Malunggay / Horseradish Tree

I have vivid less than pleasant memories of malunggay or kamunggay from my malung1childhood. Known as Horseradish Tree in English (Moringa oleifera), this tree is native to India but has spread to other tropical regions; in the Philippines, it grows rapidly and with ease in nearly every backyard when desired. The odd name stems from the fact that some Brits noticed the roots of this tree looked nearly identical to real horseradish and they used it on their beef as a substitute for the sharp original condiment – the two are not related at all. Besides the roots, the long ribbed pods or “fruit” are edible and often used in Indian curries, though the skin is discarded and only the pulp is sucked out in what is apparently a rather messy endeavor. The leaves are also edible and apparently incredibly nutritious…

As a kid I used to spend summers with my grandmother in Cebu. malung2Without fail, each lunch or dinner meal would commence with her “special soup” with malunggay. Whether it had a native chicken that looked like it had spent the winter in Auschwitz, a grilled fish that was then shredded into the soup broth, or whole small sized fish, the underlying flavor of the soup and scary greenish tinge is forever burned into my memory. I did not like it. In fact, I probably dreaded it. The slimy dark green leaves had a bizarre mouth feel for an 8 year old. And worse, we basically had to finish our heaping bowl of it or we were not considered done with the meal. My grandmother lived well into her nineties and was one of the most active and healthy women I have ever known. She was also one of the first few doctors to have graduated in the Philippines in the 1920’s. You did not question her nutritional advice…full stop.

Today, malunggay is consumed in huge quantities every day across the archipelago. It is added to soups and provides excellent nutritional points for very little money. A huge bunch at the market today was just PHP5 or 10 U.S. cents. And that’s just for reference as we normally just ask for some leaves from a neighbor a house or two down the street. The leaves must be used almost immediately after picking. Just throw them into the soup at the last minute or they will overcook and even more slimy!

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114 Responses

  1. My memories of malunggay would consist of lots of little individual leaves floating on top of a bowl of chicken tinola. And I absolutely loved the stuff despite their slightly bitter taste.

  2. I suddenly remembered getting allergies on my arms and legs (pantal hangin was how the oldies called them) when I was growing up. My mom would ask someone to get a bunch of malungay leaves and I’d be asked to gently slap my limbs with them (as in flagellation). True enough, the allergies would go away. I now wonder what medicinal (and dermatological) properties malunggay has.

  3. I love malunggay with monggo! Although I remember eating it when I was much younger and thinking it doesn’t really taste that good but it’s definitely better than eating monggo with ampalaya leaves- Yuuuck! That was my choice then, so it’s no wonder i came to like malunggay.

  4. After I gave birth to my first born, my husband would cook up malunggay soup to enhance my milk production for the baby, The soup just consisted of chicken stock, ginger, poached egg and lots of malunggay leaves. It was simple but tasty. I had it for about 2 or 3 days but I never ever had it again. Thankfully, malunggay leaves are now available in capsule form at the drugstore and that’s what I took when I had my last baby. I swear it really does increase milk production because my last child was the only one I was able to breast feed for a whole year whereas the first three babies were only able to breast feed for a week or two.

  5. Growing up, I also hated the leaves. We eat family style and one quickly learn to dip the big spoon into the tureen in such a way that only the broth and not the leaves goes into it. Luckily my mother just let it be as long as we have some of it. She figures all the nutrition went into the soup anyway. Mostly it was done with chicken, fried fish, smoked fish and one that I wouldn’t touch at all is one with the thick buwad in it, bleech!

  6. The best part would be to smile without knowing that a solitary malunggay leaf stuck in your front teeth. And you told them you had steak for lunch.

  7. i always remember malunggay in “tinolang tahong” or “tinolang halaan”, good with steaming hot rice & patis…YUMMMMY!

  8. maricel.. it is true! i read it in baby mags, in fact, it was mentioned as one of the basic food of lactating moms in arugaan (a center where you can leave your baby and the babysitters will breastfeed your babies with their own breast, of course!). And to add, you can steam malunggay just right then rub it then put it in your fresh wounds, it guarantees to easily dries up the wound and get cured!

  9. have you tried the bunga ng malunggay? it’s also good! i’ve never tried it until my brother-in-law from tarlac used it in his pinakbet style dish. he only used the bunga(long and thin), scraped off the bark-like exterior and sauted it with pork, plenty of kamatis( about almost a kilo!),bagoong pangasinan,sibuyas and garlic. it was very good. the only water came from the juice of the tomatoes.

