about the health benefits of drumstick started appearing in mainstream
scientific journals about two decades ago. Many of the nutritional and
medicinal properties of drumstick (moringa
oleifera) have long been
known in India. Also known as the horseradish, kelor, marango,
munakkada, murungkai, mlonge,
mulangay, nébéday, saijhan, and sanjana, the drumstick tree is native
to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The quickly growing, perrennial drumstick tree is a common sight in the
backyards of homes in South India. Drumstick is now widely cultivated
as an important crop in India, Ethiopia, the Philippines and the Sudan,
West, East and South Africa, tropical Asia, Latin America, the
Caribbean, Florida in the US, and the Pacific Islands.
All parts of this tree are useful and have long been used for
nutritional, medicinal, and industrial purposes. The drumstick pods or
fruits are used as a vegetable in curries and soups and very popular in
Indian food. Crushed
drumstick leaves are used as a domestic cleaning agent; powdered seeds
are used for clarifying honey and sugarcane juice, and for purifying
Moringa seeds produce oil, also known as Ben oil, which is a sweet
non-sticky oil that doesn't become rancid. This oil is used in salads,
for lubricating machines, and in perfumes and hair-care products.
The seeds are also eaten green, roasted, powdered and steeped for tea
or used in curries. This tree has in recent times been advocated by
organizations such as Trees for Life as an outstanding indigenous
source of highly digestible protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin C, and
carotenoids suitable for use in regions of the world where
malnourishment is a major concern.
Drumstick and Health
Almost all parts of the drumstick tree have medicinal value. The small,
are especially beneficial in treating many ailments because of their
high iron content and many medicinal properties.
leaves can be eaten fresh, cooked, or stored as dried powder
for many months without refrigeration, and reportedly without loss of
nutritional value. Where starvation is imminent, consuming the
drumstick-leaf powder can be life-saving.
According to the Trees for Life organization, “ounce-for-ounce, Moringa
leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk,
more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium
than bananas,” and that the protein quality of Moringa leaves rivals
that of milk and eggs.
Because of the high calcium, iron,
and vitamins, drumstick leaves can
be used as a wonderful tonic for infant and growing kids and teens to
promote strong and healthy bones and for purifying the bloodstream. To
prepare the tonic, drumstick leaves should be ground with water,
filtered, and mixed with milk.
Drumstick-leaf juice is also very beneficial for pregnant women as it
can help them overcome sluggishness of the uterus, ease delivery, and
reduce post-delivery complications. In India, drumstick leaves are
boiled in water and salt, the water is drained, and the leaves are
served with ghee (clarified butter) to lactating mothers to increase
Drumstick leaves are very useful in treating wheezing, asthma,
bronchitis, and tuberculosis. A soup prepared by boiling a handful of
leaves in 3/4 cup water for 5 minutes and cooled is served to those
with respiratory problems. A little salt, pepper, and lime juice can be
added to this soup.
Drumstick has antibacterial properties and as such is very useful in
preventing infections such as those of the throat, chest, and skin.
Drumstick soup can be prepared from the leaves, flowers, and pods and
used for this purpose as an antibiotic.
Dried and powdered bark of the drumstick root can also be used for
fungal skin infections.
Drumstick leaves, flowers, and seeds are useful in treating sexual
debility and weakness.
A teaspoonful of fresh drumstick-leaf juice mixed with honey and a
glass of tender coconut water taken 2-3 times a day is a wonderful
remedy for digestive disorders like diarrhea, dysentary, colitis,
jaundice, and cholera. Drumstick-leaf juice is also effective in
treating urinary diorders such as excessive urination.
Drumstick-seed oil is useful in treating conjunctivitis.
Fresh drumstick-leaf juice mixed with lime juice can also be applied to
treat pimples, acne,
Moringa oleifera: A
Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional,
Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1. Jed W. Fahey,
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and
Foods That Heal: The
Natural Way to Good Health, H.K. Bakhru