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Herbal Medicine



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My Story

  • Is it important to brew moringa powder in water, or is it okay to consume the powder/leaves directly?"
    You’ll get many of the phytochemicals in moringa if you “brew” (in either cold or hot water). However, you get EVERYTHING, including the fiber, protein, and heat-sensitive compounds (such as the critical enzyme myrosinase), if you consume the powder or leaves directly. Some people aren’t fond of the taste of the powder (as with any food!), but the tea has an almost sweet flavor note, and most people find it very pleasant.
  • Is moringa tea better than sulforaphane or broccoli tea, and is there an advantage to daily use of moringa or moringa tea?
    In a lot of respects it is very difficult, and I would argue, counterproductive, to compare vegetables like this. I think it is a personal win for you if you increase or enhance your vegetable consumption, and maximize diversity. While there are some compounds both have in common, many of the phytochemicals present in moringa leaves are different than those in broccoli, yet some of these phytochemicals have very similar chronic disease preventing functions and potencies. Rather than suggest one over the other, I would suggest alternating between veggies (I consider moringa tea as a veggie, although it is missing any insoluble fiber you would get from consuming the dried or fresh leaves). Daily use is fine, but when you get bored, turn to another powerhouse veggie. Sprouts of any veggie are powerhouses in my mind. I always have jars of various seeds sprouting in our kitchen. Besides broccoli, some of my favorites are fenugreek, red clover, and lentils.
  • Should I consume moringa powder or broccoli sprouts/seeds with a meal or on an empty stomach with a glass of water?
    In clinical studies, where we want to have precisely the same conditions in every way possible for each person, we typically have our study participants take their doses early in the day, before eating, with a glass of water. However, moringa powder and broccoli sprouts/seeds can cause some mild digestive discomfort (such as belching) when consumed on an empty stomach, so we recommend that folks at home consume them with other foods. The good news is that our work suggests that the range of bioavailability of the active ingredients (the glucosinolates and the isothiocyanates produced from them) in moringa and broccoli sprouts/seeds is pretty comparable whether you consume them with food or on an empty stomach. Hints from comparing different studies suggest that an empty stomach might actually make the compounds a little more bioavailable, but this is not proven, and the difference would not be important to you as a regular consumer.
  • I enjoyed reading your recent article in which you described a new method for extracting the beneficial compounds in moringa to produce a cold-brewed “tea.” How can I make this product in my home kitchen?
    We use aqueous extracts – more commonly known as “teas” – in our clinical research on moringin, the byproduct of a reaction between two chemicals, glucomoringin and myrosinase (a type of enzyme), which are found in the leaves and stems of the moringa plant. Moringin may help prevent or even treat a variety of chronic health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and autism. The myrosinase in moringa is heat-sensitive, so preparing a cold-brewed tea prevents the enzyme from breaking down. To make the tea at home, just follow these simple directions. Add moringa leaf powder* to fresh, clean, room-temperature water or juice and stir well. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Use a 1 to 100 ratio of moringa powder to liquid, roughly translated as: 1 gram of moringa powder to 100 cc of liquid, or 5 grams of moringa powder per 8 ounces of liquid, or ½ teaspoon of moringa powder per 8 ounces of liquid You can drink the tea right away or store it in your refrigerator and consume it within 48 hours. The tea provides not only much of the protein present in dried moringa leaf powder, but an abundance of phytochemicals, including the biologically active moringin. *Note: Choose a high-quality source of moringa leaf powder to avoid possible microbial contamination. Companies such as Kuli Kuli and others sell high-quality moringa powder, but many “fly-by-night” producers’ or brokers’ products are of questionable quality.
  • I keep hearing about foods that fight autism, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. Broccoli sprouts and moringa are frequently mentioned in these reports. Is there any truth to any of this?"
    Broccoli sprouts and moringa and the phytochemicals that they contain (e.g., sulforaphane and moringin) are being actively and aggressively investigated by scientists around the world for their potential role in reducing the effects of all of those conditions and many more. Because these compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost the activity of antioxidant and cytoprotection enzyme systems, and interact with a long list of cellular processes related to all of these diseases and more, the conditions mentioned in your question are all reasonable research targets. As the biology becomes more and more compelling (e.g., test tube, cell culture, and/or animal studies) you will likely start to hear of more clinical work (e.g., human trials) being done, published, and in some cases reported by the popular press. It would be premature to claim victory on any of these battlefields yet, though!
  • Are there specific producers of moringa powder that you recommend?
