Moringa oleifera L.


Common names
English (drumstick, moringa); Arabic (rawag); Bengali (sujina); Swahili (mronge); Tamil (murunga), Urdu (sahjnao); Vietnamese (chùm ngây)
Leaves, pods, flowers and seeds
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Tree info

Dimensions in meters 10-12 m
Maturity of tree before yields 6-8 months (first harvest) 3-4 years (full yield)
Productivity lifetime 30-40 years
Seasonality Its leaves can be harvested every two months, on average. The drumstick bean-pod harvests vary by latitude. For example, in northern India, the pod is typically harvested once per year while in southern India, fruiting occurs between July–September and April–May.
Production zones and cultivation methods The drumstick tree is fast-growing. In just six months, it can reach 5 m in height. It is drought-resistant and does well in a range of climates including tropical, sub-tropical and semi-arid.

Because of its spreading leaf canopy, M. oleifera is useful in intercropping agroforestry systems where trees are needed to provide shade. They can be cultivated from either seeds or cuttings in well-drained sandy or loam soil with a neutral pH level.


Per 100 g edible portion (EP)

Leaves (raw) Pods (raw)
Energy 80 kcal 40 kcal
% Daily Value (DV) * % Daily Value (DV) *
Macronutrients Protein:  8.1 g 16 Protein:  2.4 g 5
Fats: 1.4 g 2 Fats: 40.2 g 0.3
Carbohydrates: 6.1 g 2 Carbohydrates: 4.7 g 2
Key minerals Calcium: 311 mg 25 Magnesium: 42 mg 10
Iron: 4.3 mg 24 Potassium: 440 mg 9
Magnesium: 70 mg 17 Zinc: 0.38 mg 3
Key vitamins Retinol activity equivalents
(Vitamin A): 1100 mcg
122 Ascorbic acid
(Vitamin C): 106 mg
Ascorbic acid
(Vitamin C): 80 mg
89 Folate
(Vitamin B9): 53 mcg
(Vitamin B2): 0.18 mg
(Vitamin B2): 0.07 mg
(Vitamin B1): 0.03mg
(Vitamin B3): 1.9 mg

*All Daily Recommended Values are calculated using the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s recommendation guide.


India is the largest producer of drumstick, but the species also grows in other parts of Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean, northern countries of South America and Oceania.


Drumstick pods are eaten as a vegetable and are either cooked or pickled. In parts of Africa, the pods are used in savoury sauces while in Southeast Asia they are most often added to curries. The leaves can be used as an alternative for spinach and cooked in soups. Its flowers are also edible.

In agroforestry systems, M. oleifera L.  can play a vital role in soil and water conservation due to its high drought-tolerance and wide-spread canopy, which shades the soil. Drumstick’s fast growth and adaptability to different climates may also aid in landscape restoration.

The incredible nutrient density of drumstick pods and leaves offer a valuable food source to developing communities that could reduce malnutrition. In addition, the plant’s rising popularity as a nutritional supplement could spark new value chains centred on the species and generate more income for smallholders. Already, Indian smallholders who intercrop with drumstick have been shown to be better off financially than their neighbours who practice monocropping.

In addition to food and medicine, every part of the plant has some use. The seeds contain up to 40 percent oil, which is used for cooking, hair and skincare products. When crushed, the seed releases extracts that have been shown to help purify water through the mechanism of flocculation; these protein-based extracts are also promising anti-microbial agents. Both the leaves and pods can also be used to produce bio-gas, while the stem contains a gum that is used to tan leather and print calico.

M. oleifera is sometimes referred to as a “miracle tree” for its health benefits. The plant is very rich in healthy antioxidants and other chemical compounds that promote good health. For these reasons, it has been used in traditional medicine throughout Southeast Asia for thousands of years. Recently, it has become a popular in Western markets. Consuming the powdered leaves has been shown to have some effect in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol in rabbits. Extracts of the plant may also help to treat asthma, diabetes, athlete’s foot fungus and menopause symptoms. However, only a fraction of the many reputed benefits from the plant have been scientifically studied

Scientific references

  • Devkota, S., & Bhusal, K. K. (2020). Moringa oleifera: A miracle multipurpose tree for agroforestry and climate change mitigation from the Himalayas – A review. Cogent Food & Agriculture6(1), 1805951.

  • Devkota, S., & Bhusal, K. K. (2020). Parrotta, John. (2014). Moringa oleifera. Cogent Food & Agriculture6(1), 1805951.

  • Delelegn, A., Sahile, S., & Husen, A. (2018). Water purification and antibacterial efficacy of Moringa olifera Lam. Agriculture & Food security, 7(1).

  • Mehta, K., Balaraman, R., Amin, A. H., Bafna, P. A., & Gulati, O. D. (2003). Effect of fruits of Moringa oleifera on the lipid profile of normal and hypercholesterolaemic rabbits. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 86(2-3), 191–195.

  • Melo, V., Vargas, N., Quirino, T., & Calvo, C. (2013, June 24). Moringa olifera L.: an underutilized tree with macronutrients for human health. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture25(10), 785-789.

  • Moulin, M., Mossou, E., Signor, L., Kieffer-Jaquinod, S., Kwaambwa, H. M., Nermark, F., Gutfreund, P., Mitchell, E. P., Haertlein, M., Forsyth, V. T., & Rennie, A. R. (2019). Towards a molecular understanding of the water purification properties of Moringa seed proteins. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 86(2-3), 296–304. PubMed.

  • Taslim, Irawan, F., & Iriany. (2020). Moringa leaves (Moringa Oleifera) potential as green catalyst for biodiesel production. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering1003, 012128.


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