The Moringa tree native to India spread eastward to the lower parts of China, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. From India it also spread westward to Egypt, the Horn of Africa, around the Mediterranean, and finally to West Indies in America. The Moringa tree is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical and subtropical areas. While it grows best in dry, sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil. It is a fast-growing, drought -resistant tree. Ancient Egyptians treasured Moringa oil, using it as protection for their skin from the ravages of desert weather. Some sources even claim the Ancient Egyptians places jars of Moringa oil in the tombs for use in the afterlife. Later, the Greeks found many healthful uses for Moringa and introduced it to the Romans. Moringa is one of the world’s most useful trees, highly valued by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians as early as 2000 BC for its medicinal properties. Records show Moringa being used in Indian medicine some 5000 years ago. On the Island of Jamaica in 1817, a petition concerning Moringa oil was presented to the Jamaican House of Assembly. It described the oil as being useful for salads and culinary purposes, and being equal to the best Florence oil as an illuminant – giving clear light without smoke. In 19th century, plantations of Moringa in the West Indies exported the oil to Europe for perfumes and lubricants for machinery. Although ancient records show many uses of this miraculous plant, its diverse secrets are slowly being uncovered thanks to modern science.
IT’S GENEALOGY | Moringa is known in over 82 countries and by over 200 different names such as Arango, Árbol de las Perlas, Behen, Ben Ailé, Ben Nut Tree, Ben Oléifère, Benzolive, Canéficier de l’Inde, Chinto Borrego, Clarifier Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Indian Horseradish, Jacinto, Kelor Tree, Malunggay, Marango, Mlonge, Moringa Oleifera, Moringa pterygosperma, Moringe de Ceylan, Mulangay, Murungakai, Narango, Nebeday, Paraíso Blanco, Perla de la India, Pois Quénique, Sahjna, Saijan, Saijhan, Sajna, San Jacinto, Shagara al Rauwaq, Shigru, Terebinto,Cham’mwanba, Kangaluni, Chamwamba Miracle Tree, Never Die tree but to name but a few.
Moringa, native to parts of Africa and Asia, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. The name is derived from murungai/muringa, the Tamil/Malayam word for drumstick. The Genus contains 13 species from tropical and subtropical climates that range in size from tiny herbs to massive trees now found all over the world. The most widely cultivated species is ,Moringa Oleifera a multipurpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and cultivated throughout the tropics. M.stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown, but to a much lesser extent than M. Oleifera.