    The critical issues here are: (a) sanitation, (b) identity, and (c) responsible sourcing. Get reassurance from the vendor or retail supplier (e.g. Whole Foods) that the powder you are purchasing has been responsibly (e.g. sustainably and non-exploitatively, and ideally organically) produced, that it has been verified to be Moringa oleifera (the Latin binomial for what is commonly referred to as “moringa” in the USA markets, and that the levels of associated bacteria have been checked and do not exceed regulatory thresholds. Retailers should have this information on a batch-by-batch basis from their suppliers. The presence of “some” bacteria on leaves is unavoidable for these are not sterile commodities. *Note: I am on the Scientific Advisory Board of a company by the name of Kuli Kuli whose moringa leaf powder I highly recommend -- it is because I have great respect for their process, procedures, and ethics, that I started advising them in the first place. Regardless of what you may chose to by, be wary of the many “fly-by-night” producers’ or brokers’ products that are of questionable quality.
  • How sensitive is moringa powder?
    Moringa leaves are very different in structure from broccoli sprouts. They are typically dried either outside in the sunlight, outside under shade-cloth, or in ovens or enclosed ventilated driers. Sunlight and excessive heat (after harvest) will rapidly degrade some of the phytochemicals and vitamins of interest in the leaves.
  • Does moringa tea require oxygen while steeping?
    Steeping it in a capped jar or pitcher with fresh water will provide plenty of oxygen for a steep (they won’t go anaerobic).
  • Is moringa tea high in goitrogens?
    It is not.
  • Is more moringa better (I get this kind of question a lot)?
    More is better . . . then much more . . . gets worse. (There is toxicity to ingesting too much of anything including water and salt). My suggestions are reasonable “one-dose” suggestions. Since it comes as a dried leaf powder, it is reasonable to imagine how much the whole, fresh, plant leaves that made that powder weighed. Using a ballpark number of 90% moisture (of the fresh leaves), the dried powder represents about 10-fold the amount of dry powder. Thus 5 grams (used to make a tea) is roughly equivalent to 50 grams of leaves. Based on a lot of the serving sizes used by dieticians (and the USDA database), about 100 grams of fresh moringa leaves would thus be “1 serving”. All this depends on your palette and how full you feel, so there are certainly no hard-and-fast rules about this. It is a food, and it is safe to consume. (Just as you wouldn’t drink a gallon of any other tea per day, don’t do so with moringa tea or there will likely be some gastrointestinal consequences).
  • Is ratio of moringa powder to water important for extraction or just for palatability?
    The ratio of Moringa powder to water is primarily important for palatability. Use too little and you get a very concentrated (and not so pleasant tasting) dark liquid; use way too little and you get a paste; use a whole lot more than in my recipe and you just get a more dilute tea that will probably also taste less distinctive and perhaps less pleasant (to you).
  • Can you recommend any particular brand of supplements containing either SF, GR, or GR + Myrosinase?"
    This is a more difficult question for us to answer. The supplements that we are using in clinical studies and recommending to fellow investigators are: Avmacol (Nutramax Laboratories, containing GR + myrosinase), Crucera-SGS (Thorne Research, containing GR alone), and Prostaphane (Nutrinov; a French company which does not export to the USA, this supplement contains [active] SF produced from broccoli seeds). We have started using supplements in our clinical studies precisely because there are now some good, consistent, and safe supplements on the market. Consistency is really crucial as studies need to be carried out on quality products that deliver standardized amounts of key ingredients with minimal batch-to-batch variability. This is a standard that we, as an academic laboratory, could not hope to maintain forever, but it is something that diligent and conscientious supplement producers can readily accomplish. Remember that broccoli itself is highly variable with respect to the concentration of these plant compounds, so just seeing products that say they contain broccoli does not mean that they have active ingredients, nor does it indicate how much they contain or guarantee that to the consumer. This is a problem that has plagued the supplement industry for some time now. We have analyzed many supplements over the years, and there are some very poor supplements. Many of them are terrible in that they do not contain what they say they contain, they contain far less, or even only trace amounts, or they contain materials that are not even broccoli or related to it. We will test more commercial products and periodically update this post with the information we generate.
  • Are there good sulforaphane supplements and bad ones?
    Absolutely! However, we have only tested a small fraction of the hundreds of supplements that represent themselves as containing meaningful amounts of sulforaphane or sulforaphane-producing compounds — SF, GR, GR + myrosinase, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, or broccoli seeds. Remember that GR (glucoraphanin) plus active myrosinase (an enzyme) produces SF (sulforaphane).
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