Contribution of Moringa (Moringa stenopetala, Bac.), a Highly Nutritious Vegetable Tree, for Food Security in South Ethiopia: A Review
Abstract, Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 2011
The objective of this study was to review the biology and economic value of Moringa tree, miracle tree of hope and generate technical information for people working in universities, agricultural research and development and health institutions. Moringa stenopetala (syn. Donaldsonia stenopetala Bak.f., M. streptocarpa Chiov., M. peregrina Sensu Dale and Verdcourt), is endemic to eastern Africa. Although the species is reported in Djibouti, Uganda and the Sudan, its abundance and indigenous use is mainly confined to southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. According to the Flora of Ethiopia, the species occurs in Ethiopia in Gamo-Gofa, Konso, Bale, Kaffa, Borena, Dherashe, Burji, Amaro and Sidama, between 500 and 1800 m.a.s.l. within the low to medium high land agro-climate. It prefers sandy, well-drained soils where the ground water level is high. It also withstands dry conditions thus it is equally well distributed in both wetlands and dry areas. Moringa has many uses: the Turkana make an infusion of Moringa leaves as a remedy for leprosy, besides using it as feed for their livestock. The Njemps, a tribe related to the Maasai, chew the bark as a treatment against coughs and use the bark extracts to flavor soups. Nomadic peoples in the Omo valley of South Omo Zone use Moringa root concoction to purify clay flood water (M. stenopetala roots have the properties of flocculating aqueous clay). In the Gamo Gofa (GG), Dherashe and Konso(Kon) districts, the smoke liberated from burning Moringa is used as a treatment for epilepsy (Yuputa, Kon) and malaria (Shekeriya, GG). Besides its medicinal value to various diseases, M.stenopetala tree is recognized nutritious food source for food in secured people in East Africa.