Drumsticks are an effective weapon against malnutrition, say experts

Woman and Child Welfare Department has begun the initiative to combat malnourishment through moringa plant at district level wherein every house in the district having a severely malnourished child would be provided with a moringa tree to be planted at its doorstep

Chandrakant MishraChandrakant Mishra   4 Sep 2019 11:27 AM GMT

Drumsticks are an effective weapon against malnutrition, say experts

Who would have thought Moringa, found primarily in the rural region, would be used as an effective weapon against malnutrition? Commonly known as sahjan, munga and drumstick, its leaves, stems, roots and resins are all useful.

Moringa's leaves are high in vitamins, calcium and phosphorus. Now severely malnourished children will benefit from moringa leaves. In Uttar Pradesh, the Woman and Child Welfare Department is planting moringa trees. The houses wherein reside severely malnourished children are provided amply with moringa trees. Similar schemes are being executed in Madhya Pradesh as well.

Woman and Child Welfare Department has begun the initiative to combat malnourishment through moringa plant at the district level wherein every house in the district having a severely malnourished child would be provided with a moringa tree to be planted at its doorstep. Anganwadi workers shall supervise the planting of the tree.

Numerous researches have proven the effectiveness of moringa against deadly diseases like cancer. Moringa has several types of anti-cancer compounds including Kaempferol, rhamnetin, iso-Quercetin etc. Backed by the modern sciences many ongoing researches are engaged in the deep study of the anti-cancer properties of moringa.


Herbal expert Deepak Acharya said: "Popularly known as drumsticks in English, this plant's pods are an important part of the south Indian dishes. It is believed that when cooked with other vegetables and lentils they improve their taste and add their medicinal quality to benefit the health."

He added: "Moringa is called munga in Central India. This tree found in African and Asian countries has edible pods, leaves, flowers, roots and even bark used in cooking, but people also used them for medicinal purposes."

The State Nutrition Mission's 2018 report estimated the number of malnourished children in Uttar Pradesh to be well above 50 lakh with Azamgarh having the highest number. Shahjahanpur had the second-highest number of malnourished kids.

As per the statistics and analysis of National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS 4), only 1 child out 10 in India gets adequate nutrition between 6-24 months of age due to which 35.7% of kids below 5 years of age weigh below normal. At the same time, UNICEF suggests that breastfeeding for the first year of birth can prevent about 20% of deaths among children aged below five years.


Gorakhpur's District Program Officer (DPO) Hemant Kumar Singh said: "Not only Moringa pods but also the leaves of the tree are abundant in nutritive components. They have all the nutritive elements found in fruits such as apple, banana or orange. Becoming aware of the medicinal properties of the moringa tree, farmers from several states have taken to its cultivation.

Parents of severely malnourished children can feed them ground moringa leaves mixed with a nutritious meal. This will alleviate the condition of malnutrition. NGO Seva Marg's expert, HK Sharma had trained the CDPOs from the entire district in the nutritional aspect of moringa, only a couple of days ago."

Moringa's pods can also be used for water purification as it has nine unique amino-acids, 27 different vitamins, about 46 antioxidants besides numerous minerals. It is interesting to note that Gond and Bharia tribes in Kareyam village of Patalkot, put pods of moringa and few basil leaves in their drinking water in order to purify it. After 2-3 hours they sieve the topwater so gathered and use it for the drinking purpose.

Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute's gynaecologist, Dr Neetu told Gaon Connection: "Moringa is replete with vitamins. Besides this, it has other vital nutritive components. Moringa pods or leaves can be used to curb malnutrition. Pregnant women can benefit immensely from including it in their diet. Besides malnutrition moringa also helps combat environmental issues."

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