What is the benefit of noni juice or noni supplement products, anyway? Claims have been made that noni fruit juice or noni extract improves the immune system, ultimately healing dozens of conditions ranging from addictions to varicose veins and yeast rash. What does the scientific research say about the benefit of noni juice and noni extract supplement?
Noni fruit and cancer
Noni fruit juice contains a polysaccharide-rich substance called noni-ppt with anti-tumor activity. In a study performed at the University of Hawaii, administration of noni-ppt significantly enhanced the duration of survival of mice with lung tumor. The researchers say, “This suggests possible clinical applications of noni-ppt as a supplemental agent in cancer treatment.”
Noni and cholesterol
Reductions in total cholesterol and triglycerides have been seen in smokers who drank a product containing juice from the fruit of the noni tree every day for a month. The study was funded by the manufacturer of the product, sold as Tahitian Noni Juice. Researcher Mian-Ying Wang, MD, says she first became interested in studying noni juice in 1999 after becoming convinced that it helped reduce her pain from a wrist fracture.
Noni and diabetes
In Java, noni has been part of the treatment for diabetes. Most of the folk uses for diabetes involve chewing the leaves or a combination of the plant and leaves. Chewing mulberry leaves releases and activates large amounts of mucilage or insoluble dietary fiber. The fiber may slow the absorption of simple sugars from the gut. The effect in most patients would be a slight reduction in the peak glucose level following a meal.
Noni for energy enhancement
Evaluation of the ergogenic potential of noni juice.
Noni fruit juice is an increasingly popular health food. Traditionally, noni fruit was used by Polynesians to combat fatigue. Clinical studies have revealed that noni juice consumption improves quality of life scores related to physical functioning and energy levels. To further evaluate the ergogenic (antifatigue and endurance promoting) potential of noni juice, aged mice were pretreated orally with increasing doses (10, 20 and 40 mL/kg body weight) of Tahitian Noni Juice and then compared with young and aged controls in the forced swim test and rotarod test.
The average times of all Tahitian noni juice dose groups were significantly longer than the aged controls in both the swim test (36% to 45%) and the rotarod test (59% to 128%), and were similar to those of the young controls. This demonstrates not only an improvement in endurance but also in balance and flexibility. These results confirm the reported use of noni juice to combat fatigue, improve endurance and increase overall physical performance.
Infections and immune system
Infections are the most common applications of noni. The extract from the leaves of noni (not the fruit that renders noni juice) displayed a moderate suppression of Ascaris lumbricoides (intestinal nematodes) growth in the test tube. However, noni juice has not been shown to improve infections once symptoms have manifested, although there are anecdotal reports of patients feeling better from mild infections after using noni. Decoctions of the leaves or roots of related mulberry species may have some suppressive effect on parasitic infections.
Noni and pain
Pain, painful inflammation and swellings are the second most common usage of noni. Studies in mice have demonstrated that extracts from the root of noni (again, not rendered from the fruit) have some pain relieving and sedative activity.
Side effects of noni supplement and noni juice
In some regions of the world noni and other mulberry species are used as a laxative. Predictably, some patients using higher concentrations of noni juice may experience some diarrhea.
Although the risk of long-term adverse reactions is not currently known, it should be very low, because of the long history of mulberry species as a food in wide geographic regions. Patients with diabetes would be wise to find out the amount of sugars used to sweeten the particular product they wish to use.
There have been two reported cases in the medical literature (both in Austria) regarding liver damage due to excessive noni juice consumption. As with any herb, it is best to use low amounts.