Noni. In my opinion the ugliest fruit on Earth. Not to mention its horrible smell! What is noni juice good for?
Noni, aka morinda citrifolia, is widely known as one of the most healthiest superfood Nature has given us. Its popularity is constantly increasing being more and more used as a dietary supplement, a food functional ingredient, or as a natural health enhancer. As expected, honey obtained from its nectar is an important product which brings a sweet flavored taste besides many health benefits.
Botanical name: Morinda citrifolia
Other names: there are over 100 names for this fruit. The most common English names include: noni, great morinda, Indian mulberry, beach mulberry, cheese fruit and even vomit fruit.
Native from: Southeast Asia and Australasia (which includes Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighboring islands in the Pacific Ocean). The species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalized.
It grows in shady forests, open rocky or sandy shores. It is very tolerant of saline soil and drought conditions, which is why it can be found almost everywhere, even volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, clearings or limestone outcrops, as well as in coralline atolls.
Type: A tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, that grows up to 9 m (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves.
Flowers and fruit: The tree matures in 18 months and gives 4 to 8 kg of fruit every month all year round!
flowers are produced regularly along the stem and it is possible to see together examples of flowering, fruit development, and fruit ripening.
The fruit is a multiple fruit – formed from a cluster of flowers (inflorescence). Each flower produces a fruit, which matures into a single mass. From the same category: pineapple, fig, mulberry, osage-orange, and breadfruit.
The flowers are pretty and white and are to be found until they are germinated by bees to become moringa seeds.
The fruit is big, has an oval shape and reaches 10 to 18 centimeters (3.9–7.1 in) and can weigh up to 1 kg.
At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. Unlike other multiple fruits, when it ripens morinda fruit has a pungent odor, which explains its other names: cheese fruit or vomit fruit.
It contains many seeds.
Probably due to its smell, the fruit attracts many insects such as: weaver ants (which will protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects), fruit bats (which aid in dispersing the seeds) and Drosophila sechellia (which feeds exclusively on these fruits).
Where can we buy noni honey from?
• Amazon.com sells a very delicious multifloral honey made in Hawaii from Kiawe, Noni, and Maui wild flowers. A 6 ounces jar at $6, worth every penny. Maui Raw Honey – Wild, Rich, and Unprocessed! Just the Way Nature Intended Honey to Bee!
• Monofloral noni honey can be found on healingnoni.com. They sell a 12fl. Oz jar for $20.95. They say it’s an “exclusive, exotic, one-of-a-kind Hawaiian Noni Nectar Honey produced by honey bees from the Hawaiian Noni flower.” Don’t believe them by word! Try it for yourself.
They recommend this type of honey for the digestive system. “Take 1 teaspoon of Hawaiian Noni Nectar Honey with a tablespoon of lemon juice on an empty stomach in the morning.”
Read more about morinda aka noni.
Why is morinda aka noni so much praised?
The interest of modern world towards this plant was triggered by its traditional uses. Old medical practitioners in Hawaii and Polynesia have used Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni) for centuries to cure or prevent varieties of illnesses. And our medical research found they were right.
According to a review from 2015 by Morinda citrifolia (Noni): A comprehensive review on its industrial uses, pharmacological activities, and clinical trials.”, morinda has lots and lots of heath benefits, containing phytochemicals that own antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor, anthelminthic, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing effects. They showed that noni has:
Antimicrobial and antiseptic activity
Candida albican was the most sensitive to M. citrifolia antimicrobial activity, in a methanol partitioned with n-butanol extract of morinda.
– Another in vitro study by Jayaraman et al., 2008 was conducted on methanol, ethyl acetate and hexane. Methanol extract was the most effective, ethyl acetate was effective against all the tested micro-organisms except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumonia, and hexane extract was ineffective against all tested microorganisms.
– A study conducted by Atkinson, in 1956, showed that Australian M. citrifolia leaf has antimicrobial activities against Salmonella, Enterica serovar typhi (S76), Staphylococcus aureus (B313) and Myco. phlei CSL.
– an in vitro study reported M. citrifolia as an oral antiseptic through teeth inoculation with Enterococcus faecalis at 37 °C in a CO2atmosphere for 30 days and treat them with Tahitian noni fruit juice and other chemicals.
Australian M. citrifolia fruit juice showed an anti-oxidant activity 2.8 and 1.4 times higher than vitamin C and pycnogenol, respectively. This antioxidant activity was similar to grape seed powder at the daily dose recommended by U.S. RDAs and manufacturers (Atkinson, 1956).
– In other study, the anti-oxidant activity of morinda was evaluated as a natural anti-pigmentation agent by observing the effect of 50% ethanol extracts of Tahitian morinda fruit flesh, leaves, and seeds, on the tyrosinase enzyme responsible for controlling the production of melanin. The study showed that the seed extract had stronger tyrosinase inhibitory (from 20 to 500 μg/ml) and antioxidant activity than the fruit (500 μg/ml).
– All extracts of Indonesian M. citrifolia fruit were able to inhibit Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation. (Kamiya et al., 2004).
– An in vitro study suggested that Malaysian morinda leaf ethanol extract was a highly effective natural anti-obesity supplement than its fruit. (Pak-Dek et al., 2008)
– Tahitian Morinda citrifolia juice was able to reduce obesity related to insulin resistance in an in vitro mouse muscle cells C2C12 culture, by inhibiting the reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial damage (Nerurkar and Eck, 2008).
