1CHAPTER ITHE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUNDINTRODUCTIONMoringa oleiferais the most widely cultivated species ofthe genusMoringa, which is the only genus in the familyMoringaceae.Englishcommonnamesinclude:moringa,drumstick tree(from the appearance of thelong, slender, triangular seed-pods),horseradish tree(from thetaste of the roots, which resembleshorseradish),benoiltreeorbenzoil tree(from the oil which is derived from theseeds). It is a fast-growing,drought-resistant tree, native to thesouthern foothills of theHimalayasin northwestern India, andwidely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas where itsyoung seed pods and leaves are used as a vegetable(Olson,2010).In the Philippines, one can find an assortment of naturalhealth products. For example, bitter gourd or ampalaya is avegetable that may lower blood glucose. Maunggay (horseradishtree) and kamote (sweet potato) are good sources of β-carotene:an antioxidant that scavenges oxidative radicals. These types of
2botanicals are potential bioactives for health foods. At least10,000 plants have been documented and 2000 species arebeing subjected to research. Without being labeled as afunctional food, some of these foods are recognized to havemedicinal functions or health benefits beyond their basicnutritional value. Currently, there are several ongoing researchprojects in the Philippines studying the efficacy and applicationof bioactives in functional foods. Scientific validation of medicinalplants for health care is also being conducted. Thesemultidisciplinary projects combine pharmacological andtoxicological assessments, formulations, and manufacturingresearch (Mallillian and Bautista-Batallones, 2004). Moringa seeds are obtained from the pods of the Moringaplant (Moringa Oleifera) or the drumstick tree, native to NorthernIndia. Fresh and raw moringa seeds are quite tender, but as soonas they get dried, they become hard and start to resemble smallbeans. They are greyish-white in colour with unique wing-likestructures. They can be steamed, boiled or roasted for variouspurposes,"says Dr. Divya Choudhary, Chief Dietitian, Max SuperSpeciality Hospital.According to Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, FortisHospital, Vasant Kunj, "Moringa is a nutrient-dense plant that is
3rich in vitamins,calcium, iron and essential amino acids. It canbenefit the body in a number of ways."Widely known as“drumstick tree” in India, moringa goes by different names indifferent countries and regions. It is known as ‘Sahijan’ in Hindi,“Munaga’ in Telugu, ‘Murungai’ in Tamil. The Tagalog name in thePhilippines is ‘Mulunggay’, which sounds very similar to‘Moringa’. There are many moringa seeds benefits (NDTVFood,2018 ). Malunggay seed In some regions, the young seed pods aremost commonly eaten, while in others, the leaves are the mostcommonly used part of the plant. The flowersare edible whencooked and are said to taste likemushrooms. Thebark,sap,roots, leaves, seeds, oil, and flowers are used intraditionalmedicinein several countries.