Morinda citrifolia is a fruit-bearing tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Common English names of great morinda, Indian mulberry
The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odour when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit., noni, beach mulberry.
Morinda citrifolia is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests from the leaves of the tree. These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds
A variety of beverages (juice drinks), powders (from dried ripe or unripe fruits), cosmetic products (lotions, soaps), oil (from seeds), leaf powders (for encapsulation or pills) have been introduced into the consumer market
Noni is sometimes called a “starvation fruit”, implying it was used by indigenous peoples as emergency food during times of famine
Among Austronesian peoples, noni was traditionally used primarily for the production of dyes. Morinda bark produces a brownish-purplish dye that may be used for making batik
The smell and taste of some Noni fruit and juice are unpleasant.
When can I pick it?
The tree reaches maturity in about 18 months, then yields between 4 and 8 kg (8.8 and 17.6 lb) of fruit every month throughout the year
Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted. In Thai cuisine, the leaves (known as bai-yo) are used as a green vegetable and are the main ingredient of kaeng bai-yo, cooked with coconut milk. The fruit (luk-yo) is added as a salad ingredient to some versions of somtam.
- The main micronutrients of M. citrifolia pulp powder include vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium. Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts
- Contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate amounts
Traditional medicinal uses
(*) Please note that these health claims have not yet been verified scientifically
- Polynesian healers have used noni fruits for thousands of years to help treat a variety of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, aches, pains, burns, arthritis, inflammation, tumors, the effects of aging, and parasitic, viral, and bacterial infections
- People take noni by mouth for colic, convulsions, cough, diabetes, painful urination, stimulating menstrual flow, fever, liver disease, constipation, vaginal discharge during pregnancy, malarial fever, and nausea. It is also used for smallpox, enlarged spleen, swelling, asthma, arthritis and other bone and joint problems, cancer, cataracts, colds, depression, digestive problems, and gastric ulcers. Other uses include high blood pressure, infections, kidney disorders, migraine headache, premenstrual syndrome, stroke, pain, and sedation.
- The fruit juice is used for arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle aches and pains, menstrual difficulties, headaches, heart disease, AIDS, cancers, gastric ulcers, sprains, depression, senility, poor digestion, atherosclerosis, circulation problems, and drug addiction.
- The leaves have been used in medicines for rheumatic aches and swelling of the joints, stomachache, dysentery, and swelling caused by a parasitic infection called filariasis. The bark has been used in a preparation to aid childbirth.
- Noni is sometimes applied to the skin. It is used as a moisturizer and to reduce signs of aging. The leaves are used for arthritis by wrapping around the affected joint; for headache by applying to the forehead; and for burns, sores, and wounds by direct application. A mixture of leaves and fruit is applied to pockets of infection (abscesses), and preparations of the root are used on stonefish and sting-ray wounds, and as a smallpox salve.
Potential liver damage has been observed. People with kidney disease and unexplained potassium elevation should be cautious in their use of noni because it may increase potassium levels.
Due to its high content in potassium it needs to be monitored by patients with kidney, liver or heart problems