– A clinical study was carried out on twenty-two participants, for a 12 weeks trial of a weight-loss program with a fixed study factors including Tahitian Morinda citrifolia – based dietary supplements (US brand), daily calorie reduction, and exercise. The results showed that all participants experienced weight loss with significant decrease in fat mass without side effects. (Palu et al., 2011)
– The Costa Rican Morinda citrifolia fruit juice provedto have the anti-inflammatory activity in an in vitro study. (Dussossoy et al., 2011)
– Tahitian merinda fruit juice showed a reduction in the induced carrageenan paw edema in rats, revealing a strong anti-inflammatory effect comparable to that of non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, such as acetylsalicylic acid, indomethacin and celecoxib, without side effects (Su et al., 2001).
– An Indian brand of M. citrifolia fruit juice was administered orally to arthritic rats at doses 1.8 ml/kg and 3.6 ml/kg. It showed a dose dependent significant reduction in paw thickness, arthritic index, secondary lesions, mononuclear infiltration and pannus formation
Some components of noni are very efficient in preventing cancer. Alizarin has an antiangiogenic effect through blocking blood circulation to malignant tumors. Limonene prevents mammary, liver, and lung cancers by stimulating thymus gland to secrete more T cells which destroys the carcinoma cells. Last, ursolic acid inhibits the growth of cancerous cells and induces apoptosis by modulating the body immune process (Lv et al., 2011).
4 human cancer cell lines (epidermoid carcinoma, cervical carcinoma, breast carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma), and a Vero (African green monkey kidney) cell lines were used in the study. Both M. citrifolia extracts showed an inhibitory effect on epidermoid carcinoma and cervical carcinoma cells, while the pure compounds, rutin and scopoletin, showed lower anti-proliferative effects on all human cancer cell lines.
– Indian M. citrifolia commercial fruit juice was administered orally to induced steroid diabetic (diabetes type 2) female Wistar rats, at a dose of 1.8 and 3.6 ml/kg for 10 days. The blood glucose level was significantly decreased compared to control induced diabetic rats by dexamethasone. (Puranik et al., 2013)
Wound healing activity
Fresh Tahitian M. citrifolia leaf juice (1 mg/ml), the leaf ethanol extract (10–200 μg/ml), and the methanol and hexane fractions (10–200 μg/ml), were investigated for their topical wound healing properties. Leaf methanol extract significantly increased wound closure and reduced the half closure time in treated mice compared to the control. (Palu et al., 2010).
Memory enhancing activity
Indian M. citrifolia dry fruit may be useful in enhancing memory at concentration range of 5–400 μg/ml. (Pachauri et al., 2012).
Anxiolytic and sedative activity
– Tahitian M. citrifolia freeze dried fruit methanol extract had anxiolytic and sedative effects at a concentration of 100 μg/ml. (Deng et al., 2007a)
– a US brand of Tahitian M. citrifolia fruit juice at 10 ml/kg/day showed to have an in vivo brain protection from the stress-induced impairment of cognitive function on male ICR mice. (Muto et al., 2010)
– Malaysian M. citrifolia unripe dried fruit methanol extract was also reported for its anti-dopaminergic effects at 1, 3, 5, 10 g/kg oral doses. (Pandy et al., 2012).
Tahitian M. citrifolia fruit juice was reported for its analgesic effect in rats. (Wang et al., 2002)
Gastric ulcer healing activity
Thai dried mature unripe M. citrifolia fruit aqueous extract was reported for its in vivo gastro-esophageal anti-inflammatory effects in rats at a range of 0.63–2.50 g/kg, with possible mechanisms of reducing the formation of acute gastric lesions, blocking the esophagus reflux and acting as an antisecretory agent similar to ranitidine and lansoprazole (Mahattanadul et al., 2011).
100 patients with a high risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) participated in a study and some received Thai M. citrifolia fruit one hour before the surgery at a dose of 600 mg. The results revealed that patients who received morinda citrifolia experienced significantly less nausea during the first 6 hours compared to the placebo group (Prapaitrakool and Itharat, 2010).
Gout and hyperuricemia healing activity
Tahitian noni juice is having a dose dependent natural anti-gout and anti-hyperuricemic effects. (Palu et al., 2009).
Anti-psoriasis healing activity
M. citrifolia was reported to act as an anti-psoriasis healing factor in a 31-year old man who received treatment of moni fruit powder (4 g/day) and a weekly methotrexate. After one month treatment, his psoriatic skin lesions significantly improved. (Okamoto, 2012).
Immunity enhancing activity
Both Tahitian and commercial M. citrifolia fruit juices was reported in an in vivo study on mice, suggesting that it is modulating the immune system. (Palu et al., 2008).
Damnacanthal, a component of morinda fruit, showed an in vitro anti-viral activity by inhibiting one of the human immunodeficiency viruses type 1 (HIV-1) accessory proteins in a Hela cells through an unknown mechanism. (Kamata et al., 2006).
Filipino M. citrifolia leaves ethanol extract and hexane fractions at 100 μg/ml reported to have an anti-tubercular activity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis cultures, with inhibition rates of 89% and 95% respectively. (Saludes Jonel et al., 2002)
Osteoporotic and otoscopic enhancer
In a study 8 participants consumed 2 oz of either a placebo or a noni juice (US brand), along with calcium supplement, two times a day for 3 months. The results showed an increase in bone reconstruction which is probably due to a slight increase in the mean value of the osteoclastic activity specific marker, the deoxypyridinoline crosslinks. (Langford et al., 2004).
Here’s the study’s conclusion:
“M. citrifolia has been used as a medicine for the overall maintenance of a good health as well as the prevention of some diseases including skin, brain, GIT, heart, liver and cancer. Till date, the only information available for daily recommended oral dose of M. citrifolia is 2 g.”
Morinda ≠ Moringa
This is an enormous mistake I have often met in the online blogosphera. Though referring to noni, many articles quote dr. Monica G.Marcu and her book “Miracle Tree” where she talks about the health benefits of a completely different tree (yet with this resembles in name) Moringa oleifera.
By The Photographer – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5026347;
By The Photographer – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4998504