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Malunggay recipes 0809

Page history last edited by ecop 13 years, 2 months ago











By: Jake Erkens



Description and Rationale



The Philippines is a third world country that deals with many problems. Both poverty and health issues are among the Philippine problems. Poverty leads to health issues since the people cannot afford enough money to buy good healthy foods. They also cannot maintain a healthy diet due to the high cost of variety of foods. However, the Philippines are rich in many natural resources and among those resources is a vegetable known as the “miracle vegetable.” This specific vegetable tree is called “Malunggay” in the Philippines and in English it is called, “Moringa.” It grows best in dry sandy soil although it can survive even in poor soil and coastal areas. Malunggay is an exceptionally nutritious vegetable tree and is considered as one of the world’s most useful trees.

How can you use the malunggay tree to improve Filipino health? Can this little vegetable plant balance out a dish and make it healthier? Which nutrients does malunggay contain? Will this so called “Miracle Vegetable” have a positive outcome if Filipinos use this vegetable weekly in their dish? Which cooking method is the most efficient for this plant so that it will not loose a huge amount of nutrients? Is it healthy to eat malunggay raw? What are some reasons for the lack of use of this healthy plan in the Philippines? Do Filipinos prefer poultry, rice, and grain more than vegetables?

Nutritional analysis has shown that Malunggay leaves are extremely nutritious. In fact, they contain larger amounts of several important nutrients than the common foods often associated with these nutrients. Various laboratory researches have confirmed that malunggay is a natural energy booster that strengthens the immune system, and has antibiotic properties. It can cure headaches, migraines and ulcers and reduces arthritic pains and inflammations, and restrict tumor growths. Malunggay in general is extremely healthy and good for the human body. There is a growing global interest in the use of malunggay to address malnutrition because it is readily available and inexpensive.

The purpose of this project will be to research and demonstrate the different ways to use the malunggay in a variety of dishes to help balance out the Filipino’s diet, as well as explain its many good uses for the human body. These findings will aim to catch the eye of many Filipinos so that they can start using malunggay in their everyday dish and improve their health.

If Filipinos start to use this “miracle vegetable” more often in their dish, it will improve the livelihood of the people through a better understanding what this plant can do for them.





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Common Names and Synonyms



The Ben oil Tree is also called Moringa oleifera, which is the scientific name. This specific tree is called many other names. In the Philippines, the tagalog name for Moringa oleifera is Malunggay and is known to be a very nutritious vegetable tree. Other synonyms include horseradish tree, drumstick tree (India), palo de abejas (Dominican Republic), and sohnja (India).





Kingdom: Plantae  -- Plants

Division: Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants

Class: Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons

Order: Brassicales -- Flowering plants

Family: Moringacceae -- Horse-radish tree

Genus: Moringa -- moringa

Species: M. oleifera Lam. -- Horse-radish tree (oleifera » oil bearing)



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Morphology and Physical Description






This tree is a fast growing deciduous shrub or small tree that grows up to 12 m tall and 30 cm in diameter with an umbrella-shaped open crown. It is a softwood tree with timber of low quality. The bark is corky and gummy. Leaves are alternate, oddly bi- or tri-pinnate compound, triangular in outline and 20– 70 cm long.

Each pinnate has 3–9 pairs of 1–2 cm long ovate leaflets, soft dark green above and whitish below.



The fruit pods, called “drumsticks” are 15– 45 cm long, 9-ribbed capsules opening by three valves to release the seeds. The seed hull is a brownish semi-permeable and has three white wings that run from top to bottom. Each tree can produce 15’000 – 25’000 seeds per year. All parts of the Moringa tree are edible, except the roots, which are used as a condiment in the same way as horseradish and Moringa oleifera.



Moringa oleifera leaves contain 2 nitrile glycosides, niazirin and niazirinin, and 3 mustard oil glycosides, 4 isothiocyanate, niaziminin A, and niaziminin B, which are reported to be responsible for hypotensive activity. Most of them have anticancer properties.



The root bark of Moringa oleifera contains 2 additional alkaloids, viz. moringine, which is identical to benzylamine, and moringinine, belonging to the sympathomimetic group of bases. In addition, traces of an essential oil with a pungent smell, phytosterol, waxes, and resins are found in the moringa plant, and it contains a rich and rare combination of zeatin, quercetin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid, pterygospermin, and kaempferol.  

The entire tree has antitumor activity; the sex hormone-related property is attributable to its root, as folk medicine use has also proven. This plant can be used in patients with diabetes and thyroid disease. The other most common use of its hormonal property, except insulin and thyroid-like property is as a medicine or procedure that promotes menstrual discharge and a drug or device that is used to cause abortion.



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Getting Food


In India, the plant is propagated by planting limb cuttings 1–2 m long, from June to August, preferably. The plant starts bearing pods 6–8 months after planting but regular bearing commenced after the second year. The tree bears for several years. It does not tolerate freezes or frost. It can also be propagated by seed. As with all plants, optimum cultivation depends on producing the right environment for the plant to thrive. Moringa is a sun and heat loving plant. As a seedling, however, you must monitor the environment in the beginning until the tree is established. Seeds can be germinated year round.



