Moringa, or more commonly known among Filipinos as malunggay, is a plant acknowledged for its nutritional and medicinal value. Almost all parts of the moringa plant are edible, from the immature seed pods called drumsticks, to the leaves, mature seeds, and roots.
The leaves are said to be the most nutritious part of the plant. According to the Food Composition Tables (FCT) developed by the Food and Nutrition and Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), malunggay leaves are significant sources of B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc, potassium, and iron, among other significant nutrients.
Malunggay is a very common ingredient in Asian cuisines in countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Pakistan.
In the Philippines, malunggay leaves are added to broth, like in the famous tinola, a traditional chicken soup dish with ginger and green papaya or chayote, to make a nutritious soup. The leaves are also processed with olive oil and salt to become pesto-like pasta sauce or crushed and mixed with lemons or citrus fruits to make juices or ice candies.
Among its many miraculous benefits, moringa can balance blood sugar levels. The FNRI-DOST conducted a study to determine the changes in glucose of people with moderately-raised glucose levels using malunggay leaves powder to verify this claim.
It was found out that food products such as buns, fish sausages, and veggie soups with added malunggay leave powder decreased fasting blood sugar, thus, possessing strong potential in fighting diabetes. However, the cholesterol-lowering effect of malunggay leaves is yet to be established in humans by way of a thorough correlation research study involving repeated observations over long periods of time.
Malunggay, touted as the miracle tree, is very abundant in the Philippines. It is therefore very practical and gainful to undertake studies on how to maximize its health benefits for every Filipino's well-being. ?( JADoringo \DOST IV-A S&T Media Service)