Moringa oleifera

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Moringa oleifera (ben oil tree, horseraddish tree, moringo, drumstick tree) is a species native to northern India that is now cultivated throughout the tropics, particularly in arid areas.[1] It is a usually deciduous tree that grows 4 to 6 meters or higher with tuberous roots, whitish gray bark, soft wood, and drooping branches. It has capsules as long as 30 cm (or more) that split into three valves. The seeds are brown and three-winged.

Cultivation in Kenya

"Uses: Food: The leaves of the horseradish tree are used as a vegetable (Mijikenda) while tender young capsules (drumsticks) are a delicacy, especially among the Asian [Indian] community. An oil may be extracted from the seeds. Immature seeds can be used like green peas. Planted by the Mijienda who use the leaves as a vegetable. Leaves have a slight odour. To prepare the vegetable, remove the small leaflets from the mainb ranch by pressing on the branchlet between the fingers and pulling. Mix the leaves with cowpea leaves (tsafe), kimbiri (Oxygonum salicifolium), kiswenya (Amaranthius dubius) and talakushe (Asystasia gangetica). Kiswenya and tsafe are normally cut into small pieces. Boil, add salt and serve. The vegetable may also be fried (Mijikenda). Cooking is normally brief.
"Medicinal: The plant is said to cure impotence (Tharaka)"[1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Patrick M. Maundu, Grace W. Ngugi, and Christine H.S. Kabuye, Traditional Food Plants of Kenya, Kenya Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, 1999, p. 181.

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