Moringa oleifera

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Moringa oleifera Lam.

alt=Description of Flowers of Moringa oleifera (Drumstick tree).jpg picture.
flowers and leaves
Order Brassicales
Family Moringaceae
Genus Moringa

2n = 28

Origin : south of Himalaya


English {{{english}}}
French {{{french}}}


Popular names

  • English: horseradish tree, drumstick tree, behen tree
  • French: mouroungue (Mascarene islands); néverdié (western Africa); ben ailé, raifort en arbre
  • Spanish: moringa, ben, paraíso
  • Portuguese: moringa, moringueiro
  • Italian: moringa
  • Hindi: saṁjhnā (saonjana); mungna, sainjna, shajna (Wealth of India)
  • Bengali: sajina (Wealth of India)
  • Marathi: achajhada, shevgi (Wealth of India)
  • Gujerati: midhosaragavo, saragavo (Wealth of India)
  • Telugu: mulaga, munaga (Wealth of India)
  • Malayalam: moringa, murinna, sigru (Wealth of India)
  • Tamil: murungai (Wealth of India)
  • Kannada: nugge (Wealth of India)
  • Konkani: maxing
  • Assam: saijna, sohjna (Wealth of India)
  • Orissa: sajina (Wealth of India)
  • Punjab: sainjna, soanjna (Wealth of India)
  • Santal: munga arak (Wealth of India)
  • Swahili: mzunze, mronge, mlonge (PROTA)


Moringa oleifera Lam. (1783)


  • Guilandina moringa L. (1753)
  • Moringa pterygosperma Gaertn. (1791)



Blanco, 1880-1883, Flora de Filipinas

Originating from north-western India, Moringa oleifera has been cultivated for long. It bears several Sanscrit names, ṡigru, ṡobhānaka or ṡobhāñjana, which is the origin of the Hindi name saṁjhnā (saonjana). Europeans often confused it with Egyptian ben, the oil of which was traded in Europe during the Middle-Ages. Portuguese explorers discovered it in Goa, and called it moxingo (from Konkani maxing) or more often moringa (from Malayalam moringa, murinna), hence the scientific name. The tree was introduced to the Mascarene islands by Tamil people, hence the name mouroungue, borrowed from Tamil murungai. Nowadays, Moringa oleifera is largely grown in private gardens in Asia, tropical Africa and even the Carribean.

Trees are often odd-looking, as they are constantly pruned for use.




  • Called ‘drumsticks’ or ‘bâtons mouroungue’. Young green fruits used as a vegetable in southern Asia.


  • Seeds eaten fried, or added to sauces.
  • Seed oil used as cooking oil.


  • Eaten raw as a salad, or cooked in soups or sauces. In la Réunion, they are called ‘brède mouroungue’ or ‘brède médaille’.
  • Leaf powder promoted in Africa as a protein-rich ingredient.


Flowers ready to be cooked
  • eaten as a vegetable, in sauces or in a tea.


  • Grated roots are a substitute of horseradish.


"Almost all parts have traditional medicinal applications. Especially the uses as an anodyne, anthelmintic, antispasmodic and disinfectant (bactericidal, fungicidal) are widespread." (PROTA)


  • Leaves eaten by livestock.
  • Flowers visited by bees.

Technical uses

  • pounded seeds and seed cake used as a flocculant to purify water.
  • Seed oil used as a lubricant, for perfumes, to make soap.
  • Gum from the bark used for tanning.
  • Wood used for fuel.


  • tree grown as a living fence, an ornamental and in alley-cropping.


  • Bennett, R.N., Mellon, F.A., Foidl, N., Pratt, J.H., Dupont, M.S., Perkins, L. & Kroon, P.A., 2003. Profiling glucosinolates and phenolics in vegetative and reproductive tissues of the multi-purpose trees Moringa oleifera L. (Horseradish tree) and Moringa stenopetala L. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(12): 3546–3553.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 p.
  • Wealth of India (The), 1962. A dictionary of Indian raw materials and industrial products. Raw materials. Volume 6: L–M. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India. pp. 426-429.
  • Jahn, S.A.A., 1986. Proper use of African natural coagulants for rural water supplies: Research in the Sudan and a guide for new projects. GTZ, Eschborn, Germany. 541 p.
  • Jahn, S.A.A., Musnad, H.A. & Burgstaller, H., 1986. The tree that purifies water: cultivating multipurpose Moringaceae in the Sudan. Unasylva 152: 23–28.
  • Polprasid, P., 1993. Moringa oleifera Lamk. In: Siemonsma, J.S. & Kasem Piluek (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 213–215.
  • Ramachandran, C., Peter, K.V. & Gopalakrishnan, P.K., 1980. Drumstick (Moringa oleifera): a multipurpose Indian vegetable. Economic Botany, 34: 276–283.
  • Saint-Sauveur, Armelle de, 1993. Le moringa, un arbre à multiples usages pour le Sahel. In: Riedacker, A., Dreyer, E., Pafadnam, C., Joly, H. & Bory, G. (Editors). Physiologie des arbres et arbustes en zones arides et semi-arides. Séminaire Paris-Nancy, 20 mars–6 avril 1990. Libbey, Paris, France. pp. 441–446.