A Miracle with Leaves


The word “miracle,” (like “excellence”) is a word that is much over-used in the hyposphere (yes, that’s a new word I just created.  I quite like it, might copyright it).  But seriously, there is a “miracle tree” –  and its name is Moringa.  No, not merengue – as my husband kept pronouncing it – no sinuous wiggling of the hips, here.

It’s grown in many tropical countries, and widely used, especially in India, the Philippines, Burma and also Africa, South America… But it seems Jamaicans haven’t really discovered it and its amazing nutritional qualities (I might add that this is quite commonplace. Other countries make all kinds of things out of bamboo, for example, while Jamaicans burn bamboo stands when they are clearing land.  What do we really do with bamboo except a bit of craft here and there?)

But the moringa tree also grows in Jamaica.  And here are some facts about it, just so that I can prove that miracles do exist…

  • Every part of it can be used for food or medicine
  • It is almost unbelievably nutritious – like a kind of superfood (sorry, I’ve gone into the hyposphere, again)
  • It is fast-growing and drought-resistant
  • It can be used to feed domestic animals
  • It is widely used, especially in Africa, to combat malnutrition – the leaves are, allegedly, packed with many times more vitamins and nutrients than common fruits and vegetables
  • It helps new mothers produce more milk
  • Its seeds can purify water
  • Ayurvedic medicine says about 300 diseases can be cured with the help of this tree
  • And more, too much to detail here…
There is – or was – a large moringa tree on Camp Road in Kingston.  Jamaicans in the know would go there to pick the leaves, fruit, etc.  One man told my husband, who visited it regularly, that he took it in pill form and it helped him lose a lot of weight.  There were, apparently, frequent visitors to the tree, a kind of pilgrimage (well, we are talking about miracles, here).  But sad to say, residents of a nearby housing complex didn’t like the tree.  They said criminals hid behind it, waiting to pounce on them.  It seemed that the tree itself committed a crime, and one day it was sentenced to death by bulldozer.  The next time my husband visited it, it was gone.  Not a scrap left, not one seedling or branch or leaf.  Completely obliterated.
We are so good at destroying things that are of value.  Mangroves.  Stately old houses.  Beaches.  Miracle trees.  Fellow human beings.
And by the way, our yard is full of a number of trees.  Every day I check them for criminals, but in 25 years of living amongst all these highly dangerous trees I have never found one hiding behind one.  Our intruders, generally, are more interested in the contents of the trees.  There was the famous mango thief episode last year (caught red-handed), and I recall getting up one morning to find a young man standing under our cherry tree, quietly picking and transferring the fruit to his mouth.  I yelled at him and he looked confused.  The poor boy was mentally challenged.
But all is not lost.  I am sure there must be more moringa trees around somewhere.  And moringa tea is available in health food stores.
In fact, I just drank a cup.  We drink the tea cold once a day, and it tastes a bit like slightly dirty water.  I’m just trying it out, to see if A) I can actually lose some weight without the usual enormous struggle; and whether B) I will start bouncing around the room with all those vitamins in my body (after all, I am advancing in years and any extra little bit of energy is more than welcome).  Neither of these goals have been achieved yet, but… I keep sipping that ole dirty water, in hopes.
So look out for this tree.  It grows pretty tall, and it has pretty, delicate leaves.
My husband, with his usual foresight, saved some seeds from the recently executed tree.  They are now growing (about two feet high already) in our yard, their delicate oval leaves shaking in the breeze.
I will let you know, in a few months’ time, whether I truly believe in miracles.  You can check it out for yourself, and see whether you do.
Moringa tree
It has interesting seed pods, like drumsticks, which are used in Asian cuisine and are, of course, packed with goodness

33 thoughts on “A Miracle with Leaves

    1. You are most welcome! Yes, it was sad when they cut that tree down, as it gave so much to so many people. But the good thing is that this tree grows quickly and easily. Do you have it in South Africa? It’s wonderful.

