratory mice. Subjects receiving the highest dosages spent twice as much time asleep as the control group.