Malunggay, internationally known as Moringa, is a tree that is native to India and grows very well in the tropics. It is renowned for it’s small leaves which are bunched on the branches in clusters. These leaves, when consumed are very nutritious, and Malunggay is widely recognized as a superfood.
“ For every pound, malunggay has seven times more Vitamin C than oranges, three times more potassium that bananas, four times more Vitamin A than carrots, two times more protein and four times more calcium than milk, according to the MPFI. “
Let’s take a look at what it has to offer.
Effects On Immunity
Malunggay definitely earns its classification as a superfood. As seen above, a 50g serving would give you your daily requirement of Vitamins A, E and K as well as providing the Calcium, Magnesium and Iron that you need. It provides healthy amounts of B vitamins and the dried leaves are 25% protein! Wow. Let’s talk a little about how this helps immunity.
We know that Vitamins K and E are immunoregulatory nutrients, which make sure that your immune system performs appropriately.
Vitamin A is important for protecting your mucosal surfaces and also needed for the production of Lymphocytes.
Calcium is also of great importance to the immune response. Studies on human patients have shown that it is needed for the cells of the adaptive immunity to communicate with one another:
“calcium-based signal regulated the production of two immune cell types: T follicular helper cells that drive the body’s massive reaction to invading organisms; and T follicular regulatory cells, which ramp that reaction down as soon as infection is finished. ” 1
Finally, it is also rich in Antioxidants, (Vitamin C, B vitamins) which prevent oxidative stress and keep the body functioning properly.
COVID RESISTANCE: Vitamin K deficiency is linked to higher mortality from COVID. Vitamin C is essential for adaptive immunity which will protect you from variants of the virus. Recent research has shown that Antioxidants are key in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation which lead to progression to severe COVID symptoms. Vitamin A is the number one nutrient for protecting our respiratory system, bolstering your first(mucous) line of defense, and also produces antibodies (IgA) that protect your lungs. Calcium is important for the cell communication that allows adaptive immunity to work, providing you protection from ALL variants. Iron is important in maintaining high oxygen levels, since it is needed for RBC production.
Given all this information it is no wonder that Malunggay is so highly valued. In the context of the immune system it is even more valuable as you can see.
Malunggay is very easily propagated and it is in your best interest to have a few of these plants at home. They are extremely hardy and resitant to flood and drought. Given it’s nutrient density, it really is in your best interest to have a few of these plants at home so you can eat a little every day.
To plant your own Malunggay tree you need to find a mature plant and take a cutting from it. It should be about 6 inches long and come from a mature, woody part of the tree. Watch this video to see for yourself. You can also grow it from seed. If allowed to, the trees produce white flowers (also edible) which develop into seed pods. Personally, I have found that trees grown from seed are much healthier.
Harvest the young leaves from the tree every so often, making sure to give it time to recover between harvests.
Thankfully Malunggay is not usually treated with chemicals. It is not prone to pest infestations, and herbicides are not used on them either. Fertilizer use might be used in some cases, but this is rare. In fact it was found in one study that Malunggay had greater nutritional content when grown organically. No surprise there! 2