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Nigerian Investors Eye Profits From Antioxidant Moringa Herb

posted 25 Sept 2013, 12:50 by Mpelembe   [ updated 25 Sept 2013, 12:51 ]

Nigerian entrepreneurs make good profits from herb-based moringa teas and other moringa products. The super food nutritional supplement contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants, the tiny leaves of this plant can help restore internal imbalances through daily use.

OGUN STATE, NIGERIA  (REUTERS) - About 90 kilometres north of Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, workers are busy harvesting moringa leaves for processing, at the Natural Nutrients Limitedfarm in Nigeria's Ogun, State.

The farm is one of many that recently started growing moringa trees in the country.

Entrepreneurs are taking advantage to make good profits from cultivating and processing Moringa plants for sale.

Considered one of the most complete, nutrient rich plants on earth, Moringa leaves are abundant in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B1, B3, B12,iron, magnesium, potassium, amino acids, and polyphenols.

Adeniyi Sholabunmi, the chief executive of Natural Nutrients Limited started his business two years ago and says his Moringa products can hardly meet demand in the country.

Sholabunmi said he ventured into the business to fully exploit the multiple uses of the moringa plant and grow his business. He makes about 1,800 dollars every month.

His company employs about twenty five workers and he is working on plans to expand further.

Herbal experts say there are 13 species of the plant which range from tiny herbs to massive trees, but the most commonly cultivated one is the Moringa Oleifera.

All the species have been found to have multiple medicinal value.

Also known as the "tree of life", there is no part of the Moringa plant that goes to waste, everything from the pods, fruits, flowers, leaves and the bark have medicinal value.

Sholabunmi manufactures, powder, oil, hair cream, body cream and tea bags from the plant.

Ojulade Kolawole, a bio-technologist a bio technologist at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, has carried out over five studies on the Moringa plant and says the results have been encouraging.

Kolawole added that his latest findings could mark a possible breakthrough in the cure of diabetes.

"We observed that most Africans, most of our foods are carbohydrates, and these carbohydrates have caused a lot of negative effects on African people, and we tried to use Moringa, whether Moringa has a little bit effect, and we were able to compare that the Moringa plant, particularly the leaf extract, the leaf extract has the ability to reduce the hypo-glycaemic effect in diabetic rats," he said.

Retailers have also set up shop in the city hoping to cash in on sales of moringa products that have become increasingly popular in the city.

Benita Igbo, a Lagos resident, usually comes to this shop to buy her moringa supplies. She says she uses the products to stay healthy and prevent disease.

"Sometime ago I was sick, so I went to a hospital, I was treated malaria and typhoid but it seems that the fever still continued so a friend of mine introduced Moringa to me, so I used it and since then I used Moringa, I don't feel any malaria or typhoid again," she said.

Apart from being the most nutritious plant on earth, studies indicate that moringa seeds can also be used in bio-diesel production.