Adoption of Moringa oleifera to combat under-nutrition viewed through the lens of the "Diffusion of innovations" theory

Ecol Food Nutr. May-Jun 2009;48(3):212-25. doi: 10.1080/03670240902794598.


Moringa oleifera, an edible tree found worldwide in the dry tropics, is increasingly being used for nutritional supplementation. Its nutrient-dense leaves are high in protein quality, leading to its widespread use by doctors, healers, nutritionists and community leaders, to treat under-nutrition and a variety of illnesses. Despite the fact that no rigorous clinical trial has tested its efficacy for treating under-nutrition, the adoption of M. oleifera continues to increase. The "Diffusion of innovations theory" describes well, the evidence for growth and adoption of dietary M. oleifera leaves, and it highlights the need for a scientific consensus on the nutritional benefits.

Keywords: Diffusion of innovations theory; Moringa oleifera; nutrient supplement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / analysis*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / diet therapy*
  • Moringa oleifera / chemistry*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / analysis*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Plant Preparations
  • Plant Proteins