How to Understand Moringa’s Quality & Taste
Kuli Kuli’s Pure Moringa is one of the most nutrient-dense green “superfoods” available, but as more moringa brands emerge, how can you tell which moringa is the highest quality? Is it the organic certification, the green color or the spicy taste? As more people rave about green superfood powders, here are a few tips for how you can use your senses to determine the quality of your moringa:
1. Know where your moringa comes from and how it is grown
To understand how “super” your super green really is, you have to understand how the plant is grown. Kuli Kuli prides itself on working directly with suppliers to ensure they have met Kuli Kuli’s specifications for protein, iron, potassium and calcium levels, and are free from lead and other harmful substances. While there continues to be more moringa available on the market, it is not easy to produce Kuli Kuli’s Pure Moringa.
Kuli Kuli works with its suppliers to ensure that the moringa tree is grown in the cleanest conditions and its leaves are processed to maintain nutritional integrity. The three key aspects that are examined are: 1) plant soil quality, 2) careful drying processing and 3) certified product quality. The moringa tree is a powerful bioaccumulator, meaning it can absorb great levels of minerals and heavy metals from the soil, so unlike other brands, Kuli Kuli only sources its moringa from suppliers in remote areas that are free of pesticides and industrial pollutants.
2. Trust the brand and its certifications
As consumers care more and more about purchasing organic products, they must also be cautious about the brands they choose to trust. Kuli Kuli rigorously tests its moringa along each stage of sourcing to ensure that the moringa is of the highest nutritional integrity. These routine checks also validate every farmer’s organic certifications. Unfortunately as the organic movement grows stronger it also means that cheaters will enter the market.
In 2017, Kuli Kuli requested Midwest Labs, and accredited third-party research company, to conduct a full pesticide residue analysis of Kuli Kuli’s Pure Moringa and three leading competitors’ organic Moringa products. The results indicated Kuli Kuli’s Pure Moringa is free of any pesticide residues; however, all three “organic” competitor brands contained pesticide residues higher than permitted under the USDA’s organic program standards. Kuli Kuli has raised the bar on best practices for Moringa plant quality and processing while continuing to ensure all initiatives are backed by science.
The most nutritious moringa variety
Thanks to great strides that have been made in studies conducted by scientists Jed Fahey, Mark Olson, and Gwen Chodur, we now know there are three main Moringa species with the highest leaf nutrient concentrations. Moringa oleifera leads the way as the global favorite for general consumption due to its nutritional density and mustard oils (glucosinolates) which provide pathogen-busting power. Kuli Kuli continues to nourish us with amazing high-quality moringa oleifera products and spread awareness about its healing benefits using scientific research.
Moringa oleifera has been gaining well-deserved attention in recent years due to its rich nutrients and healing properties. Since ancient times, countless individuals have reaped the benefits of making Moringa a part of their meals and medicines. Its claim to fame includes the ability to successfully treat inflammation, parasitic diseases, joint pain, digestive disorders, hypertension, diabetes, anemia and skin conditions while providing cardiovascular and immune support, protecting against numerous pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella, Candida, H. pylori and Staphylococcus) and enhancing lactation for breastfeeding mothers.  
So, why isn’t everyone making Moringa a part of their regular dietary regimen? Three key issues prevent people from consuming more moringa:
- The need to gain further insight into the science behind Moringa’s benefits,
- The lack of awareness of moringa’s tremendous benefits and ease-of-use
- The matter of taste.
The first two barriers are being knocked down by Jed Fahey, Mark Olson, Gwen Chodur, and Kuli Kuli, which leads us to issue #3 and the heart of this article – the matter of taste.
3. A Matter of Taste: Is Bitter Better?
Why exactly do people love this amazing plant even though it has a bit of a bite? The communities that live where moringa thrives have traditionally eaten Moringa oleifera and the other top two species (Moringa stenopetala and Moringa cancanensus) as food. While the seeds and stems provide many benefits, the leaves are mostly used for their antioxidant activity, high protein and vitamin levels. The other ten moringa species are used for medicinal purposes only. Why is that? Simply put, the bitter taste of many of those moringa species has encouraged people to use them for only medicinal purposes.
