Did you know that the moringa tree is one of the most useful plants in the world? It can provide high quality nutrition, cooking oil, fuel for light, soap, fertiliser, and even water purification! The even better news is that moringa trees grow well in most African countries. It grows quickly even in dry places. Here, we will focus on how to use moringa seeds to purify water.
Millions of people suffer each year from diseases caused by virus, bacteria, and parasites in dirty water. These virus, bacteria, and parasites are often attached to the dirt and mud in the water. Moringa seeds collect the dirt at the bottom of the container, making it much easier to remove. By removing the dirt, you will remove many of the disease-causing virus, bacteria, and parasites! The steps below show you how to use moringa seeds to purify 10 liters of dirty water.
- Harvest fruit pods from the moringa trees when they are mature (when they have turned brown). For water purification, seeds harvested during the dry season work especially well.
- Crack open the fruit pods and remove the seeds. Each pod may contain 5 to 20 seeds.
It is not necessary for water purification, but you can get even more value from the moringa seeds by removing the oil first. Moringa oil is also known as “ben oil,” and can be used as a nutritious cooking oil, fuel for lights, lubricant, or to make soap. To collect the oil, crush the seeds, put them in some water, and heat it for 10-15 minutes. The oil will float to the surface after some time. Filter the oil through a clean cloth. You can also add a little bit of sage, rosemary, or mint to the oil to help store it.
- Dry the seeds or seed cake (the leftover seed parts after removing the oil) in the sun for 2 to 3 days.
- Remove the outside of the seed, and keep the white or yellowish seed kernel (the inside part of the seed). Do not keep any seeds that are soft or the wrong colour.
- Pound the seed kernels into a fine powder.
- Pass the powder through a mesh or tea strainer, to remove large pieces.
- Put about 2 spoons (about 10 seeds worth) of the powder into a small container, such as a glass bottle with a cap.
- Add a bit of clean water to the powder to make a white-coloured liquid. It is important to prepare this fresh on the day.
- Close the container and shake it well. Then leave it alone for about 10 minutes.
- Stir the 10 liters of dirty water.
Using a clean cloth filter or tea strainer, add the white liquid containing the seed powder from Step 9 through the filter
- and into the dirty water.
- Mix the water well for 30-60 seconds. Then continue mixing slowly for 5 minutes.
- Cover the water and leave it alone for 1 to 2 hours. The dirt will sink to the bottom.
- Once the water looks clear, pour it into another clean container carefully without disturbing the dirty bits on the bottom.
Congratulations! You have just used moringa seeds to purify water. It is important to remember that while moringa seeds will remove many of the disease-causing bacteria, virus, and parasites, it is does not remove 100% of them. If possible, boil the water before drinking it. If boiling water is difficult, try to purify smaller amounts of water more frequently, instead of storing the water for a long time. Remember to store water in closed containers!
Water purification is just one part of practicing hygiene and sanitation for good health. By combining water purification with habits like handwashing and going to the toilet in designated spots away from water sources, you will benefit from better health and nutrition!