Malunggay: The Wonder Plant

A woman who just gave birth is fed tinola with malunggay to help boost her milk supply. Local bakeries have their own version of malunggay pandesal instead of the traditional pandesal to help increase nutrients that children and adults take when eating this staple breakfast in most Filipino homes.

Nowadays, malunggayoil in the Philippines is becoming increasingly popular because of its numerous properties — not just for health reasons, but also for aesthetic ones. But what is malunggay, really? Find out more about this wonder plant here:

What is Malunggay?

Malunggay, with a scientific name of Moringa Oleifera and is known as horse-radish tree in English, is a small tree with huge nutritional properties. It grows almost anywhere in the Philippines and can be found even in the sidewalks. As malunggay easily grows in various places, it even thrives in a country often hit with severe tropical storms and roasted by really hot summers. The whole tree, from the leaves and stems to the pods, are edible which makes it a common ingredient in Filipino viands.

According to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, malunggay leaves itself contains protein, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, beta-carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. In fact, it has more Vitamin C content than citrus fruits and can provide the body more calcium than a glass of milk. It also has more Vitamin A than carrots and is a source of potassium. In fact, malunggay has more potassium than bananas.

As it is easily available (and not to mention cheap), malunggay is slowly growing to be a wonder vegetable that more households are starting to consume it regularly.

What are the health benefits of Malunggay?

Malunggay leaves

Increased milk suppliers for breastfeeding moms is a widely known benefit of malunggay because of the calcium it possesses. But, because it is generally loaded with nutrients and minerals, malunggay is a vegetable that is also known to help combat malnutrition.

A cup of malunggay served for lunch or dinner can help not just the children, but adults alike to get the nutrients that they need. It is also known to contain a lot of anti-oxidants so it does not just help strengthen the immune system, but also help cleanse the body of unwanted toxins. People who have high levels of cholesterol also turn to malunggay. Lower cholesterol, after all, means a lower risk of heart disease.

Aside from health reasons, malunggay is now used for aesthetic purposes. Malunggay oil mixed with other important ingredients, like sunflower and olive oil, are used in the skin. As it is an antioxidant, it helps fight and prevent pimples while giving the skin a natural glow. It also moisturizes the skin to help prevent aging and wrinkles. Malunggay oil can also be used in the hair, helping you have a soft, naturally shiny, and dandruff-free hair with regular use.

Malunggay is truly a wonder plant that more people should know about. Not only is it easily accessible, but its natural benefits to the human body is something that Filipinos should learn to utilize.

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