There is a story told many years ago as far back as 2,000 B.C., and also reflected in ancient Indian writings dating around 150 B.C., which is gaining prominence since the 1970s as scientists started conducting significant researches to substantiate the claims that were made. The Moringa story is a remarkable one of a humble plant that made strides in the ancient world for many years and whose secrets are being made available to modern science. With discoveries made so far, Moringa is reputed to be one of the most nutrient-rich plants that provide a rich and rare combination of nutrients, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties with many health benefits in contrast to other plants which may have one or two benefits only. No wonder the plant is referred to as a powerhouse of health and nutritional value.
Moringa was prized for its therapeutic properties and was used by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians to manufacture skin care products and for water purification. Modern science, in substantiating the claims, has discovered the incredible range of natural nutrients it contains. The Moringa story is making waves in many countries like the Americas and in parts of Africa especially Senegal, Togo, Benin, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. In Ghana, the heat is on and people are beginning to ask what Moringa is and to seek for its products especially the leaves. The Moringa story must be told as many people are still in the dark about this wonderful blessing from nature. With a world grappling from malnutrition, our hope lies in this plant whose leaves are capable of wiping every aspect of malnutrition out of the world not to talk of the many benefits derived from other parts of it, namely: the seeds, flowers, roots and bark.
Ghana and invariably, Africa, is reeling in the throes of malnutrition which is having a devastating toll on the citizenry and affects productivity with high infant and maternal mortalities. Moringa offers a local solution to combat malnutrition as bio-availability of majority of its nutrients makes it of immense value to help in the wiping out of malnutrition and make it a historical relic if our governments will be determined to undertake this exercise. Church World Service nutrition program in West Africa based in Dakar, Senegal and under Dr. Lowell J. Fuglie, has successfully used Moringa oleifera as a base to cure and prevent malnutrition in children, pregnant and lactating women. It is reported that usage of Moringa leaves brought improvement in malnourished children in just a few days.
The quest for a proper nutritional program for livestock will result in the adoption of Moringa based feed. Whilst attention is on the use of Moringa leaves for combating malnutrition, we should not forget that plants and the soil can be effectively nourished with Moringa for high productivity. Large quantities of organic fertilizers and animal feed can be produced from Moringa. The cosmetic industry needs Vitamin E and other preservatives which are provided by Moringa oil with the water industry using the seed cake for water purification.
Moringa products have a high potential in the food supplement markets in Europe and America but there are many hurdles to cross. Europe alone controls over 30% of the 45 billion dollar world food supplement market. Other competing products exist in the “green superfoods” sector of the market of which the prominent ones are: spirulina, green barley, wheat and alfalfa sprouts and Noni juice which is like Moringa with similar composition and effects and labeled as Morinda citrifolia. With spirulina and cereal sprouts well known in the USA, Moringa products may be able to penetrate if proper conditions are established like proper food supplement certification, sufficient production capacity, organic certification, attractive packaging and target ethnic markets like Indian, African and Caribbean in addition to other marketing and promotional strategies. The market for food supplements in Europe is wide and there is room for new products from the Moringa stable.
Although laboratory tests have established Moringa’s non-toxicity and nutritional composition, a lot needs to be done to make Moringa to be acceptable in national and international programs especially its effectiveness and safety. This will pave the way for an effective launch of Moringa in all sectors of the global community. With proper education, planning and investment in the cultivation, processing and marketing of Moringa products in global acceptable standards, Ghana and other countries stand to gain greatly from this new miracle. Let us go on telling the Moringa story and brace ourselves to take advantage of the offer Moringa is putting forth to help us wipe out malnutrition in addition to other great products from its stable.