  10. molly, in India, they mostly eat the fruit pod I understand. But they only eat the insides… I understand it is good. The fruit is used in Northern Pinakbets. adelle, maybe if they feed cows and goats malunggay we will get more milk? Heehee, I jest of course. Maricel, I just saw powdered malunggay the other day… carol, maybe you should patent a malunggay bath bomb that takes away skin ailments!

  11. in Ilocos we stew the fruit in bagoong broth with mashed sweet potato and tomato . . . I have learned that few Filipinos know that the fruit of the malunggay can be eaten. . . I also remember my grandma taking dried malunggay seeds as medicine, I just don’t know what is it for. . .

  12. Our cook had a reason why she wont serve malunggay. What pigs wont eat, we are not to eat ( and we are pure Tagalog, it’s not part of any recipe). I was a full grown adult and already in the US when I had my first taste thanks to my Ilocano roommate. Didn’t really like it. Being honest!

  13. please send me more information about malunggay leaves or as capsule because im going to conduct study given this capsule in laboratory rat.
    thank you very much for ur kind consideration.

  14. Please send me more information about these plants and also mainly on the Moringa oleifera seeds, I’am a dong a experiment whether the seeds have any anti-bacterial properties and jus need a quit bit of information on the nutrients these seeds has. Thanks !

  15. Malunggay has one of the best medicinal traits it ever had. It is a very good anti-oxidant, good for artritis, lowering cholesterol and sugar.

    Best of all, Masarap to sa tinolang manok ^_^

  16. I’m a highschool student and have to conduct a science project using malunggay pods or its seeds as hamster feed but have no idea where to get them. May you please suggest where to find them?

  17. Hi Cie, I have not really noticed malunggay pods sold in the wet markets so I am guessing that you will have to find a mature malunggay tree that is currently bearing seeds or pods…

  18. hi just a comment regarding what you said about Malunggay is slimmy which is very wrong it is not slimmy. YOu probably referring to dahon ng saluyot.

  19. Aila, while I would agree that saluyot is far slimier, I never ate it as a kid. I did think malunggay was slimy, for an 8 year old palate, that is… try asking an 8 year old to describe some of the more off-putting vegetables around and I am sure some pretty memorable descriptions and adjectives will come forth… I still do not like malunggay that much today…early food biases are hard to overcome…

  20. i was very excited coz our show with the pbb teens was approaching!!! then, guess what happen??? a week before the show, i had a cough!!!!!!it’s so embarrassing… but did you know…for that last few days,,,i ate & ate malunggay polvoron.. then.. dadaaaan!!! m cough had vanished!!! oh!! how happy i was!! that’s all…hehehehehe…..:)

  21. I just want to know where to sell malunggay seeds and how much it cost today since few years back it was Php50/kilo. We are planning to plant malunggay in our 8 hectares land in the province of Antique… sana meron malaki

  22. This is one of the memories of Bicol I will always love. I remember when we were kids, we would pick the leaves from the neighbors place,sometimes over the bakod! We actually liked it with soup or cooked with gata. You can tell easily just walking from the streets what they’ll have for lunch. The kids, moms and aunties were gathered around chatting, their hands busy separating the leaves from the stems. Happy rituals!

  23. Well i was in shocked when i found out that horseradish is called malunggay in tagalog im very innocent noh?! well it is being used as side dish in grilled sausages well it taste good! German people love its so much!

  24. is it true that malunggay leaves can increase sperm count?
    what are these nutrients and how can it increase sperm count?

  25. ruben, there was an article in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer about that…you may want to read that. Otherwise, I haven’t the foggiest idea what nutrients are in it.

  26. hi, i was wondering if anyone know where i can get the plant malunnggay,i love the vegetable and i want to plant some in my yard. thank you very much. starr

  27. starr, ask a neighbor for a branch of malunggay and plant it in your garden, or from seeds pods that have matured. I have never seen it sold…it must be because it is quite common…

  28. I was wondering if you guys know anyone who might have some malunggay tresse for sale? Maybe even some seeds?
    Thank you
    DAlla

  29. Please, can you give me information about seeds in malunggay as a antibacteria for research purposes. thanks!

  30. Just a note from California: malunggay has become quite available in Los Angeles now, both the leaves and the pods (Anglo/Indian “drumsticks”).

    The big Philippine markets, of which we have many here now because our health care system runs on Philippine immigrants, all have the leaves and a few Indian markets have the pods.

    The pod supply is not yet reliable and only a few Indian markets have them. Indian recipes aren’t very practical because they’re all geared to eating everything with the fingers which we don’t do here.

