translated from a website in French




With rare exceptions, rubiaceae are tropical plants, mainly trees and shrubs.

It is a large plant family, more than 5000 species, where we find coffee and two important mdicinal plants:
cinchona (quinine) and
cephaelis ( ipeca from which emetine is extracted).

Many rubiaceae are shrubs or decorative trees, including gardenia (jasmine) and ixora with red flowers.

Morinda citrifolia is widespread in all tropical regions, it was first described in India (hence its name) but has always had great importance in traditional medicine in the South Pacific area and particularly in Polynesia and Hawaii.
It is a small tree (3 to 6 m) easy to recognize by its fruit which, of green and hard, becomes yellow and soft in a few hours at maturity. The surface of this fruit, the noni, is irregular, formed of contiguous polygons center by a small flat area, perhaps the scar of the flower, it is more or less rounded, pyriforme, size (from 5 to 15 cm).
Ripe, noni gives off a strong,pugent, butyric smell, reminiscent of a damaged or very fermented cheese (cheese fruit).



The juice of the ripe fruit of noni is difficult to obtain by pressure because of the presence of a large quantity of mucilaginous matter, but after freezing and bursting of the cell structures then crushing, it is easy to collect an acid liquid (pH 3 to 4) which does not easily fermentate.

Chemical and pharmacological data are fragmentary and not always verified.
A team of Hawaiian researchers (A. HIRAZUMI) has shown an important immunostimulatory effect of morinda extracts in mice.
There is a significant increase in the number of days of survival in mice carrying a graft carcinoma; it seems that this "remission" is due to an increase in the activity of macrophages and / or lymphocytes.

Another Hawaiian researcher (R.HEINICKE) is exploring a different pathway and thinks there is a precursor of xeronine in noni, a compound that acts on "cellular repairing" proteins. This xeronine would be released at the intestinal level. For this researcher, noni would be an "anti-senescence" plant and would have varied pharmacological properties due to the lack of specificity of action on an organ or tissue.

Since the early 2000s, numerous studies have been conducted on anthraquinone compounds present in the NONI ROOT.

The most studied compound is "damnacanthal", which has interesting anti-cancer and analgesic properties


The Maohi have probably intentionally introduced this plant, native to Asia and Southeast Asia, into all the islands they colonized by sailing on their large double dugout canoes to Hawaii.

The natural dispersion of noni seems unlikely, indeed the seeds float but the distances between islands are enormous and there are no migratory frugivorous birds in this part of the world.

For the ancient Polynesians noni, consumable but only in times of scarcity, was to be something more than a simple plant even medicinal. What was its symbolic or religious value, we do not know. Some rare information has survived, for example the fact that on the occasion of the end of the tattooing period, the new initiates had to deposit a noni on the marae, the altar of sacrifices.

More prosaically, the green noni is an astringent, and the noni root contains anthraquinone pigments that dye the vegetable fibers yellow.

Polynesians recently used noni as a medicinal plant, alone or mixed with others:

In external use as antiseptic / antibiotic and anti-inflammatory:

the ripe fruit and leaves are applied directly to the abscesses to activate the maturation as well as to new tattoos when there is strong inflammation and beginning of infection,
the juice of the almost ripe fruit is used to calm the pain of the bites of "nohu" (scorpionfish),
fresh leaves serve as plaster on burns,
other recipes also existed to treat sorethroat (gargle or application of astringent juice of green noni) and orchi-epididymites or abscesses and inflammation of the mammary gland (plaster of green and ripe fruit).

In internal use:

Traditional treatment of "ciguatera" (intoxication by fish from coral reefs): juice of 3 green noni and 3 noni ripe mixed with coconut water,
traditional treatment of "abdominal tumors" (unspecified): green noni juice associated with peppers and fruit juice of "miro" (thespesia populnea).

In modern Polynesia, noni is still a medicinal fruit, the juice collected from a ripe noni fruit would be:

Anti-arthalgic, anti-senescence: 1 tablespoon a day every day or 8 days course (because of the risk of gastralgia),
Antibacterial : skin (acne, furunculosis): 1 to 2 tablespoons a day in cure of a few days,
The ripe fruit of noni is applied directly to the painful joints (gout attack)

Americans (USA) are interested in this medicinal plant.
During the Second World War, GIs based in BORA BORA (French Polynesia) had the opportunity to use it, advised by the Polynesians, and the plant was therefore allowed to be imported into the USA.
Currently, the fruit pulp of noni (especially those of the Marquesas Islands) or fruit powder, is added to more common fruit juices (orange, passion fruit) to make a noni drink (or morinda).
Even though US health authorities do not yet recognize noni extract as phytomedicine, the drink is nonetheless marketed as a natural fortifier, anti-senescence, immunostimulant, with the argument implied of the possible protection against cancerous degeneration.

It would be highly desirable if this plant and its fruit were pharmacologically re-evaluated because, if their immunostimulatory capacity was confirmed, MORINDA CITRIFOLIA, a robust and easy to grow , would provide a phytomedicine of primary importance.

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A fruit that smells like cheese, with interesting medical potential

Noni, the fruit of a small tropical tree native to Asia, is cultivated and used as a medicinal plant
and "magic" plant in Polynesia for a very long time.
Recently, American researchers have mentioned the possibility that this fruit contains immunostimulatory substances that can protect the body against degenerative diseases (eg cancer).
and delay senescence, aging.
The juice extracted from the fruit is marketed in the USA