Moringa seeds have at least three stages where they can be used for different purposes. When they are young, they are called “drumsticks” or moringa pods. They are widely used in Pakistan and India as a culinary delicacy. During my early age, I saw my mother and grandmother cooking raw moringa seeds in different ways. Now my wife cooks them either with meat or otherwise.
Interestingly, none of these ladies knew about the medicinal and nutritional benefits of moringa seeds. Only delicious taste has attracted the folks to cook moringa oleifera seeds for centuries, not only in the sub-continent but also in other parts of the world. Mostly, moringa pods are cooked like other green beans. The food tastes closer to asparagus taste yet unique.
When moringa seeds ripe and start to harden, they are removed from pods and can be lasted like peas and nuts.
The third stage comes when moringa seeds harden and dry. They can be crushed and used as a medicine for stomach ulcers. They can also be processed to yield oil, which can be used for cooking, hair and treatment purposes.
Different parts of the moringa tree are full of phytochemicals that have medicinal and nutritional values. Similarly, Moringa seeds contain a considerable level of sterols, proteins, tocopherols, and good fat. They have various uses, including natural organic inputs in medicine, industry, and traditional health practices.
Morphologically, Moringa oleifera seeds are unique in natural presentation compared to seedlings from other species of the Moringacea family. Seedlings are globular, encapsulated in fluffy semi-permeable husks, and measures about 1cm in diameter. Husky shells present as semi-permeable enclosures flanked by depressed edges with 2-3 papery wings and an overall brown or black shade colors (white; in less viable seeds).
Germination of cultivated seeds occurs within 2 weeks, producing a matured tree in a few years (1). On average, the Moringa oleifera tree produces about 15,000 to 30,000 seeds in a growth year, with each viable seed weighing about 0.3gm with the seed kernel accounting for almost 75% of the net weight.
Moringa oleifera seeds are natural indigenous cultivation of subtropical and tropical climes of the World. Local cultivators have adopted the use of loamy or sandy soils with a pH range of 6.3-7 in regions with an average rainfall volume of 300-3000 mm. Under favorable conditions, seeds germinate within 5-12 days and are subsequently transplanted in the shallow, tilled ground at a depth of 2cm. The transplant process requires some level of expertise as the delicate root system of the young saplings is liable to damage when roughly handled.
Though the Moringa tree has the best survival rate, yet a damaged root system in saplings may terminate germination and causes loss of seedlings. Alternatively, Moringa seedlings can be cultivated from viable stem cuttings measuring about 5cm in diameter and 1cm in length. This indirect method of cultivation requires extensive agricultural care management as the technique produces young germinates in high temperatures and low humidity.
Follow these simple steps!
Immerse the viable seedlings in clean water for a few days, or remove the husk and seed kernels before planting.
Moringa oleifera seeds are processed to extract the Moringa oil. A semi-intensive method of extraction involves exposing de-husked seeds to boiling temperature while carefully collecting the oil exudate by skimming the globular mass of oil off the water surface. Intensive methods of extraction are capital intensive and employ the skilled use of solvents (preferably n-hexane) or by mechanical cold pressing (2).
Moringa oleifera seeds contain 40% edible oil, which can be used in culinary, cosmetics, hair, and lubrication. Oil processing produces an odorless and clear oil. The seed remains can be used as an organic fertilizer.
Comparative constituent analysis of Moringa seeds revealed the presence of Moringa oil as the dominant constituent of the seed, as it accounts for about 37% of the seed net weight. Research has confirmed the presence of an active antimicrobial, a derivative of benzyl isocyanate in the crude moringa seeds. Other essential phytochemicals currently investigated as possible herbal biotic substances present in the seeds include; moringin, niazirine, niazimicin B, methionine, and Benzyl glucosinolate.
Moringa pods, seeds, and leaves contain slightly varying phytochemical constitutions.
|Vitamin A, RAE||4||ug|
|Vitamin A, IU||74||ug|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.033||g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.102||g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.003||g|