Many of us have a traditional approach to medicine – ‘If it smells bad and tastes bad, then the medication is good’. If it were for that alone, Noni is an excellent source for medicinal use.
The distinct smell that can be picked up from a good distance away; its taste is bitter; and the appearance is definitely not picture perfect. But we all grew up hearing ‘never judge a book by its cover’. The Noni fruit is a testament to this.
As far as research tells us, the history of noni is rich and varied. Noni is a fruit that has been around for nearly 2000-3000 years.
Also known as Indian Mulberry or scientifically Morinda Citrifolia, it is believed to have originated in the Southeast Asia or the French Polynesian islands. In traditional use, noni has been used both for medicinal purposes and food.
Virtually every part of the tree is used in some form or another. Different parts of noni have been used to help heal wounds, to treat infections and also to treat diabetes, fevers, skin problems, among others.
Over 40 different medicinal remedies can be identified by researchers that were used traditionally by different cultures.
Within certain South Pacific islands, many stories have been passed down about the history of noni, and the traditional and medicinal uses. The fruit has now become popular for addressing the symptoms of arthritis.
Research for this fruit is in its premature stage and as a result, it is difficult to say definitively whether the fruit is actually good for the ailments it is being used to treat.
Nonetheless, some scientists have thus far gotten positive results for the fruit in treating tumors and cancers.
In one experiment,, A group of Hawaiian researchers caused tumors to grow in mice and then injected specially prepared noni juice into their abdomens.
Mice who received the treatment survived twice as long as the untreated mice. Other scientists studying freeze-dried extract from the roots of the plant found that the substance appeared to prevent pain and induce sleep in mice.
Another team of investigators reported that compound removed from the root of the noni plant, may inhibit a chemical process that turns normal cells into cancer cells.
However, since extracted chemicals or substances are different from the raw plant, a study of an extract might not produce the same result as a study using the whole plant.
This study has been conducted on animals and will be further tested on humans to determine if the outcome will be the same.
More research is needed before it can be determined what role, if any, noni plant compounds may play in the treatment of cancer or other health conditions.
Nevertheless, from a cultural standpoint, the fruit has developed a great reputation in the herbal community for providing treatment for illnesses considered uncurable, such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
Despite the bitter taste and sometimes unpleasant smell, this fruit has a world of benefits hidden beneath its skin.