MORINGA oleifera is the most widely cultivated species in the genus Moringa, the only genus in the plant family Moringaceae.
Common names include moringa, drumstick tree (from the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish), and ben oil tree or benzoil tree (from the oil which is derived from the seeds).
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Western Ghats in southwestern India, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables, and many parts of the tree are used in traditional herbal medicine. It can also be used for water purification.
Family name: Moringaceae
Botanical name: Moringa olifera
English name: Horse raddish tree, moringa
Igbo name: Okwe oyibo, odudu
Hausa name: Zoogale, gandi
Yoruba name: Ewe ile, idagba moloye
Description: A deciduous tree with a pale grey to copper-coloured trunk, which stores water, and compound; has pinnately divided leaves, 30-60cm long. Scented, cream five-petalled flowers, 2-5cm across are produced in loose pinnacles about 15cm long; followed by pendulous, brown, bean-like capsule of about 50cm long.
Parts used: Leaves, bark, roots, flowers, fruits, seeds, oil and gum.
Chemical constituents: Calcium, iron, phosphorus benzylsenevol.
Actions: A nutritious, diuretic, laxative herb that is expectorant, increases milk flow, controls bacterial infections and is rubefacient when applied topically. It contains a potent antibiotics. Ben oil has no taste, smell, or colour and is exceptionally resistant to oxidation. It is febrigugal, anaethemitic, antiscorbutic.
- Internally for insufficient lactation (young leaves), tuberculosis, septicaemia (bark, gum), asthma, gout, rheumatism, enlarged spleen and liver, bladder and kidney stones, inflammatory conditions (juice of root).
- Externally for boils, ulcers, glandular swellings, infected wounds, skin diseases, dental infections, snake bite, and gout (seeds, bark, root, gum).
- Have antiscorbutic properties active against fungi and bacteria.
- Useful against bronchitis.
- Applied for treatment of pulmonary infection.
- Good against arthritis.
- Increases rate of elimination of toxins.
- Helps to get rid of parasites.
- Assists the circulation in the skin.
- Strengthens and enlivens the body.
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