Tell Me About ZIJA: Scam?

A woman at work casually mentioned she has started to take Zija…and mentioned it is quite expensive.

Her comments sounded a whole lot like a high powered sales pitch, and when I Googled “ZIJA” I was amazed to find page after page after page of Zija sales sites, in almost every language on earth.

Not only that, but there was a slight whiff of pyramid scheme going on with this product as well.

So - what is the real story behind Zija?

Snake oil for the idiot masses?
Harmless over-priced vitamin?
Dangerous un-regulated drug?
Get rich scheme for bored housewives?

I’ve never heard of the stuff until just now. I am going to guess that it is potentally a bit of all 4 things. One strange thing, many of the sites about Zija and the Moringa tree use the exact same diagram to show the nutritional benefits.

And, I’ll bet it tastes like ass without some serious flavour being added.

Regardless of whether it is healthy or not, the Zija pitch is the same tired multi-level marketing pitch you’ve seen hundreds of times before.

Ha! She did mention it tasted like crap!

But if anybody can find a serious, scientific report on this stuff, I would appreciate it. Or if anyone has any first hand experience taking it, or selling it, that would be helpful as well.

Short answer: there isn’t much. Searching medline has 0 hits on Zija and 33 hits on Moringa tree extracts.

Documented effects include:

Unidentified compounds in the Moringa tree seed include a polypeptide (i.e. protein fragment) that causes sedimentation of suspended particles in water and has some anti-bacterial effects.concerns human health effects

A preliminary in-vitro indication that the tree may be a potential source of anti-cancer compounds (also as yet unidentified)

Various rodent studies studies have investigated various extracts of the Moringa tree in inhibiting penicillin-induced seizures in rats, inhibition of Herpes-induced skin lesions in rats, protection of the liver from anti-tubercular agents in rats, regulation of thyroid hormone in rats etc.

In short, the published research in peer-reviewed journals about the health effects of Moringa extracts appears to be very preliminary. It has had traditional use in Bangledeshi folk medicines, and may be a source of future compounds, but there are no peer-reviewed human trials.

Thank you paperbackwriter. You found more than I was able to find.

It seems kind of scary that there are hundreds of websites pushing this stuff as a miracle cure, and yet very little, if any, science to back up those claims.

What’s even scarier is that this is just a piddlin’ little player in the “alternative medicine” industry/scam.

That’s the norm, I’m afraid, for “miracle” cures. The number of disparate conditions that it claims to treat are also a red flag. Claims that a single herb, drug, oil, nostrum, or device can cure multiple disparate conditions almost never have any basis.

That is not to say, however, that all alternative medicine is a scam. There are some “cure-alls” that have been found to have specific or even multiple beneficial effects. For example, the original “wonder drug” was an extract from willow bark that has given us aspirin. Also, there are published studies that substantiate some alternative treatment modalities. To take another example, here are well-done studies on acupuncture that, while not proving the existance of chi, do prove it has a therapeutic effect that can match or even exceed anti-inflamatory drugs. Another example, one perhaps closer to the subject of the OP, is the studies that have been done on the beneficial effect of echinacea in depression.

What I’m saying is: blind trust or blind dismissal are both incorrect attitudes.

All the information I retrieved came from a free(*) public interface to the largest database of medical journal articles: PubMed. You have to know the jargon, and should talk to a profesisonal about the things you see there, but it is a great tool for research.

(*) Well maybe not free. You’ve already paid for it. Next time some-one cynically says “your tax dollars a work,” point them here and show them some work that their tax dollars are doing.[/soapbox]

References to the Moringa Tree seem to crop up in a developmental context as well, as the plant is reportedly drought-resistant. The quality of these cites is middling: eg Andrew Young accepts 20 Moringa trees.

I just had my first run-in with Zija today at an alternative health event, and I suspect I’ll be stumbling across more salespeople in the near future.

I won’t go near the stuff again.

The stuff itself tastes like nothing. Weak tea, at best. There’s a lot of powdery plant matter at the bottom of the cup, like fine tea leaf pieces. I’ve tried several of these “miracle” drinks, and it was quite clearly the worst AFA taste and appearance go.

It’s the sales tactics and the ignorance of the salespeople about what they claim to sell, what health benefits it’s supposed to have, and what side effects some people could have that turned me completely off.

The guy asked me about my allergies. I said which ones I had, and then I was handed a sample. After I had swallowed part of the drink, he praised the anti-inflammatory properties. One of the allergies I clearly stated is in the largest and best-known class of natural anti-inflammatory chemicals. I immediately became very concerned that this stuff might cause a real problem and really wished he had listened to what I clearly said. This guy completely blew it. He said nobody was ever allergic to the product, he could not tell me what the anti-inflammatory chemical was in the drink (if there really is one), he started saying that there were “no ingredients” in the drink (WHAT?), and then his assistant tried to say I was going to give myself an allergy if I didn’t calm down (WHAT!?). He also started to raise some insulting questions about people at the event selling herbal teas, and even kept saying I had taken a bad batch of an herb I’ve never taken. I got away from them as fast as I could, got home and got some antihistamines in me. Fortunately, I’m fine (although slightly twitchy)… but there’s no way in (pick your place of eternal torment of choice) I’ll ever go near the stuff again.

