Moringa Trees can be found in the tropics, world wide. It also thrives in the arid parts of the world where bad water, poor diet, and the diseases are leading killers. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 80% of the world’s population relies on traditional medicine (the use of plants) for their primary healthcare. Since the Moringa Tree is already common in much of the developing world, it can meet the needs of local populations in terms of availability, accessibility, and utilization. It is already growing in areas of need, with spontaneous growth in many regions, and is a hearty and drought tolerant plant. Unlike imported medicine, foods, or other supplements, the low cost of the Moringa Tree makes it affordable to poor populations. Its potential as a cheap local supplement in the fight against malnutrition is promising. Many humanitarian organizations including the Church World Service, the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organizations, Trees for Life, and the National Science Foundation now promote the use of Moringa in poverty-stricken areas to combat malnutrition.
Amadou Ba, director of a Senegalese village health post states, “We were all trained in the classic solutions for treating malnutrition– whole milk powder, sugar, vegetable oil, sometimes peanut butter. But these ingredients are expensive and the recovery of malnourished infants can take months. Now we have replaced this with Moringa. We start seeing improvements within 10 days.”
Combats Childhood Blindness
Lack of vitamin A (due to malnutrition) causes 70% of childhood blindness around the world. 500,000 children are going blind every year due to lack of vitamin A. The Bethesda, Maryland based International Eye Foundation, is using Moringa with its high content of beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body, to combat childhood blindness around the world.
Lack of drinkable water is one of the world’s most serious threats. Water related diseases account for more than 80% of the world’s sickness. People in many developing nations simply do not have acess to clean safe water. They are left with no choice but to drink and wash with water so contaminated that we wouldn’t even dare to walk in it.
Professor Suleyman Aremu Muyibi, of the International Islamic University of Malaysia, believes Moringa seeds could potentially provide a renewable, sustainable and biodegradable material for treating global water supplies. When Moringa seeds are crushed and added to dirty, bacteria laden water, they purify the water. As part of a Nigeria-based study, Muyibi feels that such an opportunity could be especially attractive in developing countries, where roughly 1.2 billion people still lack safe drinking water, with an estimated 25,000 people dying from water-borne diseases every day.
Britain’s University of Leicester is also studying the coagulating properties of Moringa seeds for its water purifying abilities. Researchers believe the Moringa seeds would work better than the common water purifier, aluminum sulfate, which can be toxic, and have successfully replaced the imported alum system of a Malawi village with a simpler full scale system using Moringa seeds.