By Makeli Phiri

Who amongst us thinks he or she is having a satisfactory meal every time we eat? It is said that our modern foods or food like products are often loaded with empty calories, so although our stomachs may feel full, the body is in fact starving. Think of a food which gives a multiplier effect of whatever you think is enough for your body.

People have talked about it and written over it and have researched over it and concluded that this source is actually the best in terms of supplying the needy nutrients as well as health it has the function of protecting the body from various illnesses or be it diseases. I was introduced to this plant or tree at that time (1980) by Mr. Masalamoni, he was an Indian Science School Teacher at Linda Secondary School in Livingstone and he was at the same time my neighbor along Obote Avenue within Livingstone town.

He used to come every four days to pick the pods and sometimes fresh leaves from this tree. One day he and his wife decided to introduce us to this tree which was at my house as a wonder tree and the pods he used to call “Drum Sticks”. He once asked me “what is malnutrition?’’ I answered him that malnutrition is when you are lacking enough food or proper nutrients for the body to be healthy. He said you are right actually we call malnutrition faulty feeding. It is like this when you eat to satisfaction and that food is lacking proteins then you are malnourished, if that food is lacking carbohydrates then you are malnourished or if that food is lacking vitamins then you are malnourished.

Therefore, what we should realize is that malnutrition is not only the poor man’s problem even the rich suffer from malnutrition because the food they eat does not contain what the body requires in terms of needed nutrients that are so vital to good health. Today the drum stick also known as ‘Moringa’ is part of my diet every two or three days I have to take a teaspoon into my tea or warm water and drink if not I chew Moringa seeds three to five at a time. The leaves can be eaten as a vegetable the same with the pods when they are tender and soft, they are like green beans. We are urging the people as a family wherever they are to at least plant a fruit tree in their backyard anything that can be used as food paw paws, mangoes, guavas, oranges etc.

For the families to eat when they are in season. This can save money buying these essentials however, with Moringa in your backyard then you have overcome nutritional problems in the family. As they say Moringa boosts the immune system and does help to normalize blood sugar for those with such a disorder, helps to stabilize blood pressure for those with BP problems. And if this plant or tree is able to improve digestion and combats malnutrition why not put it as part of our everyday need just as we eat or consume any food. We should make it as an ‘Herbal Food Supplement’ which should be in every body’s home. Planting this Moringa shall solve a lot of health related problems.

How I wish if some farmers could come up with fields of Moringa in the form of plantation from which herbal medicine can be extracted for the nation and reduce on the national health bill, we have the environment that can favor Moringa growing and we have all types of organizations dealing in herbal medicines, even the pharmaceutical companies can take advantage of this natural wonder plant. At the moment Moringa powder is being sold almost at every street corner in town and those who believe in taking herbal medicine are very much relieved to find that they have a wonder product within their reach.

These are the things we should not neglect. Moringa in its pure form and having nothing removed chemically will give the best result to any individual who is taking this Moringa in its raw form. Leaves are harvested dried and crushed into powder form ready to be used. Almost every part of this plant can be used for medicinal purposes nothing is thrown away as every part is essential to good health. Malnutrition can be any of the following, lack of proteins and energy, iron deficiency and lack of vitamins. The Moringa plant is able to supply all this. The leaves are a source of vitamins and minerals. In addition to this it has a lot of health benefits, why then should this Moringa be over looked. Moringa gives more vitamins ‘A’ than the famous carrots, more ‘potassium’ than what bananas can supply, a lot more vitamin ‘C’ than oranges can give.

Once this Moringa is grown in our backyard then a lot of health problems indeed would be solved even wounds can be treated by this same Moringa for the information of the reader by applying freshly prepared leaves to the wound the wound does not take long to heal, equally it helps to stop bleeding when applied to bleeding sore or wound. Many people growing flowers and shrubs have this plant growing in their gardens but do not know how useful this plant is. Today this is an eye opener, the multipurpose tree that can sort out a good number of their health problems is in their midst or backyard.

Know this Moringa, seeds can equally be chewed. First they give a mild bitter taste and ends with a sweet taste. There is more information than what has been given above. But what should be known is that we have a wonder tree in our midst. It is a tree worth to know and if possible keep Moring products in your homes. Soon or later it will be of great use to the family as well as the community. It is a natural first-aid in a home environment. Farmers can still have small Moringa woodlots in their vicinities. Beginning may not make since but as time goes by the importance of this plant would be on everybody’s lips.

Those promoting this MORINGA should be commended they should not even hide detailed information about this plant. God gave us these plants to use for our benefit, after all plants were man’s first food. Let us share the information about this Moringa. Myself am enjoying this Moringa.

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