While staying at Footsteps, you may experience a feeling of being energised. Of course, this happens when on holiday doesn’t it? Of course, sun, great food, good company and leaving behind your troubles for a week or two will often do this, but there may also be another reason, its name is Moringa, it’s a plant and you may want to find out a bit more about it!
It grows all around Footsteps, birds love it and so do we. Our chefs find all kinds of ways of introducing into our menus. From tea to adding it in stews and even in salads, it’s a staple at Footsteps and has been for some years now. Read on and learn about this miracle plant!
Moringa: The Green Wonder of Gambia
In the lush landscapes of Gambia, there is a treasure that thrives under the warm African sun – the Moringa tree. Known as the “Miracle Tree” or “Tree of Life,” and scientifically called Moringa oleifera has been revered for centuries for its exceptional nutritional and medicinal benefits. With its remarkable versatility and a wide array of uses, Moringa has become a key component of daily life in Gambia.
Originating from the foothills of the Himalayas, it has found a second home in Gambia’s fertile soil. Its popularity in the country has grown rapidly, primarily attributed to its extraordinary nutritional value and minimal maintenance requirements. A fast-growing deciduous tree, it can reach heights of up to 10 meters, boasting feathery green leaves and fragrant white flowers. Every part of the tree, including the leaves, seeds, bark, and roots, holds incredible potential.
Delicious Revitalising Moringa Tea
One of the most captivating aspects of this green miracle is its exceptional nutritional composition. Bursting with essential vitamins and minerals, Moringa leaves are a true superfood. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium, they have become an invaluable source of nourishment for the people of Gambia. These leaves offer more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, and more iron than spinach, making them an ideal dietary supplement.
Health Benefits and Traditional Medicine
Beyond its nutritional prowess, it possesses a myriad of health benefits. In traditional medicine practices, the leaves, seeds, and roots are used to treat various ailments.
Moringa leaves have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, aiding in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Moreover, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of Moringa play a vital role in combating common infections and promoting overall immune health.
In addition to its medicinal attributes, Moringa has found its way into the kitchens of Gambia, enhancing traditional dishes with its unique flavour. The young leaves, tender pods, and flowers of the Moringa tree are incorporated into soups, stews, salads, and stir-fries, adding a delightful, earthy taste to the local culinary repertoire.
Moringa powder, derived from dried and ground leaves, is also used as a spice or supplement, infusing a pleasant nutty undertone into various dishes.
The growing demand for Moringa products has led to the emergence of sustainable businesses and livelihoods across Gambia. Local farmers, particularly women, have embraced Moringa cultivation, establishing small-scale enterprises that contribute to their economic empowerment. By participating in the Moringa value chain, farmers can access domestic and international markets, generating income while simultaneously promoting the health and well-being of their communities.
Beyond its nutritive and economic benefits, Moringa plays a vital role in sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation. The tree’s deep root system helps prevents erosion, stabilizes soil, and enhances water conservation.
Additionally, Moringa acts as a living fence, protecting crops from grazing animals and providing shade for delicate plants. By integrating Moringa within agroforestry systems, farmers can unlock its full potential while fostering ecological balance.
To Sum Up
As the “Green Wonder” of Gambia, it continues to weave its way into every aspect of life, promoting health, nutrition, and economic well-being. From its incredible nutritional content to its diverse applications in traditional medicine and culinary delights, this tree truly represents a sustainable solution for the people of Gambia.
As Moringa continues to flourish, it reminds us of the enduring connection between nature’s bounties and human prosperity. We sell a range of Moringa products in our shop ranging from hand-made soaps and oil to teas. Just ask at reception!