At the root of the bitter bite is actually the plant’s healing power via the activity of the glucosinolates, better known as mustard oils. These same compounds make cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, red cherry radish, daikon radish and watercress, etc. – big players in the game to prevent the development of chronic conditions, and moringa surpasses these and other greens, hands down!
To help us understand this better, let’s briefly consider the differences between wild Moringa and domesticated Moringa. The majority of Moringa oleifera is from domesticated plants; however, the “wild” Moringa oleifera differs greatly from its domesticated offspring in ways that affect plant characteristics. Gaining a deeper understanding of moringa’s evolution helps us to preserve positive traits when breeding plant species for optimal nutrition. This is akin to the benefits we receive from connecting with our own heritage to support lifestyle choices that are most beneficial to our unique body chemistry.
Glucosinolates (GS), more easily referred to as mustard oils, are the star plant-created ingredients (phytochemicals) that bring moringa’s healing power to the table while making their presence known with a slightly bitter taste or bite. When we eat moringa, the plant enzyme myrosinase transforms the GS into isothiocyanates, the miracle workers that do a fantastic job of protecting our most precious asset – our health.
The level of bitterness is directly related to Moringa’s two dominant GS types, meaning that moringa’s bite demonstrates it’s nutritional quality.
The interesting fact is that today’s domesticated moringa is actually less bitter than its wild parent, yet the healing benefits are greater. In fact, in a 2018 study on how wild and domesticated Moringa oleifera differences affect plant taste, it was discovered that domestication of Moringa resulted in improved taste. In the blinded taste test, participants easily noticed the difference between the “wild” and domesticated moringa with the “wild” tasting like aromatic leafy kale and the domesticated Moringa tasting like fresh green beans.
In short, nature selected out the extreme bitterness over time to ensure greater plant use while improving on the plant’s ability to heal. So essentially, that mildly spicy taste is just confirmation that the moringa is about to do some serious work to nourish and heal you! The bottom line: we get incredible healing benefits from a slightly bitter plant that grows abundantly under the most difficult conditions. This is indeed a wonderful gift to be embraced for our health and healing, so bring on the bite!
- Anwar, F., Ashraf, M., & Muhammad, I. B. (2005). Interprovenance variation in the composition of moringa oleifera oilseeds from pakistan. JAOCS, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 82(1), 45-51. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/275086507?accountid=107221
- Asghari, G., Palizban, A., & Bakhshaei, B. (2015). Quantitative analysis of the nutritional components in leaves and seeds of the persian moringa peregrina (forssk.) fiori. Pharmacognosy Research, 7(3) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0974-8490.157968
- Chodur, G. M., Olson, M. E., Wade, K. L., Stephenson, K. K., Nouman, W., Garima, & Fahey, J. W. (2018). Wild and domesticated moringa oleifera differ in taste, glucosinolate composition, and antioxidant potential, but not myrosinase activity or protein content. Scientific Reports (Nature Publisher Group), 8, 1-10. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26059-3
- Fahey, J. W., Olson, M. E., Stephenson, K. K., Wade, K. L., Chodur, G. M., Odee, D., . . . Hubbard, W. C. (2018). The diversity of chemoprotective glucosinolates in moringaceae (moringa spp.). Scientific Reports (Nature Publisher Group), 8, 1-14. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26058-4
- Leone, A., Spada, A., Battezzati, A., Schiraldi, A., Aristil, J., & Bertoli, S. (2015). Cultivation, genetic, ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology of moringa oleifera leaves: An overview. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16(6), 12791-12835. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms160612791
- Mendieta-araica, B., Spörndly, E., Reyes-sánchez, N., & Spörndly, R. (2011). Feeding moringa oleifera fresh or ensiled to dairy cows–effects on milk yield and milk flavor. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 43(5), 1039-47. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9803-7
- Olson, M. E., Sankaran, R. P., Fahey, J. W., Grusak, M. A., Odee, D., & Nouman, W. (2016). Leaf protein and mineral concentrations across the “Miracle tree” genus moringa. PLoS One, 11(7) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159782