Duckweed Benefits and Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/02/23 •  8 min read

What are duckweed benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are duckweed pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

duckweed benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on duckweed benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about duckweed benefits and side effects. This will include duckweed benefits for your health and potential risks, duckweed water footprint and duckweed carbon footprint, duckweed sustainability, if duckweed are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if duckweed are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about duckweed benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Duckweed Benefits and Side Effects


Duckweed health benefits may include:

Duckweed is…

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Water footprint: low, it takes 322 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of vegetables / 39 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of vegetables

Carbon footprint: low, 1.6 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of vegetables, a car driving equivalent of 3.75 miles or 6 kilometers

Destruction: low, duckweed production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., duckweed exhibits very fast growth, such plants are the fastest growing angiosperms, possibly recycle waste waters, the species is widespread and can grow in many parts of the world, with the exception of polar and tropical regions

Duckweed is…


Kills: none, duckweed production does not require any animals

Harms: none, duckweed production does not require any animals

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from duckweed production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Duckweed is…

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Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


What are duckweed uses? 🍴

You can eat duckweed fresh or dried and use it to prepare dishes like salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, pesto, vegetable curries, burritos, as a garnish, condiment and more.

Where does most duckweed come from? 📍

Duckweed is commonly in the vegetable markets in different regions of Thailand and other Asian countries.

The species is widespread and can grow in many parts of the world, with the exception of polar and tropical regions

Is duckweed nutritious? 🥗

Yes! Duckweed contains protein, fiber, amino acids, and the highest yield in most of the nutrients.

Duckweed is used in herbal medicine and also contains flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin glycosides), diterpenes, polysaccharides, tannins, vitamins B1, B2 and C and unsaturated fatty acids.

Other names for duckweed? 🗣️

Other names for duckweed are water eggs, fu ping, kleine wasserlinse, andemat, andmat, khai nam, kai-pum and kai nkae.

Is duckweed alkaline or acidic?

Is duckweed alkaline or acidic?

Duckweed is alkaline when fresh.

What is the pH level of duckweed?

Duckweed, like all sea vegetables, has a 9.0 pH level when fresh, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

Is duckweed gluten free?

Is duckweed gluten free?

Yes, duckweed is gluten free. Duckweed does not contain gluten. Duckweed is a type of flowering aquatic plant, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is duckweed a common food allergen?

Is duckweed a common food allergen?

No, duckweed is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to duckweed but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Is duckweed sustainable?

Is duckweed sustainable?

Duckweed production is relatively sustainable since there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as there are no pesticides. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Is duckweed vegan?

Is duckweed vegan?

Yes, duckweed is vegan. Duckweed is a flowering aquatic plant and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Does duckweed have human rights issues?  

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time there have been no major concerns with duckweed production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about duckweed benefits and side effects.


Nutritional Value of the Duckweed Species of the Genus Wolffia (Lemnaceae) as Human Food

Duckweed as human food. The influence of meal context and information on duckweed acceptability of Dutch consumers

WebMD, Duckweed: uses, side effects

Lemna L. duckweed – USDA Plants Database

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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