Noni fruit from the tropics possesses a variety of medicinal properties.
Noni berry is the Noni Fruit of a tropical evergreen tree, Morinda citrifolia. Sometimes called Indian mulberry, cheese fruit and wild pine, ripe noni fruit has white to yellow flesh and contains compounds that may have medicinal properties. Noni juice and other noni-derived products might help prevent certain health problems.
Polynesian herbalists and folk medicine practitioners have long prized the greenish-white fruit of the noni tree – known scientifically as Morinda citrifolia – for its medicinal properties. Although the tree is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, it grows today in most of the world’s tropical regions.
Noni fruit seems to act indirectly against abnormal growths, primarily through immunestimulatory effects. Noni fruit is relatively high in potassium (K), which is associated with many health benefits. Potassium promotes healthy heart rhythm, muscular contraction, nerve function, energy production, and fluid balance.
Research has shown that linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, is a powerful ally in skin hydration and health. The seeds of the noni fruit are especially rich in linoleic acid, which is absorbed easily through the skin.
Noni fruit is about the size of a small potato, with a bumpy surface and flesh that has a cheesy, somewhat unpleasant odor when ripe. Historically, Polynesian practitioners of traditional medicine recommended noni to treat many health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, various types of infections and generalized aches and pains. Noni is also part of the practice of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, in which it has been used for centuries as a topical treatment to protect the skin from sun damage.
Juice made from Boni Berries Fruit provides some nutrients, mostly carbohydrate in the form of two simple sugars, fructose and glucose, along with a small amount of protein. One hundred grams of juice, or about 3.5 ounces of liquid, provides about 10 grams of carbohydrate and 0.5 grams of protein. The juice also contains vitamin C, vitamin E and several of the B vitamins, and a small amount of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Noni juice provides some calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron as well, and is a good source of potassium, with up to 150 milligrams per 100 grams, depending on the source of the juice. Noni fruit and juice also contain several natural, biologically active componant that may be responsible for the fruit’s possible health benefits.
Noni contains about 160 natural plant compounds called phytochemicals. These include chemicals called glycosides, organic acids, terpenes and alkaloids. Some of these compounds may inhibit growth of bacteria, including those that cause tuberculosis and salmonella infections. Noni components may also have anti-cancer properties and might boost the immune system, helping suppress the growth of cancer. A study published in “Cancer Research” found that two compounds from noni fruit suppressed growth of cultured cancer cells in the laboratory. Another study in “Phytotherapy Research” concluded that the anti-tumor activity of noni juice in laboratory animals was due to improved performance of the animals’ immune systems. These are promising results that need confirmation in studies on human subjects.
Noni juice, noni extract and noni powder in capsules are generally available. Topical gels, soaps and facial cleansers containing noni are also available. Although noni-based products are generally considered safe. In addition, if you consume noni juice, it may cause your urine to become pink or reddish in color. Discuss noni juice and supplements with your health care practitioner to decide if they are appropriate for your situation.