Moringa: Nature’s Miracle Tree
By: Carolina Ramirez Herrera
At Habitas, we believe in leaning into the power and versatility of our natural surroundings and ingredients for our wellness practices. In AlUla, we’ve discovered that there is no ingredient more versatile than the moringa tree. At Habitas AlUla, our wellness combines Middle Eastern techniques, such as the application of the moringa oil, and ancestral practices intended for generating well-being.
Marzouq, head of a family-owned farm here in Alula, has been growing moringa for generations past, a tree that inexplicably thrives in the desert environment. From roots to leaves to seeds, moringa has been praised as an all-around wonder oil and readily known as one of the region’s magical gifts, bringing numerous health benefits. “It’s a tree that tolerates drought so well that it’s described as the tree that does not die- it usually grows in the mountains on the rocks without water. But here in Alula, is where it really thrives and flourishes.” says Marzouq.
Studies have shown the oil is rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, which soothe and protect the skin. The antioxidants act as natural preservatives and the seeds of the moringa tree are also high in oleic acid. It is nutrient dense, containing high doses of vitamin A and C as well. Additionally, it has shown to provide sun protection, much like nature’s SPF. “The oil is used for both cooking and for making cosmetics because it is so rich in nutrients. Even if you mix moringa with sheep feed they produce more milk.” says Marzouq with a strong sense of pride.
In the kitchen, it is often compared to argan and olive oil as the seeds themselves contain the majority of the oil. “We speak about this tree in both economic terms and in an endearing language – we planted around 1,800 in the village of Fadhala and started producing creams, lotions, scrubs and seeds. All of our products come from our farm.” says Marzouq proudly. To prepare the moringa oil, dried and matured fruits are collected from the farms and their seeds are separated. Then, the seeds go through a process called decortication in which the outer coat of seeds. The kernels obtained from the process are left to dry and then crushed in a cold press machine to obtain the Moringa Oil. This oil is then filtered and packed to make it ready to use.
From his family to ours, this miracle oil is one of our signature oil blends found at our alchemy bar, mixed in-house by our family. Each oil blend is curated to provide your mind and body for what it needs. Every single part of the moringa tree, including stems, seeds, pods, fruits, bark, and root, has precious medicinal values. Moringa leaves can be dried and powdered to the superfood known as Moringa Powder, while the fruit itself has properties similar to that of matcha, bitter yet slightly sweet and can be cooked as green beans. The seeds can be removed and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts, while the leaves can be cooked like spinach. After oil extraction, the remains can be used as fertilizer as well as purifying well water.
Our signature Thuraya Experience is the perfect marriage for this supernatural oil, which provides analgesic, anti-inflammatory and abundant antioxidants. Stretching, unblocking, drainage and oxygenation for the body are just some of the benefits offered in this therapy.
“We’re very proud and delighted we represent his tree which reflects the identity of alula as a world-class product. The moringa tree is indeed known as the miracle tree it truly deserves the hard work it is given.”
Our spa, Thuraya Wellness, named after a star constellation widely used by bedouins to navigate, is where we come to restore and relax at our home in Alula. Each of our therapies and rituals begins at the Alchemy Bar, where your senses are flooded with a variety of local essential oils, herbal teas and body scrubs, each ingredient unique to the region and personalized for what your mind and body calls for.
At Habitas, we believe that inner peace, mental and physical well being can best happen when the products and more importantly, the people behind them are rooted in love and authenticity.