Use Moringa Seeds to Clean Dirty or Polluted Water

Livestock and beekeeping

Notes to broadcasters

This script is about using seeds from the moringa tree (Moringa oleifera) to clean dirty water. This process has several steps which must be followed exactly to ensure good results. This script should be broadcast only if you know that the moringa seed method is already being used in your region and that trainers such as health workers are available. In this case, please refer your audience to appropriate trainers and emphasize that the procedure should be supervised the first few times it is used.

Moringa is also known as malanggay, benzolive tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree, and drumstick tree.



Dirty water can kill you!
Or make you very sick.

It’s true.

You probably already know that you can boil your water to make it safe for drinking.

However, boiling water is expensive and not always easy – it uses a lot of fuel.

But there is another way to clean water. Let’s find out about it now.

Listen to Rita and Saba, two women from a small village, as they discuss a method to clean water that is easy to use.

We find them near the pond, hauling water.


: Saba, what is wrong?

(still crying): My youngest girl is sick. She got a skin rash last week. Now she has a cough and a high fever. I’m worried.

: Oh Saba, I’m sorry for your bad news. The problems your daughter has are signs of drinking dirty water. Do you clean your drinking water?

: No, I don’t always clean my drinking water. I don’t have enough wood to boil it. Could that be why my daughter is sick? Is boiling the only way to make water safe?

: Boiling water is the best way to make water safe. But it isn’t always practical. Here’s what I have learned. I use the seeds of the moringa plant to clean my drinking water. When I use moringa seeds the water is clean, and many of the tiny creatures that cause disease are killed.

: Moringa? You mean the tree with the pods we use for a vegetable?

: Yes. Parts of the moringa tree can be used as a vegetable and for medicine. But the seeds can also be used to clean water. I’ll show you how it works. We will take these two large empty glass jars. Let’s go to the pond and fill the jars with water.



Maybe you know the moringa tree. It grows in many places and has many uses.

The idea of using moringa tree seeds to clear water came from the country of Sudan.

Women in Sudan learned to use the seeds to clarify water from the muddy Nile River.

The method works like this.

When added to water, the crushed seeds attract particles of dirt that are floating in the water, including certain disease organisms.

The dirt attaches to the seeds and they fall together to the bottom of the jar.

Then you pour off the good water to drink.

However you must learn to follow all the steps carefully if you are going to clarify water with moringa seeds.

Find someone who can help you – perhaps a health worker will know the method.

There are lots of decisions you’ll have to make – for example, how many seeds to use.

The dirtier the water the more seeds you will need.

After you have the correct number of seeds there are a number of steps including crushing the seeds, adding water to make a paste, shaking, straining, shaking again, and so on.

If you don’t do all the steps you won’t have clean water.

Let’s go back to the pond now. Rita has just finished cleaning a jar of pond water.


: Now we have waited two hours since adding the seeds to the water. Look at the difference!

(gasping): Look at the water! It’s clean. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, it would be difficult to believe!


When you can’t boil dirty, polluted water, use moringa seeds. Using moringa seeds is a good and inexpensive way to clean your water and help prevent sickness in your family.



  • Contributed by: Vijay Cuddeford, writer/researcher, Developing Countries Farm Radio Network. Reviewed by: Vigneswaran Theivendaram, agricultural consultant and former farm manager, Cambridge, Canada.

Information sources

  • “Water purification with moringa seeds,” from Dian Desa, Waterlines, Volume 3, No. 4, April 1985, pages 22-23. Intermediate Technology Publications, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH, United Kingdom.
  • Monitored water coagulation with moringa seeds in village households,” by Samia Al Azharia Jahn, Gate, No. 1/89, May 1989, page 40-41. Deutsche Gesellsschaft fr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), GmbH Post Box 5180, D-65726 Eschborn, Federal Republic of Germany. Tel: 49 6196790 Fax: 49 6196797352 E-mail:
  • Moringa: A multipurpose vegetable and tree that purifies water. US Agency for International Development, 1987. USAID, Washington, DC 20523, USA.
  • “Moringa: A nutritious water purifier,” Life, Vol. 19, No. 5, October/November 1986, page 4-5. League for International Food Education, 915 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 915, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
  • “Evaluation of the application of Moringa oleifera to water purification and phytotherapy,” Red, Year 10, Vol. 34, July-December 1989, page 26-29. CEMAT, 28 Avenida 18-80, Zona 10, PO Box 1160, Guatemala, 01901, Guatemala.
  • “Amaranth to zai holes: Ideas for growing food under difficult conditions,” Laura S. Meitzner and Martin L. Price, ECHO, 1996. 17430 Durrance Road, North Fort Myers, FL 33917-2239, USA.
  • “Moringa stenopetala provides food and low-cost water purification,” by Frank A. Mayer and Elkie Stelz, Agroforestry Today, Volume 5, No. 1, January-March, 1993, page 16-18. ICRAF House, United Nations Avenue, PO Box 30677, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • “Traditional water clarification methods – using scientific observation to maximize efficiency,” by Samia Al Azharia Jahn, Waterlines, Volume 2, No. 3, January 1984, page 27-28. Intermediate Technology Publications, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH, United Kingdom.
  • “Moringa oleifera: a tree and a litany of potential,” by Geoff Folkard and John Sutherland, Agroforestry Today, Volume 8, No. 3, July-September 1996, page 5-8. ICRAF House, United Nations Avenue, PO Box 30677, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • “Moringa oleifera: A multipurpose tree,” by Geoff Folkard and John Sutherland, Footsteps, No. 20, September 1994, page 14-15. PO Box 200, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 4WQ, United Kingdom. Tel: 44 1746 768750 Fax: 44 1746 764594 E-mail: