Herbal Supplements
Noni : Awful Taste – Huge Benefit

Amazing Noni. The history of the plant, which is about 200 years long, is very unique. From Asia the plant was distributed throughout the Pacific Islands. All these years (according to different publications) Noni had been used as a food and for medical purposes in Fiji, Australia, India, Roratango and the Philippines. Now the health benefits of the plant are used all over the world.

Biological Description

Scientific medical name of Noni is Morinda citrifolia in the family Rubiaceae. Other common names of Noni are Indian Mulberry, Beach Mulberry, Morinda, Noni Fruit, Noni Juice, Tahitian Noni, Mengkudu, Hog apple, Wild Pine, Meng Koedoe, Mora de la Indi and Ruibarbo Caribe.

It is a tropical evergreen tree (shrub, or sometimes even liana) that grows to about 3-6 m tall. It has 4-angled stem; large (20-45 cm) and wide, glossy, dark - green opposite shiny leaves; small creamy-white flower; and bears a fruit about the size of a potato (4-7 cm) that starts out green, then ripens into yellow or white, with lots of seeds inside (over 100 seeds, edible when roasted). The fruit has a pungent odor when ripening, smells absolutely terrible, which is why Noni is well known as cheese fruit or vomit fruit (if eaten you really want to throw up that entire medicine miracle). Leaves taste terrible too.

The bark contains a red pigment and the roots a yellow pigment used in dying kapa.

The plant flowers and fruits all year round. It is very attractive to weaver ants, and especially for fruit bats. It grows rather fast.

Growing

Morinda citrifolia is native to Southeast Asia and has been spread by man throughout India and into the Pacific islands, of which Tahiti is the most prominent.

Noni can grow and thrive under conditions in which few other plants can survive. The plant grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It is found even in volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops (by the way, it is one of the first dicotyledenous plants to colonize low-elevation lava flows on the Big Island). It is tolerant of saline and secondary soils, drought conditions and is extremely salt tolerant (can grow in salty water of the sea).

It needs to be protected from cold. Because of the low temperature it will loose all the leaves, but the roots stay alive and the plant will grow once the weather turns warm and will still fruit the same year. Likes full sun locations.

It also can grow in the pot and will bear large amounts of fruit there. 

It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4-8 kg of fruit every month throughout the year.

Parts Used
No part of this plant seemed to go wasted
. The stem, fruit, bark, and leaves are used in herbal remedies and Polynesian folk medicine.

Market
Parts of the noni plant are used as a juice, a tonic, a poultice, and in tea.
Medicinal value surely overcomes the absolutely awful taste. In case with juice it can be mixed with other juices and flavorings to hide the taste and smell. Some state that juices are sometimes the only best way to get this healthy Noni into your body without being sick first.

The plant is also available on the market in form of extract, powder, capsules (nutritional supplements and diet aids), tinctures, facial cleansers, bath gels, and soaps.

Noni first appeared on the market in Hawaii in capsule form and pulp powder in 1992. It was brought by Herbert Moniz of Herb's Herbs after patenting a unique Noni dehydrating method. Noni juice was brought in 1995 by David Marcus (Hawaiian Herbal Blessings Inc.). Nowadays there are about 300 companies marketing Noni juice in a global market.

Action

Noni has excellent levels of carbohydrates (55% 100 g of Noni in powder), dietary fiber (100%) and protein (12% DRI); in addition it is low in total fats (4% DRI).

Main micronutrient features of noni are rather high content of vitamin C, substantial amounts of niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium. In moderate amounts there are also Vitamin A, calcium and sodium.

As for phytochemicals (but there are no established DRI values for them), Noni contains oligo- and polysaccharides, glycosides – sugar-phenolic compounds (including flavonoids such as rutin and asperulosidic acid), "noniosides" (trisaccharide fatty-acid esters), scopoletin,damnacanthal, beta-sitosterol and alkaloids. Due to the "noniosides" Noni has such a noxious smell and taste. Alkaloids (naturally occurring amines from plants) may also explain the bitter taste of the plant. Scopoletin – may have antibiotic activities, beta-sitosterol has anti-cholesterol properties (though there are no researches in human) and damnacanthal has potential as an inhibitor of HIV viral proteins.

The fruit contains also morindin, proxeronine and the enzym proxeronase (the last two produce xeronine after taking noni orally). Noni seed oil is abundant in linoleic acid that may have useful properties when applied topically on skin (e.g. anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention).

Health Benefits

The plant has a long history of medicinal applications. There is no much evidence that Noni is totally effective, it still has a lot of health benefits. See the table.

Part of the plant
Health benefit
Stem

Jaundice, hypertension

Leaves

Relieves cough, hypertension, nausea, colic (Malaysia), sprains, rheumatism, tuberculosis, deep bruising, bone fractures, dislocations, stomach ache, diabetes, loss of appetite, abdominal swelling, urinary tract ailments, hernias, vitamin A deficiency. It is also used to treat muscle - and joint pains.

Flowers
Sties
Fruit

Asthma, lumbago, dysentery (Indochina), head lice (Hawaii), tuberculosis, broken bones, wound poultice, sores or scabs, sore throat, cuts, wounds, peeling and cracking of toes and feet, abscesses, mouth and gum infections, toothaches, appetite and brain stimulant food, boils, carbuncles, sprains, deep bruises, rheumatism, stomach ulcers, hypertension, Philippines this is used for acne and skin problems

Fruit juice

Regulate menstrual flow, urinary tract problems, arthritis

Seed

Scalp insecticide, insect repellant

Bark, leaves, flowers, fruit

Eye conditions, skin wounds, constipation, abscesses, gum and throat disease, respiratory ailments, fever, laxative

Noni can cope with inflammation, swellings, filariasis, elephantiasis, high blood pressure and conditions of aging. In some researches it has also shown very promising anti-cancer activity. Noni is appeared to prevent and protect from different cardiovascular diseases. The plant is used as a general pain reliever. Some researches state that Noni can help when you have depression, addiction, and headaches. But there is no reliable clinical evidence in the available medical literature to support these claims. There is also no such clinical evidence that Noni juice is effective in preventing or treating cancer or any other disease in humans. Nevertheless, human studies are just getting started. As for animal and laboratory studies, they have shown some positive effects.

In different countries Noni is used for different ailments. In India the plant is mainly used as a remedy for asthma and dysentery. In the US Noni juice is very popular, that is used as a dietary and nutritional supplement, general tonic, stress reliever, and facial and body cleanser. In Malaysia Noni serves as coughs, nausea, or colic relievers (heated Noni leaves are applied to the chest), and even as a remedy for head lice. In China, Samoa, Japan, and Tahiti different parts of the plant is used as tonics and to contain fever, to treat eye and skin problems, gum and throat problems as well as constipation, stomach pain, or respiratory difficulties. On the Indonesian island of Java, the trees are cultivated for dye purpose. In Surinam and different other countries, the tree serves as a wind-break, as support for vines and as shade for coffee trees.

Noni sure has many benefits, but mind the important fact. The FDA warned several companies to stop making claims that Noni could cure, treat, or prevent disease, since proof of such abilities had still not been submitted to the FDA. Meanwhile, people are using the plant to help in different diseases and conditions rather successfully.

Testimonials
Diane
2010-10-16 08:55:25
It tastes SO discusting, evn in Pongranate juie. Ho can I get it down without nearly throwing up? I just bought this and was so wanting to use it but it is foul> Please, any suggestions are welcomed!!
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