In 2014, after a visit to the Farmer’s Market, Bill Basch of Marco Island brought home Moringa seeds which they propagated. Lou Basch stated they were intrigued by the health benefits of the Moringa Tree (Moringa Oleifera). This started their hobby of growing Moringa trees in their backyard. They now have 50 trees plus seedlings, and it keeps Lou very busy.
According to Lou Basch, Southwest Florida and Marco are ideal locations for growing Moringa trees. Moringa can grow up to 20 feet tall in one month and with the hot, humid and rainy summers, Lou’s backyard is the perfect place for fifty Moringa trees. It may sound like a lot, but Lou harvests them regularly, so she keeps them low and bush-like. One or two trees would be sufficient for a yard to grow Moringa. You can grow them from seeds or propagate them from cuttings.
As her Moringa hobby grew, Lou is often asked about the nutritional benefits of Moringa. She created an informational website so people could find out the simple facts about Moringa. It also lists the various Moringa products offered by Lou, such as Moringa tea, capsules and powders—all 100% natural, grown and processed in Marco Island.
It’s not always convenient to eat fresh Moringa leaves, so Lou Basch started drying the leaves and powdering them. This led her to encapsulate the powder into vegetarian capsules. She can now provide Moringa powder, dried leaves for tea and capsules for sale. She uses powders on salad, soups and sauces. She simmers the fresh or dried leaves for a “green” tea. Moringa products can be found easily in stores, but most are imported from India.
The Moringa tree is a slender, scrawny looking tree with feathery leaves. Moringa is cultivated throughout India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, East Africa and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. According to the Nutritive Value of Indian Foods, a small serving of the moringa’s tiny leaves has seven times the amount of Vitamin C of an orange, four times the calcium of milk and four times the beta-carotene of carrots.
Moringa is also referred to as “The Miracle Tree” or “The Tree of Life,” and in the Philippines’ they call it a “Mother’s Best Friend.” Virtually every part of the moringa tree from leaves, pods that look like a string bean, to its bark and roots are edible and packed with nutrients.
Moringa was part of the author’s vegetable diet growing up. The seed pods tasted like green beans only sweeter. The fresh moringa shoots were added to stews, salads or soups and had a pleasant nutty earthy taste just like spinach or kale.
Moringa has been called a superfood by some experts for its high content in protein, low in fat, gluten-free, loaded with omega-3s, high in heart-healthy antioxidants and for its ability to grow fast in harsh climates.
For those new to Moringa, Lou recommends starting off slowly and after consulting with your health care provider. Lou has been taking Moringa supplements regularly for the last 2 years; she feels healthier and has more energy. Her Moringa supplements are all 100% natural.