By: Cheryl Bowles
I first encountered Moringa in one of the The Body Shop products many years ago while I was in the UK and Moringa has stuck with me ever since. Fast forward to 2015 and two things happened. Firstly, our international raw material supplier listed Moringa Oil as a new product in its inventory and so I purchased it and stored it away for future product use. Secondly, late in 2015, I was conducting research on indigenous plants in several Caribbean countries and discovered that Moringa was used in spa treatments in Belize, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, and Dominica. However, interestingly enough the name Moringa was not known in Trinidad. Upon returning to Trinidad, I shared some of the information with my staff and we discussed the benefits of Moringa and its potential uses in our products and spa treatments.. Then, one Sunday morning a member of my team visited the farmer’s market and she saw a stall with pods and leaves labelled Moringa. Upon investigation, she realized that the plant looked very familiar and realized that Moringa was more commonly referred to as “Shigum” in Trinidad and Tobago. The leaves of the “Shigum” is prepared in many East Indian dishes similar to “bhaggi or spinach” and the pods are often used in salads.
Once we realized that Moringa was also indigenous to Trinidad & Tobago, we were elated and added several plants to our gardens. Moringa Oleifera is called the Miracle Plant and is a Super Food. The plant originated in the Himalayas and found its way to India, Africa, Latin & Central America, Hawaii, Caribbean and recently North America. The oil, rich in phyto nutrients, is used in cosmetics and medicine. The leaves are eaten and contain forty-six (46) types of antioxidants. Some facts about Moringa includes: 10 times the Vitamin A of a carrot; 2 times the Vitamin C of an orange; 15 times the Potassium of a banana; 17 times the Calcium of milk; rich in chlorophyll; a good source of leafy green protein - containing 18 amino acids, 9 of which are the essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine) that the body needs. In Ayurveda medicine, Moringa is called “Shigru” hence the local name “Shigum” . In many African languages, it is called 'Nebedaye', which means 'never die'. I now include the leaves in my smoothies on a morning for an extra punch.
I used Moringa Oleifera in Cher-Mère INatural Hair products for natural hair because it has been used traditionally to promote healthy stronger hair; and is ideal for dry, itchy scalp. We incorporated synergistic elements of like-minded plants, namely Organic Coconut , Organic Sunflower, Organic Jojoba, Shea Butter, Avocado, Aloe Vera, essential oils with Moringa and formulated the INatural line to define, moisturize, strengthen , protect, encourage growth & reverse hair breakage exclusively for Natural Hair. The initial selection of INatural products include: a Curling Butter; Leave in Conditioning Crème; Conditioning Oil and Conditioning Hair Booster/ Refresher. INatural products are eco- friendly, cruelty-free and contain No parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, silicon, phthalates, propylene, PABA or DEA , artificial colour. Cher-Mère INatural Moringa Hair Products are formidable products geared to nourish, protect, hydrate, strengthen and condition Natural hair.
Keep posted for new additions to this line. The products are available:
In Trinidad at the Cher-Mère kiosk Long Circular Mall or the spas at Trincity Mall, Upper level Pennywise Building, Chaguanas, 23 Cipriani Blvd, POS, Lower Level , Gulf City Mall, 25 Robertson St San Fernando, Tel 285-9053 or order online at www.chermerecaribbean.com