NONI information: the history of the plant
Noni is said to have been drunk in for over 1500 years in The Cook Islands, Hawaii,
Tahiti and other Pacific islands. Some think it came to the Pacific from South East
Asia and India. How it spread between the islands is not clear, however, although
some experts feel voyagers and settlers from the Marquesas Islands carried the first
Noni fruit to the islands of the Pacific. However, it is clear that from the earliest
times Noni fruit and Noni juice was widely consumed in the Pacific islands. In fact,
because of its value and popularity, Noni was grown in small bush gardens and large
The early Polynesians (just like their descendants today) drank Noni juice and used
Noni fruit for a healthy food, for dying their cloth and as a medical and healing
plant. Scientific literature has hundred of references to the widespread popularity
of Noni and Noni juice among ancient societies right across the tropical regions
of the globe.
Since we think Noni fruit first grew in Northern India, we would expect to find
ancient Indians consumed Morinda Citrifolia for its healing properties. Indeed,
the doctors of ancient India said almost every part of the Noni plant could heal.
The root was a cathartic and febrifuge (for lowering fever) agent. Juice from Noni
leaves, rubbed over affected parts in gout patients, relieved their pain, the doctors
of India said. And Noni leaves were used as a tonic, febrifuge, and healer of wounds
and ulcers for healing. Noni fruit and juice was eaten and drunk by patients with
throat complaints, spongy gums, leucorrhea (unusual menstrual bleeding), dysentery
and sapraemia (blood poisoning by bacterial putrefaction).
In ancient Fijian society Noni fruit was eaten both cooked and raw. In Niue, people
regularly ate Noni, and Filipinos made a kind of jam from Noni (in fact they particularly
appreciated fermented Noni.)
We have found that Australian aborigines were fond of Noni juice and Noni fruit.
In Burma, raw Noni was cooked in curry, the ripe Noni fruit was eaten with a pinch
of salt, and Noni seeds were roasted and enjoyed raw with salt.
In Nigeria, Noni juice and Noni fruit treated malaria, fever, jaundice, yellow fever
Further uses of Noni in early medicine
Over-ripe Noni was given to induce vomiting (as an emmenagogue) and some doctors
used Noni juice to relieve the pain of painful urination (dysuria) and assist in
diabetes. And it was recommended internally for liver diseases, coughs, swollen
spleen and as a slightly laxative medicine.
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