The Noni

 

TAHITIAN NONI juice was introduced in the USA with commercial pursuit in the middle of the 1990’s by some of the founders of Morida Inc. Before, very few American had ever heard about that fruit. Nevertheless, in Tahiti and in other Polynesian areas, people have been using Noni for over 2,000 years to promote health and wellbeing.

Historically the natives have used the whole plant for therapeutical benefits. The earliest studies on the plant show that its roots were traditionally used to reduce fever, to help controlling diabetes, whereas the leaves were put on wounds and ulcers for relief. The fruit was used in many other different antique ways as medicine.

Areas of application where Noni was used by the ancient Polynesian doctors (called Kahunas) are: Diarrhoea – Oral infection with Candida Albicans – intestine parasites – cough – tooth ache – colds – skin abscesses – Pleurisy – stings of centipedes – tuberculosis – elephantiasis – eye infection – bruises – Conjunctivitis – wounds – fever – Jaundice – vomiting – rheumatism – inflamed and hurting gingiva – women’s conditions – throat ache (Laryngitis).

Doctor Anne Hirazumi Kim, after a long investigation, catalogued and published more than 150 nutraceuticals, found in Noni.

Noni, or Morinda citrifolia, belongs to the family of Rubiaceae. This scientific family is composed of approximately 80 different species of plants, and only 20 of those have been recognized to possess commercial value, or to be worth being given attention.

As a matter of fact, Noni stands out like a queen between the species “Morinda”, for its remarkable characteristics, multiple uses and its supreme ability to distribute itself along the coast of the sea without human help. The Noni plant which can grow up to almost 7 meters high with big ever green leaves, and its small white flowers, flourishes in different times of the year. These flowers develop into a 15 cm long fruit of irregular surface with spots. When it ripens, the white-yellowish skin of the Noni goes translucent. At that point, the flesh of the fruit, usually insipid, tastes bad and produces a nasty smell (described as “smell of rotten cheese”) which rapidly filters through the skin.

Noni has traditionally grown in a wide extension of areas including rocky territory, low fertile grounds, and sandy zones. The list of areas in which it has lived is impressing: it is found in the majority of insular territories of the South Pacific (including Tahiti and Hawaii, the two areas where it is most known), Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Africa, Guam and the West Indies (incl. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands). Noni yields fruit almost all year long.

From India to Fiji:

Historically, Noni has been also used in cultures other than in Polynesia. In India, the Noni fruit is used for cooking and to treat illnesses. Actually, it became so popular that finally it was cultivated and got recollected and also other parts of the plant started to get used.

The Indian natives used M. Citrifolia also for therapeutical benefits: “It’s reported that almost all parts of the plant have medical properties. The root is used as a laxative and anitpyretic (lowers fever), and applied externally, it reliefs pain caused by gout. The fruit is used against spongy gingiva, conditions of the throat, dysentery, leukorrhea, (abnormal menstrual blood flow), sapraemia (envenoming of the blood due to bacterial putrefaction).

Other numerous reports provide a detailed image of how precisely Noni was prepared over the years. “On the Fuji Islands the fruit is eaten cooked and raw.” The insular inhabitants of Nîue eat it regularly and it is said that the Philippinos make a jam from it, preferring its taste when it’s fermented.

Other sources tell that the Australian aborigines love the fruit. In Burma the green fruit is used in curry, and the mature fruit was eaten raw with salt. Noni fruit is eaten in Nigeria to treat fever, malaria, yellow fever, jaundice and dysentery. Other stories tell that the very mature fruit is used to provoke the menstruation and to treat dysuria (painful urination).

Sometimes, the fruit is used internally in different preparations to cure inflammations of the milt, disorders of the liver, bleedings and cough... and as a light laxative. These statements are more than a mere sample of a multitude of historical references to Noni and its nutritional and medical uses.