    On the other hand we eat some things with the fingers. Cut the pods into 3 to 4 inch pieces, boil for 10 minutes or steam for 15, split them in half and treat them just like Artichoke leaves scraping the flesh and seeds off with the front teeth. The same kind of dips could be used. Very good.

  31. Hi there,

    I have a big malunggay tree and it has lots of seed pods. If anyone is interested in purchasing the plant from seeds or buy seed pods, let me know. My e-mail address is glamy84@yahoo.com

  32. Hi Jennifer,

    You will need to boil the malunggay leaves maybe for about 10 minutes then you can drink it like your hot tea. I have lemon grass plants so I put one leaf also to the boling water and it makes the malunggay tea taste even better. I also include the malunggay leaves when I pour it to my cup and eat the leaves as well. They are really rich in fiber.

  33. Hi, am interested in selling dried malunggay leaves & seeds. I would like to know where to sell it.

    Thank you.

  34. I would like to buy malunggay tree or seeds and will they grow in my region (arizona southwest) ?

  35. I would like to know more about the malunggay leaves use in pharmaceutical material,please give me some company that would market this product since im we have many plants in our farm.thank you,hope to get some answer eventhough its not a comment .thanks again

  36. hi just want to ask how can malunggay use to lose weight because i’am desperate for so many years just to lose my weight and to cure my alergies….thanks for the help and advise……

  37. lovy, sorry, I do not not know if malunggay is good for weight loss… and i am not sure about any effect it has on allergies… best to consult a medical professional, not a food blogger :), paul, I have no idea if this tree would thrive in Arizona…

  38. Hi! I would like to plant malunggay for my 2 hectares field… I would like to know where to sell or market this.. Thanks

  39. Joseph, I suppose you would have to get it to the local markets… but I must say, malunggay does not stay fresh for long so it won’t last… and must be sold hours after it is picked…

  40. Hi all! I’m doing a research on moringa or malunggay’s health benefits. Here are some useful links for all of you:

    https://www3.sympatico.ca/truegrowth/moringa.html
    https://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2007/10/13/bus/malunggay.the.miracle.vegetable.html
    https://thehimalayanuniverse.blogspot.com/2007/07/moringa-miracle-plant-with-many-healing.html

    Recognized as the world’s “miracle vegetable, the moringa oelifera plant has been receiving numerous accolades from scientific journals and no less than the World Health Organization for its health and nutritional benefits. The moringa has been found to be rich in vitamins C and A, iron, and high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol. Moringa provides a rich and rare combination of nutrients, amino acids, antioxidants, omega oils, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties used for nutrition. Gram for gram, moringa leaves contain four times the calcium in milk, two times the protein in milk, three times the potassium in bananas, four times the vitamin A in carrots and seven times the Vitamin C content in oranges.

    The presence of these vitamins makes moringa a potent anti-oxidant which can effectively neutralize unstable free radicals that cause aging. These anti-oxidants can also prevent the development of various chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer and heart and kidney diseases. Moreover, it promotes good eyesight and digestion. It should be noted that when processed into powdery or tea form and consumed, it detoxifies the body system, cleanses impurities in the arteries and works against the build-up of cholesterol.

    Because of its nutritional content, malunggay strengthens the immune system, restores skin condition, controls blood pressure, relieves headaches and migraines, manages the sugar level thereby preventing diabetes, reduces inflammations and arthritis pains, restricts the growth of tumors, and heals ulcers. This information comes from Dr. Kumar Pati, an Indian doctor who is an expert in natural medicine.

    Malunggay tea is now sold by a group of student entrepreneurs at the Ateneo School of Management Business Accelerator Program. Google “VLeaf Incorporated”.

  41. hi! I’m a Chemical engineering student in ust. I just want to ask where to buy malunggay seeds because my groupmates and I needed it for our thesis that we will conduct this summer. just email me at jo_anne_navarrohp@yahoo.com. hoping for your replies. tnx…

  42. hi guys, i’ve got great news for you. I know of someone who can provide you with malunggay leaves, seeds, powders, etc. He’s an entrepenuer & owns a plantation of malunggay in Negros. He’s actually one of our suppliers, i’m working in a pharmaceutical company. I just wanna help you guys out since our product is still under process & not yet available in the market but it will soon be. Just contact Mr. Willes Matiao 09162753483. Just say you were referred to him. He’s really very approachable & speaks Bisaya. Good luck! More power to moringa…

  43. Just want to know where I can get mulunggay leaves eighter in tables form or fresh. I am in australia thanks

  44. Since I was in the elementary grades, I already love to eat malunggay leaves and fruits. Cooked not raw, of course! My late father and mother grew malunggay trees in our backyard and in our “bukid”. My favorites are tinola with malunggay and papaya-chunks. And malunggay with monggo (beans)with ginisang small chunks of pork salted with baggoong-pangasinan.

