Moringa Oleifera

Illustration by Matt Okahata

Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species in the Moringa genus, which is the only genus in the family Moringaceae. English common names include: moringa, drumstick tree (from the appearance of the long, slender, triangular seed-pods), horseradish tree (from the taste of the roots, which resembles horseradish), ben oil tree, or benzoil tree (from the oil which is derived from the seeds). It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree, native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern In-dia, and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seedpods and leaves are used as vegeta-bles. It can also be used for water purifi cation and hand washing, and is sometimes used in herbal medicine. Many experts say that consuming the leaves raw, cooked or pre-pared as a tea has many health benefi ts.