Morinda citrifola, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India), dog dumpling (Barbados), mengkudu (Indonesia and Malaysia), apatot (Philippines), kumudu (Bali), pace (Java), beach mulberry, cheese fruit, or noni (Hawaii), is a fruit native to Southeast Asia and Australasia. It is green at first, then turns yellow as it ripens, giving off a pungent odor. Weaver ants are attracted to it, which protects the plant from plant-parasitic insects.
It is most commonly sold in juice form. There are different types, such as unsweetened, sweetened, diluted with grape or other berry juices, or even noni powder mixed with water or juice. The best kind would be unsweetened, with pulp. Additives such as sweeteners and preservatives will cancel out the effects it has on your body, making it redundant; the pulp contains the most nutrients. Noni has a bad reputation of being a spam product, from ads saying that it is a cure-all. This is not true, and most of the products on the market are indeed hurting more than helping.
Nevertheless, noni may be what you are looking for to help alleviate pain or boost your immune system. Here are the 10 most important benefits this fruit has in detail.
1. Analgesic – Noni has the nicknames of “The Tree For Headaches” or “The Painkiller Tree”. Studies have shown that noni reduced pain comparable to the drugs tramadol and hydrocortisone, making it effective for arthritic and other joint pains.
2. Immune system booster – Noni activates macrophages and strengthens the immune system, which then produces more lymphocytes. It also contains antibacterial agents that fight infectious bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
3. Antidepressant/sedative – Noni stimulates seratonin and melatonin, two very important hormones. Seratonin affects mood, emotions, and sleep; imbalance in levels of serotonin may contribute to depression. Melatonin regulates the Circadian rhythm, which helps you sleep; keeping this regular will help you get a good night’s rest, also improving your mood.
4. Skincare/hair – Noni’s properties are useful on skin and scalp conditions, such as eczema and ringworm; also rubbed on scalp for lustrous hair; and will keep your skin young. Just rub some juice on affected skin/scalp, leave on for 15 minutes, rinse off. Ingestion of juice may help your nails to grow stronger.
5. Anti-tumor/anti-cancer – Noni stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an extremely useful substance, one that is at the base of many of noni’s benefits. In this case, it reduces tumor growth and helps your body fight against the cancerous replication of cells. It also contains an immunomodulatory polysaccharide rich substance known as noni-ppt that further fights cancer. The immune boosting properties I mentioned in an above section are also a great help. One more thing that’s important are the amount of phytochemicals in noni that fight cancer. Phytochemicals are found in vegetables and herbs, if eaten regularly will build up preventive amounts. In the case of cancer already being present, noni and other plants with high amonts will slow, stop, or totally reverse the cancer process.
6. Hypertension – Noni is high in phytonutrients, selenium, and vitamin C, which fights free radical damage on blood vessel walls; scopoletin, a compound that may lower blood pressure; it is alkaline, which keeps bodily fluids from becoming too acidic, therefore hurting free radicals. It also has proxeronine, which is needed for the body to produce xeronine. Xeronine helps coordinate the cells to work harmonious, lowering stress and in turn, blood pressure. Also has the amino acid, tryptophan. When tryptophan enters the blood stream and goes to cells, it helps produce other substances that are important, such as even more seratonin, which is great for lowering blood pressure by way of its relaxing effect.
7. Cholesterol – Noni prevents the absorption of LDL cholesterol, thus reducing plaque in arteries, keeping you healthy and alive longer.
8. Memory – Noni, as mentioned before, prevents absorption of cholesterol by way of its large amount of phytosterols. This directly helps your brain stay healthier, and plaque does not build up in arteries feeding the brain, keeping it properly oxygenated.
9. Irritable Bowel Syndrome/constipation – Noni is high in soluble fiber, which helps ease the strain on your intestines and softens stool. Also has necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your intestines healthy.
10. Antibacterial/antifungal/antiviral – Noni has properties to fight infections comparable to that of prescription drugs. It contains anthraquinones, scopoletin, and terpenes, among others all work together to fight diseases.
Source et al:
Ahmad, V.U., and Bano, S. (1980). Isolation of beta-sitosterol and ursolic acid from Morinda citrifolia Linn. J. Chem. Soc. Pak. 2(2):71-.
Bassetti. L., and Tramper, J. (1994). Organic solvent toxicity in Morinda citrifolia cell suspensions. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 16(8) 642-648.
Bassetti. L., and Tramper, J. (1995). Increased anthraquinone production by Morinda citrifolia in a two-phase system with Pluronic F-68. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 17(4):353-358.
Bassetti. L., and Tramper, J. (1995). Use of non-conventional media in Morinda citrifolia cell cultures. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 43(2):93-95.
