MALUNGGAY, Horseradish tree; moringa oleifera

MALUNGGAY, Horseradish tree; moringa oleifera

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Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan says malunggay is the “best vegetable in the whole wide world”. Others refer to it as a “miracle plant”, with parts that can be used in several ways.

“Malunggay Queen” Founder Bernie Arellano of Moringaling Philippine Foundation (MPFI) says that malunggay nourishes the body with its powerful calcium, iron, vitamins, amino acids, omega oils, and antioxidants. As a condiment to dishes of chicken or mung beans when cooked, add malunggay leaves and turn off the fire immediately. Matured pods with its white parts are included in dishes like pinakbet or dinengdeng. Malunggay flowers are also eaten raw in salads.

Tessie Marcos, a radio host in Kamusta Kabayan in Guam use malunggay leaves for tea, tinola, omelet and spaghetti sauce.

Fresh malunggay leaves are added to soups such as clams with ginger to help increase milk in nursing mothers. Daughter Tricia when she gave birth followed this and when she moved to Guam, she brought malunggay capsules with her. Malunggay pills and drinks are now readily available in many drug stores and supermarkets.  

 Propagation and care

Malunggay is propagated by cuttings of branch, planted directly on ground or in a pot or from seed germination. It grows in any well-drained soil and under direct sun. Bernie says the malunggay cuttings has an “attitude” problem when newly propagated – they don’t want to be touched or moved until fully established.