December 29, 2016

Indigenous Ingredient of the Month – Noni

The noni plant (Noni – Morinda citrifolia) is a small evergreen shrub or tree that grows from three to six metres in any mild tropical area.  It’s a pretty  bush, and the fruit looks like a huge green-white mulberry that never goes red. I love the bush until  the fruit is ripe and begins to drop all over the place and then, beware, the stench of blue cheese will permeate the garden!  A few of my neighbours have them growing and swear by the juice to prevent and cure arthritis but you have to be brave to drink it.

In the tropical jungles and in the wild, this is a great understorey plant and birds and insects love it.

The noni plant has a straight trunk, large elliptical leaves, white tubular flowers and yellow fruits of up to 12 cm in diameter.

All parts of the noni plant can be used: roots, stems, bark, leaves, and flowers and the fruit. You pulp it up in a blender or food processor, dilute in enough fruit juice to kill the taste (you need lots for that!) and have a glass of it with every meal.  The apparently you will be cured of everything in the known universe.  This includes (without any scientific testing though) colds, cancer, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, pain, skin infection, high blood pressure, mental depression, atherosclerosis and arthritis.  You can apparently make poultices from the roots and make a tea which may assist is shrinking tumours. The medicinal properties of Noni (Indian mulberry, nono, nonu, cheese fruit, Ba Ji Tian) were discovered over 2000 years ago in the Hawaiian Islands after they imported the seeds from Southeast Asia. A similar phenomenon was reported in Mexico when the Malaysians and Indonesians settled in Acapulco.  Today the noni fruit is available in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and Australia and Europe and USA.  It was approved by the European Commission in 2003 as a ‘novel food’ and was allowed to be commercialized in the EU having not been used to a significant degree in the EU before May 15, 1997. It was rigorously assessed for safety but medical claims are not substantiated yet.

In some areas you can get a therapeutic goods tax break for growing noni! (Just as you can for ti-tree oil).
I think maybe the adrenalin rush you get from skolling something so putrid may be the cure!

It contains Octoanoic acid, Scopoletin, Damnacanthal, Terpenoids, Anthraquinones, Caproic acid, Ursolic acid, Rutin

The noni contain the antibacterial compounds in the fruits (acubin, L-asperuloside and alizarin) and roots (anthrauinones). Noni conatins scopoletin which inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli, which is responsible for intestinal infections, and Heliobacter pylori, which causes ulcers.

Damnacanthal, which is found in the noni roots, inhibits the tyrosine kinase and has been reported to have antitumor activity.

The fruit grows wild in the tropics, almost like a weed and there is absolutely no justification for the high prices that people pay in health food stores, particularly given its non-proven-tested status.  So I would advise anyone wanting to integrate it into their own health diet to grow a bush.  One bush owned by my neighbour allows her to bottle and sell enough for a nice little hobby income and she charges about 1/6th the prices charged by mail order sellers.

Cultivation is so easy.  Grow from seed (preferred) or stem cutting into clean, nematode free soil. If you have nematodes, then grown a cleansing crop of marigolds  prior to planting and sell the marigolds to people for Day of the Dead celebrations!!  Then plant the Noni!

An excellent reference is:

http://www.noni-fruits.com/GrowNoniTree.html

Also read about noni on Coconut Girl Wireless – a Hawai’ian with some great advice handed down in her family! She has a great idea for reef cut and avoiding staph in warmer climates.

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Comments

  1. It is truly a wonderful plant.

    • You’re right! It is a great plant – I am yet to try it for all the healing effects. I do know that if I get any kind of coral cuts or gashes I will be tracking down noni for sure!