The moringa tree Moringa oleifera is an amazing tree that grows very well in Africa. It is a fast-growing, hardy pioneer tree that grows well in degraded soil, and it is also a legume – meaning it fixes nitrogen into the soil from gas it captures in the air. This means it is a fertilizer tree and an excellent companion for other plants growing nearby,as they benefit from the nitrogen.
As well as this, almost every part of the moringa tree can be used as a powerful food or medicine: the leaves, the flowers, the fruits and the seeds (and oil made from the seeds). We use the leaf and oil in our food and nutrition program to help with malnutrition, particularly in kids. You can find out more information on the marvelous moringa tree by clicking on these links:
Ghana Permaculture Network have been using moringa on their farms and projects a lot, as a key component of self-fertile growing systems such as the alley cropping system you can read about elsewhere on this site.
The moringa soap and creams are very good for treating skin complaints, and are very popular amongst local people because of this. We are currently getting the products analysed by independent laboratories so we can prove what active ingredients it has and that it is safe and beneficial and can be sold in herbal stores and drugstores across Ghana.
Here is a video of a women from one of our microfinance groups recommending the soap and telling us how it helped a friend of hers to cure her skin problem.
To make the soap, first of all the fresh leaves are removed from the twigs and branches. Then they are minced and juiced and the sieved liquid is mixed in melted coconut butter. Then a caustic soda solution is added to the mixture to help the soap set. The mixture is then poured into moulds and allowed to set. A truly healthy, natural soap.
Here Janet shows us the whole process of how it is made.
We have been teaching groups across Ghana how to make these products and helping them to set up small businesses supplying this medicinal soap to their local communities. In many areas we combine moringa soap training with the microfinance project – see the other section of this website – teaching them soapmaking and then giving them the funding to start their own small businesses.
A UK soap and natural cosmetics company called Lush has been supporting the project. Here is a video of when they came to visit us and we went to visit a small soap making business. This business was started with money from our microfinance project that you can read about here.
We support people with permaculture training to regenerate their land, learning how to grow food in sustainable alley cropping systems using moringa, and then we teach them how to make soaps and creams from moringa, and finally give business training and loans to start small business, some of which are selling the moringa soap.
In this way we cover all aspects of sustainability: ecological, social and economic.
Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Shares for all.