    My family eat malunggay 3 to 4 times a week. Lately, I read that Senator Loren Legarda is encouraging pinoys to eat malunggay coz it is not only nutritious but also gives more power to our sperms to fertilize eggs! There you go! Eat lotcha malunggay everyday!

    But, wait, overpopulation is a national problem for quite sometime! Well, let us eat malunggay for its nutritional value! Okay?!

  45. malunggay seeds are said to cure gout in three days. How do we prepare to eat them. Do we eat them dry & raw?

  46. How does Malunggay pods work on intestinal
    parasites. Your Answer would greatly help.
    thank you.

  47. We have a mallungay tree in our backyard in Honiara, Solomon Islands. I learned that the planting stock was brought by one Filipino about 15 years ago. Now we are savouring it fruits, and leaves for our fish and chicken tinolas.. and best of all my neighbors Solomon Islanders are learning to eat the stuff. And my neigbour have planted malungay too in his backyard. A Filipino contribution, in part, to the economy of Solomon Islands.

  48. Presently spending part of my year in the province of Cebu, and being a former Health/Nutrition US Peace Corps volunteer years ago, I can attest that then and up until now, mallungay or kamungay as we know it is the most popular vegetable among so many and it is also my all time favorite! In soups with so many things–it can’t be beat!

  49. hi. do you know where can i buy malunggay seeds in laguna or near laguna? i need those for my thesis. please send it to my email or just reply at my post. thank you.

  50. Hi, can anyone tell me where can I sell malunggay leaves and seeds in large quantities.We are planning to have a malunggay plantation. thanks

  51. hi!please give me more info about malunggay! somebody told me that malunggay is a very good for those couples whose never had a chance to have a child… we’re almost 6yrs married but unfortunately wala pa rin po kaming anak….wait ko po yong reply nyo!!!!!!!!!!!!thanks.

  52. heeeeeeeeeeelllppp!!! we’re actualy doing a feasibility study ryt now about malunggay!!! “the powderized Malunggay” jaz wanna know the process of doing and the machines needed!! thanx…po!!!

  53. Malunggay is now available in Australia. You can buy the dried leaves and use them to make tea or add to your cooking. If you would like to know more let me know.

  54. Hi Maureen, I can tell you where you can buy Malunggay dried leaves in Australia

  55. Kevin,
    My mother is taking malunggay for her high blood pressure and it’s really very effective. Could you please tell me the place in Australia to buy malunggay? My brother leaves in Melbourne and he wants to buy some. Thanks.

  56. Hi, Pls tell me where can I buy malunggay seeds. I want to plant it in our backyard. I am here in Washington State. Thanks

  57. Hi there!Please give me an ingredients how to make a malunggay polvoron.thanks a lot and more power

  58. Try this: 1/2 cup fresh (raw) malunggay leaves + 1 cup water -blended and strained. Add another 1/2 cup of pineapple juice for a health drink taken 2-3 x a week. Two times daily for cancer survivors. Always make a fresh blend, to be consumed with 2 hours. Maybe this should be comparable to wheatgrass juice, which is imported from the US

  59. hi! i’m 14 years old and malunggay or ‘kalamunggay’ as we call it is my favorite veggie. i eat it almost every dinnertime as malunggay soup with tomatoes,okra,kalabasa,and talong(actually, i really eat massive amounts of that soup and malunggay leaves,like, in one casserole i tell our maid or my mother to put 1 bunch of about 7 pieces).i eat/sip the soup before eating rice cause it makes me eat less. it’s really very healthy cause it’s extremely high in vit. c(it has more vit. c than citrus fruits or milk);it’s also high in many vitamins and minerals. when i ahve cold symptoms, i eat that malunggay soup along with many glasses of water and good sleep and the symptoms stop.

  60. good day i just want to know if how to process the malunggay fruit and its root cause i heard that the root is poisonous if its not process well..can you send it to my emailif how to process the two

    thank you and regards

    nilo

  61. i pureed raw malungay leaves. after drinking it i got dizzy as if i took a shot of tequilla, later got lbm.

  62. need large quantity of malungay leaves & pods
    (matured little brownish in color) for
    chemichal analysis

  63. uhh, i just wanna say that malunggay is so not horseradish…. ^_^ horseradish is a rootcrop and only grows 5 feet while malunggay grows up as a full grown tree… i think it’s more known as moringa in english and not horseradish coz they’re really different…

  64. In Australia Malunggay is growing well in Cairns. We really ate it there one holiday. If you are really interested just ask the Filipinos and I’m sure they will help you find it.

