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What Is Noni?

The scientific name for Noni is Morinda Citrifolia L. Rubiaceae, also commonly known as Indian mulberry. It is native to Asia, Australia, and some Pacific Islands. It is best known to be grown in Coastal areas. The salt air enhances the potency of the Noni fruit. Therefore, the fruit that is used comes only from Coastal areas.

 

Noni plants grow as a shrub or a tree seldom more than 10 feet tall. It has shiny, dark green leaves about eight inches long. The fruits resemble small breadfruits that turn yellow and have a strong, pungent odor when ripe.

Recently, Noni has been regaining popularity as an herbal treatment and is beginning to show resurgence as a cultivated plant.

History

Noni was brought and introduced into the Hawaiian Islands by Pacific Islanders before the arrival of European-American explorers and adventurers. Polynesians transported it to Hawaii to use the leaves, fruit, and bark as medicine. The Noni fruit was an integral part of ancient Hawaiian folk medicine.

A common practice was placing ripen fruits into containers and left in the sun for several days to allow the juice to seep out. The extracted juice was diluted with water and taken as a drink before meals and between resting times.

Noni had other uses as well. Oil was extracted from the fruit for hair, bark was used to produced red dye, and the root was used to produce yellow dye. This provided the ink that was used for the production of Kapa (bark cloth).

 

In times of famine the fruit was boiled and eaten. To this day Polynesians, including Fijians, eat the fruit both raw and cooked.

During the 1840s to 1920s, several medicinal manuscripts recorded by native people mention very limited use for Noni, which is contrary to more recent publications claiming for Noni to be an ancient or traditional medicine.

Publications since the 1970s claim that most parts of the plant (leaves, fruit, steam, bark and root) are used for medicines.

Interesting fact: Noni was displayed at the Samson exhibit of medicinal herbs during the Smithsonian Institute’s Hawaii Day held at Magic Island.

 

Benefits

The Hawaiians used Noni for diabetes, heart trouble, high blood pressure, kidney, and bladder disorders. It has been reported to be used for more serious ailments and now seems to be the latest remedy.

The plant is used as a poultice, which is applied to sores, cuts, and boils (similar to the use of magnesium sulfate).

The Hawaiians also used the Noni leaves for diarrhea, menstrual problems, and fever. In the Caribbean, the leaves are steamed and applied topically for aches, pains, and tendentious.

The fruit is also mashed and consumed for ulcers.

 

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