      Like

  1. My name is Ben Heuser and I am with Zija International. We are known as THE Moringa Company. We grown our own Moringa Oliefera and are the only organization in the world to be able to keep the plant alive and bio available thru our processing. Our product is 100% organic, kosher, hallal certified and is pristine. It is delivered in a powder that you mix with water first thing in the morning and is absorbed within 15 minutes. Would you like more information?

    Like

    1. Thank you for your note. We do have suppliers here in Jamaica and as I have noted, the tree grows easily here. So we are not really advertising any supplier, just pointing out the health benefits. Thanks for contacting me!

      Like

  2. I like your blog and especially about the moringa tree, I found out I have a big tree in my back yard late last year and we are in fact grateful because the income gain from it is able to pay the water bills and to regular upkeep of the premises. I will be in touch with more info.

    Like

    1. That’s interesting. I am sure that you can make money out of it. We were so sad when they chopped down the big tree on South Camp Road which so many people used. We will just have to grown our own! Thanks so much for your comments!

      Like

  3. Hi Emma,
    I will be heading to Jamaica on April 23rd. Since I plan to visiting around the island, can you suggest/recommend any place where I can get some Moringa seeds? Thanks,–Denize

    Like

    1. Hi Denize: A great place is Prana Lifestyle. They sell moringa powder, seeds and capsules. They are at 1 Grosvenor Terrace, Kingston 8 (Manor Park area, adjoining the Grosvenor Art Gallery). Tel: (876) 632-1463-4. Email: info@pranalifestyle.com. They have a nice Facebook page, too. All the best, Emma

      Like

      1. Hi Emma–Thanks for sending the information. I had a wonderful time in Jamaica and also got some seeds. Wish me luck in getting them to germinate here in Canada.

        Like

      2. That’s great! I am glad you got the seeds. Give the seeds as much warmth as you can and regular water… They should be fine if you keep them indoors! I don’t think Canada is quite warm enough… 🙂 DO let me know how they grow…

        Like

  4. Hi Emma,
    Me again! I ordered Moringa seeds last month, and they arrived a few days ago. It grows all over the island of Kauai, Hawaii, where I once lived. Too cold here to grow outside, so it will be a house plant. What wonderful benefits it has, and can feed the tropical world. Great post, but sorry about the death of the town Moringa tree.
    Denise

    Like

    1. Dear Denise: Good to hear from you again, and I am glad the seeds have arrived. Yes, Hawaii would have been a perfect climate! Find a nice sunny, non-draughty spot for the pots and I am sure they will do well… I will keep fingers crossed, and please keep me posted on their progress! Well, the town Moringa tree has gone, but there are young ones growing in its place… Emma

      Like

  5. Hi I googled the moringa plant and your blog was the first to come up. Glad to find it. A friend of mine told me about the plant and gave me two seeds. Says they are like “gold” to those who know its healing properties. He mentioned cancer, even. I am just now googling it to find out more, but in the mean time, I have planted them in a pot in the kitchen for now, hoping they’ll sprout. Not sure how old they are so I’m praying they are still fruitable? Making up my own words now, so any suggestions would be fantastic.

    Like

    1. Hi Hilary: Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I wrote another blog post about our moringa trees (which are now twice my height and flourishing in our yard) a couple of weeks ago. There is a lot of interesting information on the moringa online, but I think you should filter out the websites that are just trying to sell it to you! I do hope your seeds will grow. Is it a warm and sunny spot? Make sure it is warm and that it gets regular water. The main use for it here seems to be using the leaves for tea – you have to dry the leaves first. I am by no means an expert on the topic, but you don’t actually have to wait for the fruit… Good luck and let me know how it goes!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much! The background is a painting by Gaston Tabois of jonkunnu (a Jamaican Christmas tradition, especially in rural areas). Mr. Tabois sadly passed away recently..

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.