Noni

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Common Names: noni, morinda, Indian mulberry, hog apple, canarywood

Latin Names: Morinda citrifolia

Noni fruit
Noni fruit

Background

  • Noni is a small evergreen tree found from Southeastern Asia to Australia, especially in Polynesia; it often grows among lava flows.
  • Historically, many parts of the noni plant were used both externally and internally for a variety of health purposes, alone or in combination with other herbs.
  • Today, the principal part of the noni plant used for health purposes is the ripe fruit, which is used as a dietary supplement for various chronic diseases, including cancer.
  • The noni fruit is most commonly combined with other fruits to make juice. Preparations of the fruit and leaves are also available in capsules, tablets, and teas.

Information about Noni

  • Noni is a tropic fruit tree, the juice, roots, stems, bark, leaves and flowers of which have been used as medicinal remedies in Polynesia for centuries and recently in the Western world for a wide range of medical problems from cancer and diabetes to AIDs. 

Liver safety of Noni

  • A small number of isolated case reports of clinically apparent liver injury have been attributed to noni.
Noni plantation
Noni plantation

Mechanism of action of Noni

  • Morinda citrifolia is a small, tropic fruit tree commonly known as Indian Mulberry, Ba Ji Tian or Noni which has been used as a food and an herbal remedy for centuries in Polynesia and Southeast Asia.  Recently, noni has been introduced into Western herbal medicine as a “tropic fruit with 101 medical uses”, and widely advertised and sold on the internet for a wide range of disorders including cancer, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue, AIDS and senility.  Active components in noni are many and include flavonoids, glycosides, vitamins, anthraquinones and polyunsaturated fatty acids.  Studies in vitro and in animal models suggest that the active components are polysaccharide rich substances which have antitumor effects in vitro.  In clinical trials, however, noni has yet to be proven to have anticancer activity. 

FDA approval information for Noni

  • Noni juice has been marketed in the United States since 1996 and was approved as a “novel food” by the European Commission in 2003.  While considered safe, several case reports of adverse events attributed to use of noni have appeared, although often criticized because of lack of chemical analysis of the actual product to exclude misidentification and contamination.

Research

  • In laboratory research, noni has shown antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and tumor-fighting properties. These results suggest that noni may warrant further study for various diseases. However, noni has not been shown to have beneficial effects on any chronic health condition in studies of people.

Safety

Noni juice
Noni juice
  • Few side effects have been reported in studies of noni. However, several cases of liver toxicity have been reported in people who had consumed noni. It is unclear whether noni caused the liver problems.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings to noni manufacturers about making unsupported health claims.
  • Noni contains a substantial amount of potassium. People who need to restrict their intake of potassium should consult a health care provider before using noni.


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