25 August 2008

Saving the World, One Tree at a Time

Moringa is a miracle tree. It grows in most any climate, and it provides nutrition, medicines, and fuel for all. God bless the children, and cause the Moringa to grow.
Beyond its sheer endurance--the plant is drought-resistant, though it does not flourish in the most arid of rain-fed lands--Moringa's wide-ranging attributes have earned it quasi-superstar status in parts of the developing world and among nutritional experts in the West.

"Moringa leaves contain seven times the Vitamin C you find in the equivalent weight of oranges or orange juice, four times the amount of Vitamin A you'll find in the equivalent weight of carrots, four times the calcium you'll find in milk, three times the potassium you'll find in bananas," said Lowell Fuglie, the former West African regional head of Church World Service, who has worked assiduously in promoting Moringa in Senegal and elsewhere. "The plant satisfies many of the nutritional needs of an individual," he added in a recent interview in Dakar.

.... "Before, there was a lot of child malnutrition, but now it's really diminished," she said. "Because now women know Moringa is important. They plant Moringa in their homes." _Source
Here is more on Moringa:
Malunggay [moringa] is a source of moringa edible oil and biodiesel, but its vitamin A content which battles anemia, iron, calcium that was infused with the bread was found to have energized the sixty-four malnourished Grades 1 and 2 pupils from public schools in Mandaluyong City. The wonder bread is produced by PowerNut pastry shop.

Results of the 30-day feeding program and a research on the effects of malunggay on children showed that students who were diagnosed as anemic prior to the feeding program were discovered to have normal blood count, and the malady was gone. _Source
Moringa oilseeds produce a fine oil suitable for biodiesel, at a yield comparable to jatropha and pangomia. It is one more argument against the delusion of the "food vs. fuels crisis."

Moringa is not a product of bioengineering--unless you consider evolution by natural selection as a great bioengineering project on a larger than human scale. But it gives a small glimpse of what a bioengineered "Santa Claus Tree" might be able to toss off to children everywhere.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Will Brown said...

My fellow Al Fin readers might also find this link of interest. This quote from the FAQ demonstrates the site's USA-centric nature:

"In the USA it can only grow outdoors and possibly year-round in places like the southern parts of Florida, Arizona, California and Texas. However, we have heard of people in cooler climates growing it indoors, outdoors as an annual, or in greenhouses. We have grown Moringa in Kansas in the summertime. It grows to about 6 feet and then dies as winter arrives."

Despite that authorial quirk, I think the data and observations included ought to prove useful to all.

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the link, Will. I have a feeling that most people will be hearing more about Moringa in the near future.

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008  

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