“Dried moringa leaves are a storehouse of concentrated nutrition, so even a small daily dose can help correct imbalances in the body, add concentrated nutrition to your diet and help you reach the recommended daily dietary targets of fruits and vegetables.”

This claim was made by an Indian company; Organic India Private Limited. In 2015 the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) upheld a complaint against the company for this advertisement, finding its claims were unsubtantiated.

If it were just a matter of comfortably-off people buying supplements that don’t contain anything useful, and wouldn’t help most people even they did (the only time a dietary supplement is helpful is if you are deficient in some particular nutrient, in which case you should seek advice from a medical doctor), then it wouldn’t matter too much. People will always find silly things to spend money on, and it is no one’s business but their own.

That does not excuse the sellers of these products, who generally know that what they are selling is useless. Even if they do not have the skills to analyse the claims made by the parent company, the methods employed should be a dead giveaway. For example, in the case of one multi-level marketing Moringa company, agents are given scripts which they are told to claim as their own stories, to share with potential clients and on social media. They generally go like this:

I was feeling x (fat, ugly, tired, sleepless, lacking energy, etc). Nothing else worked, so I decided to try y (the moringa product). I was sceptical, but after two weeks, the difference was amazing. I was z (slimmer, more energetic, sleeping better, dating Brad Pitt, etc, etc). The next time I went to the doctor, he/she was amazed. I told him/her about y, and showed him/her the list of nutrients it contains. He/she was so impressed he/she asked where he/she could get some for him/her self.

Any company that suggests it is appropriate to tell invented histories, ie lies, to family, friends, and customers, is not a company whose claims you should be taking at face value. That is bad enough.

But when extravagant claims are made for weight loss, or for cures for cancer or diabetes or other acute or chronic illnesses, then selling such products crosses a line from being merely unethical to being illegal. Or even where not illegal, monstrous. It is wrong to take advantage of people who are poor, who are ill, who are desperate.

You would hope people would be well aware by now that every few years some new miracle supplement, superfood, or therapy appears, promising weight loss, new youth, and social success. Bai-lin Tea, Cal-Ban, Herbalife, are all earlier examples. But sadly not.

Moringa is just the latest in a long line of supplement scams.

Don’t fall for these scams. Don’t buy these products.