Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Malunggay - Miracle Tropical Tree

Dr Abe V Rotor
In observance of World Food Day October 16, 2015
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
A sapling of Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) propagated from cutting. This tropical tree vegetable grows up to twenty years or more on well-drained loam soil. No home is without malunggay in the province. Leaves, flowers, young and mature pods are made into various recipes. The tree needs no attention virtually - no spraying, fertilization, and it is self regenerating after a typhoon or heavy pruning. It grows on borders, fences and hedges and becomes part of the landscpae.

There is a technique in preparing the pod, and it needs practice to do it: deftly skin the pod with a knife on its three sides one after another, then de-rib the edges, as shown in this photo. Cut into the clean pods into pieces.

Malunggay pod is cooked into bulanglang or diningding. To thicken the soup add kamote (sweet potato) tuber sliced or in cubes, which is first cooked and softened to paste. The cleaned pod is then added, followed by sahog, say broiled or fried tilapia, or pork, as may be preferred.What nutrients do we get from malunggay?

Here is a comparison of the food value of the fresh leaves versus green pods, in percent. (Marañon and Hermano, Useful Plants of the Philippines)

• Proteins - 7.30 vs 7.29

• Carbohydrates - 11.04 vs 2.61

• Fats - 1.10 vs 0.16

• Crude Fiber - 1.75 vs 0.76

• Phosphorus (P2 O 5) - 0.24 vs 0.19

 Calcium (CaO) - 0.72 vs 0.01

• Iron (Fe2O3) - 0.108 vs 0.0005

Owing to these properties and other uses, rural folks regard malunggay a “miracle tree.” Take for example the following uses.
• The root has a taste somewhat like that of horse-radish, and in India it is eaten as a substitute to it.
• Ben oil extracted from the seed is used for salad and culinary purposes, and also as illuminant.
• Mature seeds have antibacterial and flocculants properties that render drinking water safe and clear.

From these data, it is no wonder malunggay is highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists for both children and adults, particularly to nursing mothers and the convalescents.

Make it a family habit to serve a dish of malunggay regularly. ~

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