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    Posted June 1, 2014 by
    kano, Nigeria
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    MORINGA: West African 'Miracle Tree' Offers Nutritional Benefits

    DAKAR, Senegal: An ecumenical relief agency is cultivating
    a West African "miracle tree" that could be a nutritional
    dream come true in nations devastated by the HIV/AIDS
    pandemic, widespread poverty and resulting malnutrition.
    Pioneering research by Church World Service, the relief
    ministry of the U.S. National Council of Churches, in
    cooperation with the Senegalese organization Alternative
    Action for African Development, has documented the
    moringa tree's value as a local, sustainable solution to
    malnutrition, especially among infants, children and
    In Africa, a continent particularly hard hit by HIV/AIDS, the
    organization has planted a million of the fast-growing,
    drought-resistant trees, which have the potential of building
    immune systems, an important consideration in treating
    Lowell Fuglie and his wife, Caroline, help tend the patch on
    what was once an arid patch of land north of Dakar.
    Fuglie's work as head of Church World Service's West
    Africa regional office involves promoting the use of the
    moringa's edible leaves and pods, which have twice the
    calcium as milk, as a nutritional supplement for
    The moringa tree, also rich in iron and potassium, flourishes
    in tropical settings, and produces so many useful vitamins
    that many call it "the miracle tree." With four times the
    amount of vitamin A in carrots, the moringa helps prevent
    blindness, Fuglie says. "In the Third World, there are
    hundreds — thousands — of people who go blind every year
    for lack of vitamin A."
    Also called "the miracle tree", the moringa has many uses
    for the people of Africa. The leaves, leaf powder, pods,
    seeds, flowers, roots and bark of the drought-resistant
    moringa are edible, even palatable. Parts of the tree can
    also be used for animal feed, domestic cleansers, perfume,
    dye, fertilizer, medicine, water clarification, rope fiber, and
    as an agent for tanning hides. "It is miraculous that one
    single tree can offer so many uses for people," Fuglie says.
    The moringa tree comes into full leaf at the end of the dry
    season, precisely when other foods are the scarcest.
    Moringa leaf powder conserves well, is easy to use in many
    recipes and helps purify contaminated water by settling the
    particulate matter.
    As a result of the agency's pioneering moringa research, the
    government of Senegal is promoting moringa as part of the
    national diet. Health workers and representatives of other
    community and local non-governmental organizations in
    areas of the most severe malnutrition are being trained in
    its benefits.
    The organization has promoted similar projects in Burkina
    Faso, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Niger, where
    mothers, children, and other members of various
    communities are benefiting from eating the leaves, seeds
    and pods of the moringa tree.
    Church World Service is supported by 36 U.S.
    denominations, including The United Methodist Church. It is
    an ecumenical partner of the United Methodist Committee
    on Relief (UMCOR).
    The United Methodist Church has been responding to the
    AIDS crisis since the early 1980s through its agency, the
    General Board of Global Ministries and other church
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