Moringa as a Water Purifier

The Moringa oleifera tree has become known as the “Miracle Tree” because of the many benefits that its leaves and seeds provide. Not only do they provide medicinal value but they are also considered a “Superfood” because of their fantastic nutritional attributes.

While these areas garner a good deal of attention, there is another practice where the moringa seeds have been found to be very effective: water purification.
Studies conducted over the past forty years have found that the moringa seeds are highly effective in removing suspended particles from water, especially if the levels of turbidity are medium to high. The studies concluded that moringa seeds are not as effective at treating water with low levels of turbidity.

What makes the moringa seeds so effective is the fact that they act as both a coagulant and an antimicrobial agent. The studies found that proteins in the seeds bind to toxins which create flocs that sink to the bottom enabling filtration of the particles. Continuing research on the antimicrobial characteristics of moringa seeds is also being conducted. It’s believed that moringa seeds directly inhibit the growth of bacteria and toxins in addition to coagulation. The percentage of filtered water with moringa seeds can be as high as 99%!

Moringa seeds offer a natural, safe way to filter water, not only in countries where water filtration is difficult but also in developed countries. Moringa seeds provide a great alternative to the conventional synthetic materials that are common in most water filtration systems.

Here are the steps involved in filtering your water using moringa seeds from Beth Doerr, ECHO Staff with miracletrees.org:

“Solutions of Moringa seeds for water treatment may be prepared from seed kernels or from the solid residue left over after oil extraction (presscake). Moringa seeds, seed kernels or dried presscake can be stored for long periods but Moringa solutions for treating water should be prepared fresh each time. In general, 1 seed kernel will treat 1 liter (1.056 qt) of water.

Dosage Rates:

Low turbidity NTU<50 1 seed per 4 liters (4.225 qt) water Medium turbidity NTU 50-150 1 seed per 2 liters (2.112 qt) water High turbidity NTU 150-250 1 seed per 1 liter (1.056 qt) water Extreme turbidity NTU >250 2 seeds per 1 liter (1.056 qt) water

Instructions to Clean Water with Moringa Seeds

1 Collect mature Moringa oleifera seed pods and remove seeds from pods.
2 Shell seeds (remove seed coat) to obtain clean seed kernels; discard discolored seeds.
3 Determine quantity of kernels needed based on amount and turbidity of water; in general 1 seed kernel will treat 1 liter (1.056 qt) of water.
4 Crush appropriate number of seed kernels (using grinder, mortar & pestle, etc) to obtain a fine powder and sift the powder through a screen or small mesh.
5 Mix seed powder with a small amount of clean water to form a paste.
6 Mix the paste and 250 ml (1 cup) of clean water into a bottle and shake for 1 minute to activate the coagulant properties and form a solution.
7 Filter this solution through a muslin cloth or fine mesh screen (to remove insoluble materials) and into the water to be treated.
8 Stir treated water rapidly for at least 1 minute then slowly (15-20 rotations per minute) for 5-10 minutes.
9 Let the treated water sit without disturbing for at least 1-2 hours.
10 When the particles and contaminates have settled to the bottom, the clean water can be carefully poured off.
11 This clean water can then be filtered or sterilized to make it completely safe for drinking.

Dangers

Secondary Infection: The process of shaking and stirring must be followed closely to activate the coagulant properties; if the flocculation process takes too long, there is a risk of secondary bacteria growth during flocculation.
Recontamination: The process of settling is important. The sediment at the bottom contains the impurities so care must be taken to use only the clear water off the top and not allow the sediment to re-contaminate the cleared water.
Additional contaminants: Moringa treatment does not remove 100% of water pathogens.
It is acceptable for drinking only where people are currently drinking untreated, contaminated water.”

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