Moringa oleifera leaf provides protein, vitamin A, and compounds that seem to have cancer preventive, glucoregulatory (“anti-diabetes”), and cholesterol-lowering activity in laboratory studies in cultured cells and in animals. There are no real published clinical studies in humans that allow us to say “eat X amount of moringa to have Y benefit.”
So what to do? There is an amazing array of moringa products on the market, from fresh and frozen leaves to leaf powder in every imaginable form—capsules, pills, bulk powder, drink mixes, and teas. There are even extracts and tinctures, all of which might provide some health benefits, some of which might harm you, and all of which are guaranteed to separate you from your money.
Given the current Moringa research situation and lack of clinical trials, what is the best bet for receiving the full health benefits of moringa? The best bet is to eat moringa as a vegetable. Moringa oleifera has been eaten as a vegetable for thousands of years, and in that form there is nothing to suggest that it is not safe and nutritious. Like a lot of other leafy vegetables, moringa leaves reduce quite a bit in volume when you cook them. So cook up a lot—at least 4 liters of fresh leaflets. Get some water boiling vigorously and throw the leaflets in. Return to the boil and throughout the whole proces stir the leaves often. Stirring avoids the leaflets clumping together, which makes them cook up with an especially pungent taste. As with all vegetables, DO NOT OVERCOOK. 3 minutes boiling is about right, maybe a little more if it’s a big batch. Taste the leaves as you cook them to see how they are doing. A quick boil removes the pungent spicy taste and leaves the delicious meaty vegetable taste. Plus, some studies suggest that cooking vegetables helps loosen their cell walls and make the nutritious cell contents more accessible for digestion. Then, drain the leaves and spread them out so the cool quickly. With clean hands, squeeze the water out of the leaves. You can add a little oil to the leaves and store them for use in any dish—add the leaves at the last minute to soup, serve as a side dish, etc. Eat plenty of the leaves. A fist-sized serving is a normal vegetable serving, just as though it were spinach or chard. You get the full nutritional benefits of moringa as a normal part of a normal diet. This amount is much more that you get from one or two moringa capsules, and tastes a hell of a lot better.
In some situations, such as famine or other near starvation situations, moringa leaf powder has proven a life saver. In such situations, assume that the leaf powder is about 25% protein and administer it accordingly, in whatever form is possible. In such situations, far outside a normal diet but unfortunately not rare, the chief concern is nutritional quantity. The form that the powder will be ingested in will depend on locally available food and customs. Some add the powder to sauces, to rice, to flatbread, to beans or pulses, even to fruit juices. So the dried leaf powder is unquestionably valuable nutritionally.
But as part of a normal diet, moringa leaf powder is often expensive and tastes terrible. To hedge our bets at home, we have plenty of cooked moringa leaf—the best way of ingesting moringa.