Noni is the fruit of the Morinda citrifolia tree, which is native to the regions of Southeast Asia and Australia. The noni tree is a member of the coffee family, and is known by different names in different parts of the world. Some of the common names of this tree are, Indian mulberry, great morinda, cheese fruit, and beach mulberry.
The noni tree can reach a height of about 12 feet. The noni fruit is green in color, but eventually becomes yellowish green when ripened. The fruit can take about 3 months on an average to ripen. Noni fruits are nowadays increasingly used for making nutritional supplements (mainly noni juice).
The numerous health benefits of noni can be mainly attributed to the fact that it contains a number of phytochemicals, such as terpenoids, rutin, octoanoic acid, ursolic acid, damnacanthal, and caproic acid. It also contains scopoletin and proxeronine.
The proxeronine found in noni is converted into xeronine by an enzyme found in the human body, if the fruit is taken on an empty stomach. The compound xeronine, is believed to have several benefits for human health. Some of the most noteworthy benefits of this fruit are given below.
- In the traditional medicine, this fruit is mainly used for alleviating menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections, and bowel problems.
- An important fact about noni juice is that it contains antibacterial compounds, which means that it can help control the growth of bacteria, including the Salmonella and Helicobacter pylori. The compound scopoletin, found in noni can also help inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli.
- Noni is immensely rich in vitamin C and many other powerful antioxidants, which can neutralize the free radicals, and protect the body cells and tissues from their harmful effects.
- Several polysaccharides can also be found in the noni fruit, which can have antibacterial, immune-boosting, and anti-tumor properties.
- The compound scopoletin found in noni can help lower blood pressure and alleviate inflammation. It can provide relief in headache, and prevent the overgrowth of fungi in the body.
- Noni juice may prove effective in lowering the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body as well.
- Noni has analgesic, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, for which it can help provide relief in conditions like arthritis.
- Apart from these, noni can protect the liver from toxins, increase the level of energy, help treat skin conditions like acne, treat gastric ulcers, reduce allergies and asthma, and provide some protection against cancer.
Some of the possible side effects that can be associated with the overconsumption of this fruit are abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation or diarrhea. The noni fruit contains a high level of potassium, and so, people with hypokalemia should avoid this fruit. Apart from these, some other possible side effects of this fruit are, cough, bloating and gas, headaches, skin rash, and heavy periods. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid taking noni for medicinal purposes without consulting their health care provider, as enough evidence is not available about the safety of using this fruit during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
To sum up, noni can have several benefits for human health, if used judiciously. An excessive consumption of this fruit can however, cause a few side effects. So, it is essential to weigh both the benefits and the side effects of this fruit, before considering to take it for therapeutic purposes. Moreover, one should always consult a physician or health care provider before taking any kind of nutritional and herbal supplementation.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.