Bassetti, L., Hagendoorn, M. and Tramper, J. (1995). Surfactant-induced non-lethal release of anthraquionones from suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia. Journal of Biotechnology 39(2):149-155.
Bassetti, L., Pijnenburg, J., and Tramper, J. (1996). Silicone-stimulated anthraquinone production and release by Morinda citrifolia in a two-liquid-phase system. Biotechnology Letters 18(4):377-382.
Daniel EM, Krupnick AS, Heur Y, Blinzler JA, Nims RW, Stoner, GD (1989). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, vol 2, pp. 338-349.
Doernenburg, H., and Knorr, D. (1994). Elicitation of chitinases and anthraquinones in Morinda citrifolia cell cultures. Food Biotechnology New York 8(1):57-65.
Doernenburg, H., and Knorr, D. (1994). Effectiveness of plant-derived and microbial polysaccharides as elicitors for anthraquinone synthesis in Morinda citrifolia cultures. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42(4):1048-1052.
Fong, S.T., Johnson, A., Ho, C-T., Csiszar, K. Extracts of Morinda citrifolia (noni) exhibit selective anti-tumor activity against breast and colon carcinoma cell lines. Poster presented at: Building Bridges with Traditional Knowledge Summit meeting; May 30, 2001; Honolulu, HI.
Heinicke, R.M. (1985). The pharmacologically active ingredient of noni. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden Bulletin 15:10-14.
Hagendoorn, M.J.M., Van Der Plas, L.H.W., and Segers, G.J. (1994). Accumulation of anthraquinones in Morinda citrifolia cell suspensions: A model system for the study of the interaction between secondary and primary metabolism. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 38(2-3):227-234.
Hagendoorn, M.J.M., Jamar, D.C.L., Meykamp, B., and Van Der Plas, L.H.W. (1997). Cell division versus secondary metabolite production in Morinda citrifolia cell suspensions. Journal of Plant Physiology 150(3):325-330.
Hiramatsu T, Imoto M, Koyano T, Umezawa K. (1993). Induction of normal phenotypes in ras-transformed cells by damnacanthal from Morinda citrifolia; Cancer Lett. 73(2-3):161-6.
Hirazumi, A.Y. (1997). Antitumor studies of a traditional Hawaiian medicinal plant, Morinda citrifolia (noni), in vitro and in vivo. [doctoral dissertation]. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i.
Hirazumi, A., Fususawa, E. (1999). An immunomodulatory polysaccharide-rich substance from the fruit
juice of Morinda citrifolia (noni) with anti-tumor activity. Phytotherapy Res 13:380-7.
Hirazumi, A., Furusawa, E., Chou, S.C., Hokama, Y. (1996). Immunomodulation contributes to anti-cancer activity of Morinda citrifolia (noni) fruit juice. Proc West Pharm Soc. 39:7-9.
Hirazumi, A., Furusawa, E., Chou, S.C., Hokama, Y. (1994). Anticancer activity of Morinda citrifolia (noni) on intraperitoneally implanted Lewis lung carcinoma in syngenic mice. Proc West Pharm Soc. 37:145-6
Hiwasa, T., Arase, Y., Chen, Z., Kita, K., Umezawa, K., Ito, H., Suzuki, N. (1999). Stimulation of ultraviolet-induced apoptosis of human fibroblast UVr-1 ceclls by tyrosine kinase inhibitors. FEBS-Letters. 444(2-3): 173-176.
Inoue, K., Nayeshiro, H., Inouye, H., and Zenk, M. (1981). Anrthraquinones in cell suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia. Phytochemistry 20:1693-1700.
Issell, B. The Noni Study. (2001). Honolulu, HI: Cancer Research Center of Hawai‘i, Clinical Studies, www.hawaii.edu/crch/CenStudyNoni.htm.
Kiernan, P.M., O’Donnell, H.J., Malone, D.M., and Macloughlin, P.F. (1995). Fluid shear effects on suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 45(5):415-425.
Leistner, E. (1975). Isolation, identification and biosynthesis of anthraquinones in cell suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia [Article in German] Planta Med Suppl:214-24.
Levland, 0, & Larson, H.O. (1979). Some Chemical Constituents of Morinda citrifolia (Noni); Planta Medica, 36: 186 -87.
Liu, G., Bode, A., Ma, W.Y., Sang, S., Ho, C-T., Dong, Z. (2001). Two novel glycosides from the fruits of Morinda citrifolia (noni) inhibit AP-1 transactivation and cell transformation in the mouse epidermal JB6 cell line. Can Res. 61:5749-56.
