name = Great morinda, Noni

image_width = 230px
image_caption = Leaves, flowers, and fruit of "Morinda citrifolia"
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Gentianales
familia = Rubiaceae
genus = "Morinda"
species = "M. citrifolia"
binomial = "Morinda citrifolia"
binomial_authority = L.

"Morinda citrifolia", commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, beach mulberry, Tahitian noni, cheese fruit [ [ Plants by Common Name - James Cook University] ] or noni (from Hawaiian) is a tree in the family Rubiaceae. "Morinda citrifolia" is native to Southeast Asia but has been extensively spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, Pacific islands, French Polynesia, and recently the Dominican Republic. Tahiti remains the most prominent growing location.

Growing habitats

Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4-8 kg of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to 9 m tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves.

The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as "cheese fruit" or even "vomit fruit". It is oval and reaches 4-7 cm in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food [cite book | author = Krauss, BH | title = Plants in Hawaiian Culture | year = 1993 | publisher = University of Hawaii Press|location = Honolulu] and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. [ cite journal | author = Morton, JF | title = The Ocean-Going Noni, or Indian Mulberry (Morinda citrifolia,Rubiaceae) and Some of its "Colorful" Relatives | year = 1992 | journal = Economic Botony | volume = 46 | issue = 3 | pages = 241–256 | location = New York] Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted.

The noni is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests out of the leaves of the tree. These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds.


Nutritional information for noni fruit is reported by the College of Tropical Agriculture, University of Hawaii at Mānoa who published analyses of fruit powder and pure juice.


Analyzed as a whole fruit powder, [ [ University of Hawaii nutrient analysis on noni fruit powder] ] noni fruit has excellent levels of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, providing 55% and 100% of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), respectively, in a 100 g serving. A good source of protein (12% DRI), noni pulp is low in total fats (4% DRI).

These macronutrients evidently reside in the "fruit pulp", as noni "juice" has sparse amounts of macronutrients. [ [ University of Hawaii nutrient analysis on noni juice] ]


The main micronutrient features of noni pulp powder include exceptional vitamin C content (10x DRI) and substantial amounts of niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium. [ The Noni Website - Chemical Constituents of Noni ] ] Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts.

When noni juice alone is analyzed and compared to pulp powder, only vitamin C is retained at a high level, 42% of DRI.

Nutrient analyses for a major brand of noni juice (Tahitian Noni Juice, TNJ) were published in 2002 by the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission on Health and Consumer Protection [ [ Nutrient composition of Tahitian Noni Juice] ] during a test for public safety of TNJ. TNJ ingredients include noni purée and juice concentrates from grapes and blueberries.

For antimicrobial purposes, TNJ must be subjected to the high temperatures of pasteurization which essentially nullifies most of the nutrient content of the natural purée.

Excepting vitamin C content at 31% of DRI in each 100g, TNJ has limited nutritional content. 100g of juice provides 8% of the DRI for carbohydrates, only traces of other macronutrients and low or trace levels of 10 essential vitamins, 7 essential dietary minerals and 18 amino acids.

Although the most significant nutrient feature of noni pulp powder or juice is its high vitamin C content, this level in TNJ provides only about half the vitamin C of a raw navel orange. [ World's Healthiest Foods, in-depth nutrient analysis of a raw orange] ] Sodium levels in TNJ (about 3% of DRI) are multiples of those in an orange. Although the potassium content appears relatively high for noni, this total is only about 3% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance and so would not be considered excessive. TNJ is otherwise similar in micronutrient content to a raw orange.


The history of published medical research on noni phytochemicals numbers only around a total of 110 reports which began appearing in the 1950s (searched in September 2008). Just since 2000, over 100 publications on noni have been published in medical literature, defining a relatively young research field. Noni research is at a preliminary stage, as it is mainly still in the laboratory as in vitro or basic animal experiments.

