In this post, I’ll going to introduce you another very interesting plant, which Thai people call marum. Marum is a small size tree, which grows up to 5-10 meters. It’s scientific name is moringa oleifera. The name probably derived from the Tamil language, where it is called murungai. The moringa is native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but today the tree can be found in most of our world’s subtropical and tropical countries. Amongst other countries, the tree is cultivated in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia and many countries of Latin America and Africa. Whereas India is the leading producer of the moringa tree, in Thailand the tree is mostly grown in backyards or as natural fences in private gardens. It’s products can be found at local markets and the various parts of the plants, such as the roots, seed pods and leaves are used in a variety of Thai dishes. One of the well-known dishes is the gaeng som marum or the sour moringa curry. Additionally the seeds and leaves of the plant can be eaten simply with nam prik, the famous chilli sauce made of shrimp past, crushed insects, fish sauce and chillies.
The health benefits of the moringa tree are magnificent and the leaves, seed pods, seeds and the oil derived from the seeds are used in traditional medicines to treat various diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure, fevers, eye infections, gastric ulcers, liver disorders, rheumatism, sore throats, colds, bronchitis, asthma, skin infections, venerable diseases and diarrhea. Additionally the seed pods and seeds are eaten as a deworming medicine. There is no other plant, with such a high concentrations of vitamins, proteins and other life-saving compounds. The moringa tree’s leaves are extremely rich in vitamin C (seven times higher concentrations than an orange), vitamin A (four times higher than carrots), calcium (four times higher than milk), potassium (three times higher than bananas), iron (25 times higher than spinach), magnesium and protein (three times higher than yoghurt). They also contain high concentrations of polyphenols (six times higher as red wine), folic acid, all essential amino acids, almost all non-essential amino acids, high concentrations of Omega-3, 6, 9, a multitude of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. Due to the high concentrations of proteins, minerals and vitamins the moringa leaves provide a perfect means to counter malnutrition. The moringa tree can also resist long droughts and grows in sandy low quality soils. Those characteristics made the moringa “the” ideal tree for poor subtropical countries suffering from famine and malnutrition. The reason that this tree didn’t become more famous is that the global concerns of today simply viewed this tree as a competitor to their own products. Why to invest millions of dollars into food nutrients and supplements, when a easy grown tree can provide the same service. Nevertheless, people used this tree for thousands of years and the moringa tree is probably one of the most effective medicines nature can provide.