Limyati, D.A., Juniar, B.L. (1998). Jamu Gendong, a kind of traditional medicine in Indonesia: the microbial contamination of its raw materials and endproduct. J Ethnopharmacol 63(3):201-8
Moorthy, N.K., and Reddy, G.S. (1970). Preliminary phytochemical and pharmacological study of Morinda citrifolia. Antisecptic 3:167-171.
Mueller, B.A., Scott , M.K., Sowinski, K.M., and Prag, K.A. (2000). Noni juice (Morinda citrifolia): hidden potential for hyperkalemia? Am J Kidney Dis. 35(2):330-2.
Narayanan B.A., Geoffrey, O., Willingham, M.C., Re, G.G., and Nixon, D.W. (1999). Cancer Letters, vol 136, pp.215-221.
O’Driscoll, D., Wilson, G., and Steer, M.W. (1991). Lucifer yellow and fluorescein isothiocyanate uptake by cells of Morinda citrifolia in suspension cultures is not confined to the endocytotic pathway. Journal of Cell Science 100(1):237-242.
Peerzada, N., Renaud, S., and Ryan, P. (1990). Vitamin C and elemental composition of some bushfruits. Journal of Plant Nutrition 13(7):787-784.
Raj, R.K. (1975). Screening of indigenous plants for anthelmintic action against human Ascaris lumbricoides: Part–II. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 19(1):UNKNOWN.
Rusia, K., and Srivastava, S.K. (1989). A new athraquinone from the roots of Morinda citrifolia Linn. Curr. Sci. 5:248-
Sang, S., Cheng, X., Zhu, N., Stark, R.E., Badmaev, V., Ghai. G., Rosen, R.T., and Ho, C.T. (2001). Flavonol glycosides and novel iridoid glycoside from the leaves of Morinda citrofolia. J. Agric. Food Chem. 49 (9):44778-4481.
Sang, S., Cheng, X., Zhu, N., Wang, M., Jhoo, J.W., Stark, R.E., Badmaev, V., Ghai, G., Rosen, R.T., and Ho, C.T. (2001). Iridoid glycosides from the leaves of Morinda citrifolia. J. Nat. Prod. 64 (6):799-800.
Sang, S., He, K., Liu, G., Zhu, N., Cheng, X., Wang, M., Zheng, Q., Dong, Z., Ghai, G., Rosen, R.T., and Ho, C.T. (2001). A new unusual iridoid with inhibition of activator protein-1 (AP-1) from the leaves of Morinda citrifolia L. Org. Lett. 3(9):1307-1309.
Singh, J. and Tiwari, R.D. (1976). Flavone glycosides from the flowers of Morinda citrifolia. J. Indian Chem. Soc. 53:424-.
Simonsen, J.L. (1920). Constituents of Morinda citrifolia. J. Chem. Soc. 117:561-564.
Sugiura, K., Stock, C.C. (1955). Studies in a tumor spectrum. III. The effect of phosphoramides on the growth of a variety of mouse and rat tumors. Can Res. 15:38-51.
Srivastava, M., and Singh, J. 1993. A new glycoside from Morinda citrifolia. Int. J. Pharmacol 31 3:182-184.
Sylvester, Edward, J. (1986). Target Cancer. Charles Scribner’s Sons, N.Y.
Tiwari, R.D., and Singh, J. (1977). Structual study of the anthraquinone glycoside from the flowers of Morinda citrifolia. J. Indian Chem. Soc. 45: 429-.
Van der Plas, L.H.W., Hagendoorn, M.J.M., Jamar, D.C.L. (1998). Anthraquinone glycosylation and hydrolysis in Morinda citrifolia cell suspensions: Regulation and function. Journal of Plant Physiology 152(2-3):235-241.
Wang, M., Kikuzaki, H., Csiszar, K., Boyd, C.D., Maunakea, A., Fong, S.F., Ghai, G., Rosen, R.T., Nakatani, N., Ho, C.T. (1999). Novel trisaccharide fatty acid ester identified from the fruits of Morinda citrifolia (Noni). J Agric Food Chem. 47:4880-2.
Wang, M., Kikuzaki, H., Jin, Y., Nakatani, N., Zhu, N., Csiszar, K., Boyd, C.D., Rosen, R.T., Ghai, G., Ho, C.T. (2000). Novel glycosides from noni (Morinda citrifolia). J Nat Prod. 63:1182–3.
Wang, M. Y., and Su, C. (2001). Cancer preventive effect of Morinda citrifolia (Noni). Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 952:1610168.
Younos, C., Rolland, A., Fleurentin, J., Lanhers, M.C., Misslin, R., Mortier, F. (1990). Analgesic and behavioral effects of Morinda citrifolia; Planta Med. 56(5):430-4.
Zenk, M.H., el-Shagi, H., Schulte, U. (1975). Anthraquinone production by cell suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia. Planta Med Suppl:79-101.