Noni fruit contains phytochemicals for which there are no established DRI values. Examples:

* lignans - a group of phytoestrogens having biological activities shown by in vitro experiments [Saleem et al. (2005). An update on bioactive plant lignans. Nat Prod Rep 22:696-716.] [Deng S, Palu AK, West BJ, et al. (2007). Lipoxygenase Inhibitory Constituents of the Fruits of Noni (Morinda citrifolia) Collected in Tahiti. J Nat Prod 70(5):859-862.] [Lin CF, Ni CL, Huang YL, et al. (2007). Lignans and anthraquinones from the fruits of Morinda citrifolia. Natural Product Research 21(13):1199-1204.]
* oligo- and polysaccharides – long-chain sugar molecules that serve a prebiotic function as dietary fiber fermentable by colonic bacteria, yielding short chain fatty acids with numerous potential health properties not yet defined by scientific research on noni
* flavonoids – phenolic compounds such as rutin and asperulosidic acid, common in several Rubiaceae plants
* iridoids - secondary metabolites found in many plants
* trisaccharide fatty acid esters, "noniosides" - resulting from combination of an alcohol and an acid in noni fruit
* free fatty acids - most prominent in noni fruit are caprylic and hexanoic acids, responsible for unique pungent (cheese-like) aroma of ripe noni fruit [Levand O, Larson HO. Some chemical constituents of "Morinda citrifolia". Planta Medica 36(2):186-187.]
* scopoletin – may have antibiotic activities; research is preliminary
* catechin and epicatechin [Mohd Zin Z, Abdul Hamid A, Osman A, et al. (2007). Isolation and identification of antioxidative compound from fruit of mengkudu (Morinda citrifolia L.). International Journal of Food Properties 10(2):363-373.]
* beta-sitosterol – a plant sterol with potential for anti-cholesterol activity not yet proven in human research
* damnacanthal – a potentially toxic anthraquinone, putatively an inhibitor of HIV viral proteins
* alkaloids – naturally occurring amines from plants. Some internet references mention xeronine or proxeronine as important noni constituents. However, as no reports on either of these substances exist in published medical literature, the terms are scientifically unrecognized. Further, chemical analysis of commercially processed "juice" did not reveal presence of any alkaloids. [ [ Palu AK, Seifulla RD, West BJ. Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) improves athlete endurance: Its mechanisms of action. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research 2(7):154-158.] ]

Although there is evidence from in vitro studies and laboratory models for bioactivity of each of the above phytochemicals, the research remains at best preliminary and too early to conclude anything about human health benefits provided by noni or its juice. Furthermore, these phytochemicals are not unique to noni, as nearly all exist in various plant foods.

Laboratory experiments demonstrated that dietary noni juice increased physical endurance in mice. [Ma DL, West BJ, Su CX, Gao JH, Liu TZ, Liu YW. Evaluation of the ergogenic potential of noni juice. Phytotherapy Research. 2007 Nov; 21(11):1100-1101] A pilot study in distance runners showed increased endurance capacity following daily intake of noni juice over three weeks, an effect the authors attributed to increased antioxidant status. [ [ Palu AK, Seifulla RD, West BJ. Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) improves athlete endurance: Its mechanisms of action. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research 2(7):154-158.] ]


Although noni's reputation for uses in folk medicine extends over centuries,cite journal | author = McClatchey, Will
year = 2002 | title = From Polynesian Healers to Health Food Stores: Changing Perspectives of Morinda citrifolia (Rubiaceae) | journal = Integrative Cancer Therapies | volume = 1 | issue = 2 | pages = 110–120 | url =
doi = 10.1177/1534735402001002002 | pmid = 14664736
] no medical applications as those discussed below have been verified by modern science.

In China, Samoa, Japan, and Tahiti, various parts of the tree (leaves, flowers, fruits, bark, roots) serve as tonics and to contain fever, to treat eye and skin problems, gum and throat problems as well as constipation, stomach pain, or respiratory difficulties.Fact|date=July 2007 In Malaysia, heated noni leaves applied to the chest are believed to relieve coughs, nausea, or colic.Fact|date=July 2007

The noni fruit is taken, in Indochina especially, for asthma, lumbago, and dysentery.Fact|date=July 2007 As for external uses, unripe fruits can be pounded, then mixed with salt and applied to cut or broken bones.Fact|date=July 2007 In Hawaii, ripe fruits are applied to draw out pus from an infected boil. The green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome have traditionally been used to treat menstrual cramps and irregularities, among other symptoms, while the root has also been used to treat urinary difficulties.