By contrast, a lady at the same event selling herbal tea and other herbal mixtures had some of her batches clearly marked for people with my allergy, steered me away from ones that could also be a problem, and had a lot more class.

I’m not against natural/alternative health care by any stretch. I’m a firm believer in using modern and traditional health care together whenever it’s safe and useful to do so. I am against people screwing around with this stuff without proper knowledge, making medical claims when they are not medical professonals, not understanding things like allergies and medicine reactions, and acting like jerks.

I don’t have any scientific evidence that this works but I can tell you it works for me. I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis), fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and a really bad back. A friend gave me some samples of the powder and I tried them. After three days the swelling in my joints subsided and I haven’t had this much energy in years. It is not like a “speed” energy, I just feel good. The side effects of Zija cannot be any worse than the side effects of RA medication, therefore I will continue to take it because it has improved my quality of life trememdously!

Oh, good. A subjective anecdote. That finally clears that question up.

Oy vey - herbal medicines are the new Amway. My in-laws are in deep with an essential oils company that runs basically the same racket - wild, yet clinically unfounded claims of efficacy, that just barely skirt legality. And a boatload of profits on the back end, for the dude at the top of the pyramid - or more aptly, at the bottom of the funnel.

If it were truly and consistently effective and not due to a placebo effect, big pharma would be all over it, and have the price through the roof in no time.

Also, in case no one noticed, that poster just joined and that’s their only post. Hmm…

No offense, but that’s literally meaningless. I have OA, my wife has FM and RA, and I can tell you that in any given three days there will be random fluctuations in all these conditions that make the pain and energy symptoms go from horrible to almost unnoticable.

How do you know that you didn’t have a random fluctuation that coincided with your feeling better? The honest answer is: you don’t.

And that’s without even touching the placebo effect aspect.

The reason that the scientific community insists on large double-blinded trials is not to cut off promising new therapies. Hell, developing new therapies is what the researchers I’ve known live for. The reason that these designs are the standard of what’s “real” and what is quackery is because they work. If a large number of people that don’t know what they are getting get better, and anyone can reproduce those results, then they are not random or placebo.

Zija can’t produce that level of proof. They can barely even demonstrate any effect in vitro or in lab animals.

Any promises that Zija representatives make based on the current state of knowledge are empty ones.

I remember once looking at some supposedly good intestinal yeast crap that, like the fancy yogurts, was supposed to be good for your intestinal tract. The symptoms it supposedly treated sounded good. I found all sorts of sites on the internet saying how good it was… then the alarm bells went off.

First was the hundreds of dollars a month you needed to spend, for months or years, to take this stuff. Then the sites were all very similar in the stories they told. Astroturfing? The symptoms - tiredness, bloating, weight gain, headaches, no energy, etc. - all seemed general enough to cover anything.

So I doubt there are any magical herbs or treatments or cures you can find on the internet that are not known and promoted by local real doctors… I it was that good, everyone would do it.

I’d be willing to guess it’s a lot like Zrii, which was recently featured on “Penn & Teller’s Bulls—”: (NSFW language)

Products like these are generally just created so that they aren’t *technically *a “pyramid scheme” (which would be illegal).

They should change the name from Zija to “Joke” because that’s exactly what it is. I was one of the foolish ones who was talked in to being a Distributor…paid my money for the overpriced products not because I wanted to recruit others into the business but because I actually believed all the health claims they made to me and I was going to purchase a recurring supply of the product for myself and my family every month. How ridiculous and foolish of me. After the 4th month of seeing $90.00/month come out of my checking account and being constantly harassed by the “borderline insane” so called leaders through the constant text messages, phone calls, emails and conference/training calls I said enough is enough. I wanted out…well trust me it wasn’t easy…they’re nice to you when you sign up but when you want out it’s like you’re trying to leave a cult. The products didn’t help any of my health issues and I couldn’t pay my kids to drink it because it looks like fungus water and tastes awful! :smack:

Sorry…I forgot to add that my first red flags should have been when I learned that a lot of the well known so called Networking Marketing Gurus from other companies like Tahitian Noni, Monavie etc. had jumped ship at those companies after those ponds dried up and they’re now at Zija draining that well of new unsuspecting sillies like me. I won’t be too hard on myself I had sense enough to get out quick and I did so before being brainwashed into bringing all of my friends/family on board.

Zija is green…green means go…run when you see them coming.

This is merely the latest in a long, long line of magical fruit juice slash herb pyramid schemes. They show no sign of slowing down.