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7.24.2013

A Haitian Treasure: Moringa (Benzoliv)

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Common name: Moringa
Haitian name: Pye pwa mirak or Benzoliv
Scientific name: Moringa Oleifera

What is it good for? Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition! It is extremely high in protein, vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, and iron. It also contains all essential amino acids.

Moringa is considered a miracle plant since every part of it has a specific use. It's kind of insane how beneficial this plant is- root, seed, flower, pods....all of it. It is used for medicine and nutrition, and to maintain livestock and purify water. It is currently being studied more closely for its use as biodiesel.
Some medicinal uses: treats GI problems, skin disorders, and inflammation, just to name a few.

What makes it a Haitian treasure? The moringa flowers are often used to treat colds and to improve circulation and immunity. It has amazing nutritional benefits that the Haitian people are definitely aware of. Haitians make tea and soup with moringa.
Other thoughts: Moringa was introduced to Haiti by numerous NGO's, who claimed to have an interest in the plant's ability to combat malnutrition, which is great. I think it's super important to take care of our individual and communal health. I have to say I am also interested in the socio-economic opportunities that Moringa can provide to Haiti, and I give props to the Haitian-led initiatives underway to plant Moringa. The moringa tree is a tough cookie. It can grow in a variety of climates and in the harshest of conditions, which is a plus for a deforested place like Haiti. People all over the world are fans of Moringa and I believe that Haiti can totally jump on the bandwagon and become a world-class producer of this amazing plant (as well as other plants), in due time and under the right circumstances.

Truthfully, I can't help but feel a rush of excitement when I think about the benefits of developing Haiti's agriculture and continuing my exploration of our traditional and natural healing systems, for the health of the people first and foremost, as well as other aspects like jobs, education, economic growth, etc. Maybe it's the idealist in me.

I am really interested in learning more about the specific traditional uses of Moringa in our Haitian culture. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment below. :)

Know your treasures and stay engaged,
N

The "Haitian Treasures" series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which I call "Haitian Treasures" because they are truly national gems.  Naïka in Balance is the premiere source for information on the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

2 comments:

  1. Salut! How sweet and informative your blog is. I have been reading since the very beginning and it’s been so amazing to see your blog and the information provided get better and better every post. The information also enhances my knowledge of my beloved Haiti more.
    Other specialties of this tree according to my mom are: oil with the seeds and the leaves are good for tea to help with cold (gripe). Good luck with MED school. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Lots of people want to experience the health benefits of Moringa but they don’t have access to fresh leaves or seeds. It is good to know that the powder can also supply many of the nutrients that are found in the plant when it is fresh.

    Women who are pregnant should always speak to their doctor before using it. Some physicians do not think of it as a food that should be consumed too often during this stage. If a woman wants to know whether to use Malunggay during pregnancy she can get good advice from her gynecologist.

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