By Johanna Montanari – Jul 24,2019

AMMAN — Entrepreneur Arwa Salem Almaqableh said she hopes a regional tree will help her grow her business in Jordan, and eventually “reach the world”.

Her business “Jordanian Moringa” recently took part in the Bint Bladi Expo, a four-day exhibition held in Amman to support entrepreneurial Jordanian women. Women from across the Kingdom showcased their products free-of-charge at the event.

Almaqableh works with seven other women on products that contain different parts of the Jordan-grown moringa tree. The tree is fast-growing and drought-resistant.

Moringa is a “superfood”, which means it is extremely rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, according to clinical dietician Majd Alkhatib. The whole plant can be used from its fruits to its leaves to the plant’s roots. The leaves are commonly dried and used or crushed into a powder.

Almaqableh was the first to make use of moringa in Jordan: “I started to plant moringa in 2015. It was as an experiment.” She worked with the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) to begin planting the tree.

Since moringa is a sun and heat-loving plant, which does not tolerate frost, it is particularly suitable for the warmer regions of Jordan. Her products include whole-wheat bread and Za’atar that contain shredded moringa leaves.

Moringa is said to help with a vast variety of diseases including anemia, cancer, diabetes, heart problems and infections. It is also used to fight malnutrition. “We don’t use it as a medicine, [it’s] not to cure, but to prevent. It protects our bodies from diseases,” Almaqableh told The Jordan Times.

Agronomist Fouad Sari said that the species of moringa planted in Jordan is called Moringa Peregrinea, and originated in Sinai, Egypt. “It is very good for humans, but also for animals that produce milk,” he told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

“Moringa contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges, four times more calcium than milk and three times more potassium than bananas.” Sari has a farm in the Jordan valley and recently started making honey from moringa flowers.

This food is much needed in Jordan, where bad eating habits and a diet high in simple carbohydrates cause health issues for many Jordanians, according to Alkhatib.

“Long working hours in which people eat only snacks or junk food and very minimal physical activity are a problem,” she told The Jordan Times.