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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Murunga - our very own vegetable in Sri Lanka - a PERFECT SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS



  1. Dear Sriani,
    Thank you very much for the excellent video. I came to know about it's value more than 15 years ago. I wrote letter to Tara de Mel (when she was Secretary ,Higher Education) enclosing a scientific article about the nutritional value of Moringa (Murunga!) and advising her to issue a circular to schools requesting them to plant Moringa stalks in the school fences, so that school children would be able to propagate it in their homes. However it has just one drawback; it attracts catterpillars

    Sanath Lamabadusuriya

  2. Sanath, I fully agree with you about Murunga attracting caterpillars (dalambuwos). I had to cut down 2 trees, as the entire bark was covered with these creatures, who used to swing to and fro, and somehow get on to my skin with disastrous results.
    Sriani Basnayake

  3. Thanks very much Sriani. From time to time, we get bombarded with information on all sorts of natural cures, usually extolling the "natural" aspect of these herbs and fruits. While I don't dismiss them summarily, I always like to see the evidence for the claims made. Moringa seems a subject on which a lot of research has been done, but as expected, with a wide variation in scientific acceptability.One of the articles I read includes this cautionary message - "While much of this recent enthusiasm indeed appears to be justified, it is critical to separate rigorous scientific evidence from anecdote". The full messgae is this- Moringa oleifera, or the horseradish tree, is a pan-tropical species that is known by such regional names as benzolive,
    drumstick tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, mulangay, nébéday, saijhan, and sajna. Over the past two decades, many
    reports have appeared in mainstream scientific journals describing its nutritional and medicinal properties. Its utility
    as a non-food product has also been extensively described, but will not be discussed herein, (e.g. lumber, charcoal,
    fencing, water clarification, lubricating oil). As with many reports of the nutritional or medicinal value of a natural
    product, there are an alarming number of purveyors of “healthful” food who are now promoting M. oleifera as a
    panacea. While much of this recent enthusiasm indeed appears to be justified, it is critical to separate rigorous
    scientific evidence from anecdote. Those who charge a premium for products containing Moringa spp. must be held
    to a high standard. Those who promote the cultivation and use of Moringa spp. in regions where hope is in short
    supply must be provided with the best available evidence, so as not to raise false hopes and to encourage the most
    fruitful use of scarce research capital. It is the purpose of this series of brief reviews to: (a) critically evaluate the
    published scientific evidence on M. oleifera, (b) highlight claims from the traditional and tribal medicinal lore and
    from non-peer reviewed sources that would benefit from further, rigorous scientific evaluation, and (c) suggest
    directions for future clinical research that could be carried out by local investigators in developing regions. Ref:Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical
    Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and
    Prophylactic Properties. Part 1.
    Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D.
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Lewis B. and Dorothy
    Cullman Cancer Chemoprotection Center, 725 N. Wolfe Street, 406 WBSB, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21205-2185 .

    While I am sure that many hers and vegetables have undiscovered potential, it is always good to see claims being backed by good scientific evidence.
    Here is another reasonably good article. Therapeutic Potential of Moringa oleifera Leaves in Chronic - NCBI › NCBI › Literature › PubMed Central (PMC)

    I am not rubbishing Moringa, just a bit cautious!

    1. I have a cynical disregard for Internet claims and to a lesser extent for research. The latter is the better of the two to believe if done cautiously. The contradictions of modern research makes one wonder whom to believe. Are butter and eggs good for you.? Everything to a moderation makes sense.

  4. Sriani
    Thank you for the link. I love moringa as a white curry and its flowers cooked as my mother used to do, fried. Those luxuries are now a distant memory. I miss them now living so far away. As a radiologist living in shadows I know so little of the wonders of Moringa but hope it will relieve the APR, the scourge of our age, if nothing else. I wish you would give us the pleasure of reading some of your humorous writing as you have done most elegantly in the past.

  5. Sriani,
    Crab curry cooked with Murunga leaves- truly yummy.

  6. I planted a Murunga tree in my garden mainly for having a ready supply of leaves for crab and prawn curries. Folklore has it that crabs and prawns are ?? "heaty", and murunga leaves are supposed to counteract the "giniyama" of the crabs etc.
    My writings have been put on hold, for at present I am busy attending computer and IT classes for over 70 yr olds, to enable them to keep up with their children and grandchildren!!! I am also attending yoga classes for over 70s, as the old bones are getting creaky, and I can't sit cross legged for more than 5 mins! I feel I have "graduated" to a higher plane now that I can discuss "Aps" & "pinterest", with my daughter and son in law, and have free Viber chats with nephews and nieces living in far corners of the earth. The yoga classes have almost succeeded in banishing all traces of APR, and I can't say I'm bouncing back to good health, but "crawling back" would be more appropriate.
    Sriani Basnayake

  7. Wonderful to see Sraini's adventurous and positive approach. I wish more of us would follow. As for me, I have just completed my F1 Grandprix training and I am looking forward to commencing my Airbus 380 training. These will be a doddle after my Ju JItsu training!