The morinda herb (Morinda citrifolia L.) has been used in folk medicine by Polynesians for more than 2,000 years. A prized herb of Hawaii and the South Pacific, it is often confused with the “moringa herb,” which offers a few of the same benefits, but is native to the sub-Himalayan areas of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The morinda herb, a small evergreen tree or shrub, is native to Southeastern Asia (Indonesia) to Australia.
A member of the rubiaceae (rubioideae) coffee family, the morinda herb now has a pantropical distribution, according to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).
Other names for the morinda herb include: Grand Morinda (Vietnam), Cheesefruit (Australia), Lada (Guam), Bumbo (Africa), Indian Mulberry (India), Mengkudo (Malaysia), Nono (Tahiti and Raratonga), Polynesian Bush Fruit, Nhau (Southeast Asia), Kura (Fiji), and Painkiller Tree (Caribbean islands). In the U.S., the herb is known as “noni.”
Besides being prized in Hawaii and the South Pacific, morinda is gaining marked popularity in the U.S. mainland—and not just among natural and alternative medicine practitioners. The mainstream public has been introduced to noni juice, as well as noni supplements and drops through well-known vitamin shops and natural food grocers, neighborhood health food stores, and even health clubs and spas. While several forms have been introduced, noni juice is the most popular way to consume the herb in the U.S.
Morinda (Noni) Benefits
Just about every part of the morinda plant has traditional and/or modern uses. Some of the most popular uses include:
- Flowers (medicinal)
- Roots and Bark (medicinal, red & yellow dye)
- Trunks (tools, firewood)
- Fruits, Seeds, Leaves (food, medicines)
Although all parts of the plant are highly beneficial, the fruit is believed to be the herbs most valuable asset.
The fruit of the morinda herb has the amazing ability to cleanse the intestinal tract and enhance colon health, making it perfect for seasonal cleansers and once-a-month rejuvenation fasters. The herb is also a hit with advanced juicers and detoxers of all kinds, as well as individual’s seeking a little “regularity” in their daily lives. Morinda advocates say that not only does morinda help cleanse your system and enhance health, it can actually assist in treating just about any digestive disorder you can think of. Diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and intestinal parasites are just a few.
Morinda is also used to help treat a number of other conditions and diseases such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), addiction, allergies, arthritis, asthma, burns, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, immune deficiency, infections, inflammation, joint and muscle pain, diabetes, and even cancer.
In fact, just one of the many morinda studies published by the National Center for
Biotechnology Information (NCBI) showed that consuming 10% Tahitian Noni Liquid Dietary Supplement or Tahitian Noni Juice (TNJ) in drinking water for one week was able to prevent DMBA-DNA adduct formation. DMBA (or 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene) is a formidable organ-specific carcinogen and immunosuppressor utilized in research laboratories to study cancer. The study concluded that, “the results suggest that prevention of carcinogen-DNA adduct formation and the antioxidant activity of TNJ may contribute to the cancer preventive effect of Morinda citrifolia.”
How to Use Morinda (Noni)
To enjoy the medicinal and body cleansing benefits of morinda without any side effects, practitioners suggest taking noni on an empty stomach. According to Master Herbalist Rita Elkins, the process of digesting food can interfere with the medicinal value of the alkaloid compounds found in noni, specifically in its fruit. Noni should not be taken with alcohol, coffee, or nicotine. Practitioners also suggest opting for the semi-ripe or light-green fruit instead of the ripe, whitish fruit. If you choose to take noni supplements, prepared juices or drops, read the labels to make sure they are made from the suggested options.
Morinda tastes like apple cider vinegar and jackfruit, with a hint of onion and a salty aftertaste. If you are trying morinda for the first time, try roughly an ounce in 4 to 6 ounces of pure water. You can adjust the amount of water to your taste. Pay close attention to how your system reacts. If all is well, you may increase the amount of morinda to several ounces in water a day. Many seasoned noni drinkers take it straight. If you prefer supplements or drops, start with the lowest dose possible first and follow the same directions above.
Keep in mind that higher doses are typically used in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.