Cure-All Juices Part 2 - Noni

G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) is an evergreen tree that grows between 10 and 20 feet tall and is often found near lava-flows in the islands of the South Pacific. It is also seen in Australia, Southeast Asia (where it is known as Yor), and India (where it is called Indian Mulberry).1

The Noni fruit is oval and around 5 cm in diameter. It is picked green, and when it begins to ripen, the color lightens to a pale yellow with an odor that is very foul-smelling. It has a long history in folk-medicine and has been used as a remedy for a number of conditions throughout the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and in parts of Australia and India.

Nutrient Content
Chemical analysis reveals Noni is high in vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B12, and the minerals iron and selenium. It has moderate amounts of potassium and calcium with trace amounts of around 10 other vitamins and minerals. There have been over 125 phytochemicals identified in Noni including plant sterols, flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids, and anthraquinones.2 Noni also contains an alkaloid precursor to xeronine, which has been named proxeronine. Many marketers state this is the key active ingredient, call it a biological modifier, and claim it has the ability to alter the structure of proteins. Independent scientific validation of these claims has yet to be confirmed in the peer-reviewed literature. What has been confirmed is that 1) in addition to vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, Noni contains amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars and 2) there is a wide variety of nutrient levels in various Noni products.3

Health Claims
Noni's ability to treat arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, menstrual problems, colds, flu, headaches, broken bones, lacerations, bruises, visual problems, depression, ulcers, cancer, and AIDS has been touted on various web sites, but the only published data on specific conditions in humans is two papers citing case studies linking Noni juice intake to liver toxicity.4,5 This is strongly contested by the marketers of Noni. Many of whom also use Noni. I found the following survey from one Noni Juice website.6

A Survey of Noni Users
91% Improved energy
89% Reduction in pain
89% Improved digestion
87% Reduction in blood pressure
85% Reduction in allergies
83% Improvement in diabetes
80% Reduction of arthritis
80% Reduction of heart problems
77% Reduction in depression
72% Weight loss

The typical therapeutic dose is 2 tablespoons (aka 1 ounce) twice daily 30 minutes before a meal.

Like the other cure-all juices we discussed last month, there is a need for studies beyond rodents and cell cultures to determine both the actual nutrient profile and what it can and cannot do for various human disorders. I urge the industry to validate claims (like those in the survey) under controlled conditions.

1 Wang M.Y., West B.J., Jensen C.J., et al. Morinda citrifolia (Noni): A literature review and recent advances in Noni research. Acta. Pharmacol. Sin. 2002;12:1127-1141.
2 Nandhasri P., Pawa K.K., et al. Nutraceutical Properties of Thai "Yor," Morinda citrifolia, "Noni" juice extract. Sung. J. Sci. Technol. 2005;27(S-2):579-86.
3 West B.J., Tolson C.B. Mineral variability among 177 commercial Noni juices. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 2006;57:556-8.
4 Millonig G., Stadlmann S., Vogel W. Herbal hepatotoxicity: Acute Hepatitis Caused by a Noni Preparation. Eur. J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2005;17:445-7.
5 Stadlbauer V., Fickert P., et al. Hepatotoxicity of Noni Juice: Report of Two Cases. World J. Gastroenterol. 2005;11:4758-60.


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