Moringa needs well draining soil. Increase the drainage of your soil by adding perlite (volcanic glass) or other porous substance. Plant an inch from the surface of the soil, cover and tamp gently. Dig a hole twice the depth of the pot. Be careful not to disturb the root when transplanting. Cut the bottom of the pot out and slit one side. Place the pot and seedling into the hole and back fill with soil, tamp gently. Water the seedlings frequently and certainly do not let the soil dry too much.  

Moringa creates a taproot. Sometimes the top plant may die out due to heat, dry soil, or a change in the environment. This does not necessarily mean the plant has died. Check the taproot to see if it is still firm. If it is, keep the seedling damp with filtered sun. Moringa is a very hardy plant and can revive itself given time and good conditions. If the taproot is soft, it is dead. Moringa will die from root rot, which is from poor draining soil.

Frost may cause the tree to drop leaves and even die down to the ground. Keep damp. It will revive in the spring. Freezing temperatures or continuous days of frost can kill Moringa. If you live in a cold climate you must keep the plant warm.   



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Moringa oleifera uses asexual reproduction through cross pollination. Growing malunggay is relatively simple. Dig a mature branch of malunggay and in two to three weeks’ time, young shoots will emerge from the soil. This asexual method of propagation and is the most familiar and popular method of propagating malunggay. 



The miracle tree also uses sexual reproduction. Malunggay be propagated through seeds.  It takes 5 to 7 days before a seed germinates. As for malunggay’s life cycle, no one really knows how long the plant can live. It is not known how and from where this nutritious tree came from. There are no specific data that show how malunggay eventually came to the Philippines.







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Environmental Factors



Malunggay is resistant to most pests; however, outbreaks may occur due to different conditions. Diplodia root rot can cause a plant to wilt or a plant’s death. During dry and cool weather conditions the plant’s leaves may become yellowish. This happens because of the sudden increase of mite populations. Yet this factor, malunggay will soon recover once warmer weather is present.



There are other pests and insects that can harm the malunggay tree. Termites, aphids, leafminers, whiteflies, and caterpillars tend to feed on the leaves, branches, bark, and stem of the malunggay tree. These invaders can be overcome by choosing and using a pesticide that will aim for one specific pest. It is best if the pesticide only lasts for a couple days so that it will not start to kill or restrain the on-going development of valuable organisms.

It is best to install a fence around a growing malunggay tree, or even a mature malunggay tree. This is important because it will prevent animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and goats usually tend to eat malunggay seedlings, pods and leaves.


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Origin and Distribution



The Malunggay tree mainly grows in semi-arid tropical and subtropical areas. It grows most efficiently in dry sandy soil; it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree that apparently is native only to the southern foothills of the Himalayas. However, today it is widely cultivated and naturalized in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia and also in the Philippines.



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Importance to People



Malunggay is a very nutritious plant and has many benefits for humans. The leaves help reduce phlegm. The flowers are used to heal swelling of the tendons and abscesses. The tree’s fruit helps the human eye and can help prevent eye disorders.        

This tree also strengthens the immune system, restores skin conditions, controls blood pressure, relieves headaches, migraines, manages the sugar level thereby preventing diabetes, reduces inflammations and arthritis pains, restricts the growth of tumors, and heals ulcers.      

For men, eating malunggay fruits can increase the amount of semen. So this is quite beneficial to those men who are having some problems in producing children. As for women, malunggay leaves are boiled and drunk as tea to help increase breast milk. Overall, this plant is very useful and healthy for practically any person.

The following diagram shows just how healthy malunggay leaves are by contrasting it with the number of vitamin C in oranges, calcium in milk, vitamin A in carrots, protein in milk, and potassium in bananas. All those added together are equal to a branch of malunggay leaves.




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Survivability and Endangered Status



During droughts and other water-stress periods, the tree can lose most of its leaves and. the wood of Moringa is susceptible to breakage in high winds. The pods of some varieties taste quite bitter and may be poisonous if eaten in large quantities. Malunggay trees are not really endangered, but the population of malunggay trees can decline due to rapid deforestations, erosion, and strong winds. People do not endanger this nutritious tree; however, they can by starting a fire or through construction work close to malunggay trees.



Malunggay trees are not that endangered because people who know and understand the benefits of malunggay replant malunggay. Those who are not aware of this nutritious plant may be cutting these trees down then using it for food or any other beneficial usage. 



It is most certain that a lot of people grow this healthy plant in their backyards, but the overall or even the average population of malunggay in the Philippines is unknown. Filipinos not manage the growth of malunggay, because most are aware of its beneficial uses and are actually thankful for this tree. 



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Potential Solutions



            Are there any possible solutions to the Filipino dietary since it lacks some nutrition and also because of its high salt solution? Malunggay is used by many poor Filipinos, especially because it is easy to grow and it is very beneficial to human health. How can cooking different malunggay recipes help balance out an unbalanced meal? Below are three potential solutions on how this nutritious plant can be used to create a balanced meal and even improve the health of the people of the Philippines.