The bark of the great morinda produces a brownish-purplish dye for batik making; on the Indonesian island of Java, the trees are cultivated for this purpose. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its root in order to dye cloth. [cite book | author = Thompson, RH | title = Naturally Occurring Anthraquinones | year = 1971 | publisher = Academic Press|location = New York] The fruit is used as a shampoo in Malaysia, where it is said to be helpful against head lice.Fact|date=July 2007

There have been recent applications also for the use of oil from noni seeds.Fact|date=August 2007 Noni seed oil is abundant in linoleic acid that may have useful properties when applied topically on skin, e.g., anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention. [cite journal | coauthors = Diezel W.E., Schulz E., Skanks M., Heise H. | year = 1993 | title = Plant oils: Topical application and anti-inflammatory effects (croton oil test) | journal = Dermatol. Monatsschr | volume = 179 | pages = 173] [cite journal | coauthors = Letawe C, Boone M, Pierard GE | year = 1998 | month = March | title = Digital image analysis of the effect of topically applied linoleic acid on acne microcomedones | journal = Clinical & Experimental Dermatology | volume = 23 | issue = 2 | pages = 56–58| pmid = : 9692305 | url = | doi = 10.1046/j.1365-2230.1998.00315.x | author = Letawe,] [cite journal | coauthors=Darmstadt GL, Mao-Qiang M, Chi E, Saha SK, Ziboh VA, Black RE, Santosham M, Elias PM |year=2002|title=Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries |journal=Acta Paediatrica |volume=91 |issue=5 |pages=546–554 |accessdate=2007-01-12|doi=10.1080/080352502753711678|author=Darmstadt, G L]

In Surinam and some other countries, the tree serves as a wind-break, as support for vines and as shade for coffee trees.

ee also

*Noni juice
*Noni pill


Further reading

* cite website
coauthors = Anonymous contributions
year = 2008
title = Noni culture on
url =

*cite book
coauthors = Scot C. Nelson, Craig R. Elevitch
year = 2006
month = August
title = Noni: The Complete Guide for Consumers and Growers
pages = 112
id = ISBN 0-9702544-6-6
publisher = Permanent Agriculture Resources

* cite website
coauthors = University of Hawaii
year = 2006
title = The Noni Website
url =

*cite journal
coauthors = Kamiya K, Tanaka Y, Endang H, Umar M, Satake T
year = 2004
month = September
title = Chemical constituents of Morinda citrifolia fruits inhibit copper-induced low-density lipoprotein oxidation
journal = Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
volume = 52
issue = 19
pages = 5843–8
id = ISSN 0021-8561
doi = 10.1021/jf040114k
author = Kamiya, K.

*cite web
author = Thomas, Chris
date = August 30, 2002
title = Noni No Miracle Cure
url =
publisher =

*cite web
author = Anthony, Mark
title = Noni or NIMBY?
url =
publisher =

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  • noni — [ nəʊni] noun 1》 a tropical evergreen shrub native to southern and SE Asia and the Pacific islands. [Morinda citrifolia.] 2》 the fruit of the noni, used medicinally to stimulate the immune system and as a detoxifying agent. Origin Tahitian …   English new terms dictionary

  • noni — indinė morinda statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Raudinių šeimos dažinis, dekoratyvinis, vaistinis augalas (Morinda citrifolia), paplitęs pietų ir rytų Azijoje ir Australijoje. atitikmenys: lot. Morinda citrifolia angl. Indian mulberry; noni; …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • noni — noun ˈnoʊni a) The Polynesian fruit tree Morinda citrifolia b) The fruit of Morinda citrifolia, or a juice made from this fruit that is supposed to have healthful qualities …   Wiktionary

  • noni — mat. inf. Sueño …   Diccionario Lunfardo

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  • NONI — Nonis, Nonius …   Abbreviations in Latin Inscriptions

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