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