  65. Hi, any1 can tell me where I can get the tablet form of the leaves for my breastfeeding wife .. thnx :)

  66. malunggay is really good taken fresh or in capsule form. any one interested to buy malunggay capsules can e mail me for details.

  67. hi guys, i just got a dream 2/26/09 at 0430HR. GOT A MILLION+ TREE OF MORINGA N MY BACKYARD SOMEWHERE N BATANGAS.
    Fact: I have three pcs. of malunggay tree n front of my house with lots of flowers that i have noticed. My neighbors keep asking for leaves and fruits. For dine n health purposes 3 trees are not enough. I have a cold hands n could easily grow moringa. Wanna share with this dream? I need wide area for growing, partnership is acceptable. Thanks for the informations.

  68. i’m a malunggay lover ‘coz it makes me feel healthy everytime i ate it (leaves/fruit)we have the said plant in our backyard since i was a child and i heard its medicinal can anyone out there send ways and means how to put it in a capsule form and how to process the seeds ‘coz its easy to propagate seeds are just thrown out went it mature maybe its nice to start a bussiness with malunggay products it just around the corner. i’ll wait thanks to anyone send me the ways.

  69. hi,
    anyone here who knows where we can buy the malunggay capsule. Please email me how much and where and i will really appreciate it promise!! thanks a lot guys!!

  70. I find all these blogs about malunggay very informative. I will try to obtain seeds to plant in Houston, TX. Thanks to y’all. Have a happy moringa life.

  71. Hello Erick,
    thanks for sharing your seeds. I am interested. will email you .

    Naomi

  72. Could anyone let me know whether Morunga, ur Horse Raddiah or Malunggay is commercially grown any where and if so would like to contact the person

  73. well, we grow malunggay here in our province al,ost in every backyard..i am now mass produce it to different areas here in our locale,any one who is interested just mail me

  74. i am glad that malunggay is readily available in stores in Vancouver and other parts of Canada. Asian stores sell the frozen leaves, no need to thaw just throw in the boiling broth of tinola or what have you, and viola! you have the best meal!!! if you live in Texas or in California, malunggay can thrive well in these states!

  75. im a college student and we conducting a feasibility study about malunggay noodles, i want to ask whose the suppliers of malunggay that is nearest in laguna, tnx..!!!!

  76. I am looking for source of malunggay seed for commercial plantation. Can anyone help with the best quyality source of seed? email me

  77. Hi! I am into herbal products business. We have 2 products moringa capsules and moringa coffee. Moringa capsules is available in 30s and 60s capsule bottle. If anyone is interested to sell these products, please email at vitanutrient@gmail.com. We want to share the health benefits of malunggay to those who are interested and at the same time, you can do business. Moringa is very good to boost immune system, flashes out toxins from the body and is very good to clean our colon.

  78. Hi! I was born in the P.I. but lived in Hawaii since I was 4 years old. Moved to Florida, USA in 1994. Last year, I visited Hawaii and took a branch back to Florida with me. Planted it in July and thought it died during the winter, but it came back to life! It is about 3 feet tall now. Can’t wait to eat from it. Yes, my parents ate them in soups too, but we also ate them like salads. Boil and drain…add tomatoes and fish sauce. Haven’t had them in Florida yet, but I bet my husband and son will probably laugh at me. I grew up eating bittermelon so malunggay leaves is not a problem for me. My family called them marunggay leaves…I guess that’s ilocano.
    I had fun reading all the comments.

  79. my mom grows moringa (malunggay) trees and makes malunggay powder… anyone interested in buying some?

  80. where can i buy here in los angeles or orange cty , malunggay seed or plant where i can plant in my yard .

  81. To Trini Winchester

    I can send you Trini if you want. We have lots of mallunggay here in the Philippines

  82. I’m interested in planting malunggay trees in Leyte. Anyone who might be able to help me where I can get the planting material in the region is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

  83. Can anyone send me an info on how to make malunggay coffee or tea and how to use roots etc. Help thanks a lot

  84. faith, this blog is maintained by me, Marketman, please read the “About” page for more details. If you are using information from this post and need to cite a source, please use “www.marketmanila.com” as your source. Thanks.

  85. hi, i just wanted to know more about the weight reduction effect of malunggay and i want to ask from you the best food preparation which is more effective…if it is combined with other foods, could its nutritional contents lowered or lost? tnx..

  86. hiii….any1 can help me i’m doing my Feasibility Study about malunggay polvoron can i ask if any1 knows where to find a plantation plant plant in the philippines?????

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