Possibility 1 - Informing a Company


            I could get in touch with and talk to them about malunggay and its benefits hoping that together we can create a scar-removing lotion. Or another option still involving contact with a company would be creating a healthy malunggay tea for ill people. This can be done directly through a meeting or indirectly through e-mail or snail mail.






1.      It could draw the government’s attention to this healthy cultivated vegetable that can help the health of Filipinos.

2.      If a product is produced successfully and works efficiently, it will gain the world’s attention and respect for this plant and the Philippines newest and healthy product.

3.      If a well known company would take any part of the moringa plant and can form a scar-removing lotion or a healthy tea, then many Filipinos will benefit from this, since the company is well known and are commonly used.






1.      The Filipinos associated with the company might decide not to hear me out, or not read my e-mail or letter.

2.      Another disadvantage is that my plan is not within the corporation finances.

3.      If a healthy product were made, it might be too costly for a standard Filipino.



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Possibility 2 - Cooking (including lecture)


            A possibility I have is to go to a Barangay and have a malunggay benefit cooking show for local Filipinos. This can help them understand that malunggay is not just a tree to cut down or burn, but that it actually is quite useful and greatly helps the human body and multiple ways.

I could also improvise on several Filipino dishes just by adding malunggay leaves to the meal. This would help balance out a meal with the right amount of malunggay. 





1.      I get to connect personally with local Filipinos and share some new recipes with malunggay.

2.      After I finished a meal I could lecture a group of elderly Filipinos and teach them the benefits of malunggay and encourage them to grow one or two plants in their back yard.

3.      Children who don’t like vegetable and resist eating vegetables and start eating meals   with vegetable, like malunggay. Since malunggay is a thin vegetable the children will not even bother placing it on the side because it is thin and easily eaten unlike squash or cucumber.






1.      It would be difficult to round up the number of people and take control of everyone, making sure nothing gets out of control. It could end up in chaos if parents bring their children who like to run around and be wild.

2.      Setting up the equipment is an obstacle because it would be hard to find a good Barangay where I could easily set up a kitchen area and a white board for the lecture.

3.      Since I am a German and English speaking boy, it will be hard for me to communicate directly with them. Even though I am partially Filipino, I can barely speak the language as well as understand, so I need a translator or two to help me translate what I am saying and what they are saying.





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Possibility 3 - Planting (including lecture)


            Planting malunggay would be an exciting experiment to do, because it is actually going outside and includes physical work alongside Filipino farmers. Working I the fields can give me the opportunity to teach them about the many ways the malunggay tree helps us humans. At around lunch time I could cook a malunggay meal and interview them on how they liked it. During that time, after they finished their lunch, I could teach them different malunggay recipes and share with them all that I have learned about the malunggay plant.






1.      Going to the fields to work will open my eyes to see how poor people in the Philippines are, and this can spur me up, encourage me to do this again but in different areas. Just being with these people is a great way to share Christ with them.

2.      Cooking and giving a lecture will help them gain money by learning how to cook meals including malunggay and growing malunggay and selling it to other people.

3.      Growing malunggay would help them and their families because it provides so many opportunities for them to sell this miracle plant and also help their family’s health.








1.      Communication would be very difficult for both the Filipinos and I, because most of them are too poor to receive their full education and therefore cannot speak or understand English. As for me, I barely know any Tagalog.

2.      In the Philippines, malunggay is widely cultivated. Many Filipinos already grow this nutritious tree and that may be a problem for me, because it would be hard to find a location where the people have not started to grow malunggay or have no idea of what malunggay does and its benefits.





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"Growing Malunggay (Moringa) |." EntrePinoys Atbp. 07 May 2009 <http://www.mixph.com/2007/10/growing-malunggay-moringa.html>.



"Malunggay Is The Answer." BlogText - Get a free blog here. 07 May 2009 <http://www.blogtext.org/LateBloomer/article/22393.html>.



"MALUNGGAY(Moringaoleifera)-ASuperMiracleTree!" 07 May 2009 <http://haircut100.multiply.com/journal/item/18/MALUNGGAY_Moringa_oleifera_-_A_Super_Miracle_Tree_>.



"Moringa ( Malunggay ) is not your ordinary green leafy vegetables. ~." Health Assistant. 07 May 2009 <http://healthassistant.blogspot.com/2009/03/moringa-malunggay-is-miracle-vegetable.html>.



"Moringa oleifera." Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University. 07 May 2009 <http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Moringa_oleifera.html>.



"Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Tree." Independent news on natural health, nutrition and more. 07 May 2009 <http://www.naturalnews.com/022272.html>.



"Moringa oleifera -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 07 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera>.



"Nutritional Value of Malunggay Part II |." Earth News. 07 May 2009 <http://earthnews.pinaymom.org/2008/07/nutritional-value-of-malunggay-part-ii/>.















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