Haldi did it, now it’s the turn of Drumstick, called Moringa in Tamil and currently the rage across the globe, the new super food. In our country, however, it has the ‘poor man’s food’ tag. The rich are popping moringa tabs or powder post a run, but don’t even know that it’s the same drumstick that they remove from their sambar while eating idli.
Indian tribals have used it for centuries as a tree that gives shade in summers, is resilient through the drought and can work as a quick antiseptic or even as a lactation medicine when required. The urban elite, however, scan websites or read fashion magazines instead of looking at nature or natives to learn the art of mental or physical well-being. Magazine websites are hugely inspired by the West, who in turn are looking at tribals of South America, Africa and Asia to fish for the next weight-loss aid. Back it with adequate research, often funded by food and pharma industries, throw in celeb backing and nifty packaging—the novel food is now ready to be sold and consumed. Even in the land it belongs to. But this time as a blood sugar regulator, with anti-oxidant-rich, anti-ageing compounds and minerals that help prevent bone and joint disorders.
The need of the hour is for big campaigns like #MakeinIndia to showcase native fruits, plants and trees and educate the masses about their benefits. For a diabetic country like us, the drumstick that goes in sambar, its flowers that blend in an adai or thalipeeth, or the work that the tree does in preserving groundwater should not go unnoticed. And it is nothing short of irony if we learn about this from western media.
Rujuta’s new book is Indian Superfoods