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Noni, Morinda citrifolia
Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, Nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India) , Mengkudu (Malaysia), beach mulberry, Tahitian noni, cheese fruit or noni (from Hawaiian) is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Morinda citrifolia is native to Southeast Asia but has been extensively spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, Pacific islands, French Polynesia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and recently the Dominican Republicmarker. Tahitimarker remains the most prominent growing location.

Growing habitats

Noni Flower
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 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 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 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 and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. 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.

Nutrients

Noni fruit powder is high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber. According to the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Mānoamarker, a 100 g sample of the powder contains 71% carbohydrate and 36% fiber. The sample also contained 5.2% protein and 1.2% fat.

These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as noni juice has sparse amounts of macronutrients.

The main micronutrients of noni pulp powder include 9.8 mg of vitamin C per 1200 mg sample, as well as 0.048 mg niacin (vitamin B3), 0.02 mg iron and 32.0 mg potassium. 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, 33.6 mg per 100 g of juice.

Although the most significant nutrient feature of noni pulp powder or juice is its high vitamin C content, noni fruit juice provides only about half the vitamin C of a raw navel orange. Sodium levels in noni juice (about 3% of DRI) are high compared to 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. Noni juice is otherwise similar in micronutrient content to a raw orange.

Noni fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacanthal, and alkaloids. Although these substances have been studied for bioactivity, current research does not conclude anything about their effects on human health.

Uses

Noni was explored unsuccessfully by medical researchers for possible use in treating cancer.

In Hawaii, ripe fruits were once applied to draw out pus from an infected boil. Although unsupported by science, the green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome were traditionally used to treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities and urinary tract infections.The bark of the great morinda produces a brownish-purplish dye for batik making; on the Indonesianmarker island of Javamarker, the trees are cultivated for this purpose. In Hawaiimarker, yellowish dye is extracted from its root in order to dye cloth.

There have been recent applications for the use of oil from noni seeds. 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.

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

Gastronomy

In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

See also



References

Further reading



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