Indian mulberry (Noni), Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Morinda citrifolia is an Ayurvedic plant used for the treatment of digestion issues, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and acts like immune modulator. It is also called Noni and Cheese Fruit. 

Latin name- Morinda citrifolia Linn.
Family- Rubiaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Al, Achi
English name- Indian mulberry, Cheese fruit
Bengali name- Ach
Kannada name- Noni
Marathi name- Alita, Baratindiala
Malayalam name- Manmanatti, Katapitalavam
Oriya name- Achu, Pindra
Tamil name- Nuna, Tunavu
Telugu name- Maddichettu
Bombay bame – Al

Morphology

Morphology of Morinda citifolia:
Morinda citrifolia is an evergreen shrub or small crooked tree with a conical crown, 3-8(-10) m tall, with a deep taproot; bark greyish or yellowish-brown, shallowly fissured, glabrous; branchlets quandrangular. Leaves opposite and simple, elliptic-lanceolate, (10-)15-50 cm x 5-17 cm, entire, acute to shortly acuminate at apex, cuneate at base, pinnately nerved, glabrous; petioles 0.5-2.5 cm long; stipules variable in size and shape, broadly triangular. Inflorescences globose heads, 1-4 cm long peduncled, in axils of stipules opposite normally developed leaves; flowers bisexual, fragrant; corolla funnel-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, white; stamens inserted on the mouth of the corolla; stigma bi-lobed The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. 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 in shape and reaches 10–18 cm size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds.

Distribution

The plant is found all over India and cultivated for its fruits in the tropical climate.

Properties, part used, dosage

Noni medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Amla (Sour)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Tridoshagna (Pacifies all the three vitiated doshas)

Part used- Fruit, Leaf, Root
Dosage-
Juice of fruit- 20-30 ml
Decoction- 50 to 70 ml

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Morinda citrifolia:
Morinda citrifolia fruit powder contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate amounts. The main micronutrients of M. citrifolia pulp powder include vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium.Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts.  Morinda citrifolia fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta- sitosterol, damnacanthal and alkaloids. Roots contain anthraquinones-normdamnacanthal (1, 7), morindine, rubiadin, rubiadin-1-methyl ether and a pigment. Leaves contain ursolic acid and β-sitosterol.

Uses

Medicinal Uses of Indian mulberry:
Moringa Leaves

  • Tonic, Febrifuge, paste applied on ulcers, juice applied on gout.
  • Decoction of leaves taken by mouth is effective for fever, dysentery, and diarrhea.
  • A poultice of pounded fresh  leaves cures tuberculosis
  • Leaves and stem bark useful in small box
  • Leaves used  as tonic useful in general debility
  • Leaves edible as vegetable
  • Leaves useful in giddiness
  • Leaves applied as paste or in the form of juice to sores on foot.
  • Leaves applied to cuts and wounds and stem bark useful in wounds, ulcers and similar ointments.
  • Charred leaves made into a decoction with mustard are a favorite domestic remedy for infantile diarrhoea.

cheese Fruit

  • The unripe berries, charred and mixed with salt, are applied are applied to spongy gums.
  • In Indo-china, the baked fruit is given in dysentery and asthma, it is also used as a  de-absorbent and emmenagogue.
  • Fruit taken together with a little salt is stomachic, aperient and active on dysentery, uterine haemorrhage, metrorrhoea, cough, coryza, oedema, neuralgia.
  • Juice is made into Noni syrup and used as a gargle relieves sore-throat.
  • Ripe fruit is a mild laxative.
  • The juice of the ripened fruit is used as general tonic for persons suffering from general ability.

Indian Mulberry Root

  • Used as cathartic and febrifuge.
  • Root and root bark yield a bright throughout a very lasting, red dye ‘morindin” a glucoside crystalline principle, which is used for coloring.
  • Root paste is applied externally to relieve pain in the gout. It contains a glucoside Morindin, a good adjunct in the preparation of medicines.
  • Root paste used in wound and ulcers.
  • Root extractives are found hypertensive and anti- congestive, the hypotensor activity of residues in water solution.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Adverse effects, Research

Adverse effect: Some persons may feel sense of nausea and headache on exposure to ripened fruit.

Research articles related to Morinda citrifolia:
Anti- cancer activity: This review investigated the relationship of noni juice, or its extract (fruit, leaves or root), to anticancer and/or immune stimulant properties. Among the in vitro studies, a ‘concentrated component’ in noni juice and not pure noni juice may (1) stimulate the immune system to ‘possibly’ assist the body fight the cancer, and (2) kill a small percentage (0-36%) of cancer cells depending on the type. The nine animal studies suggest that a concentrated component in noni juice may stimulate the immune system; but only slightly increases the number (about 1/3; 25-45%) of surviving mice.

Anti- diabetic study: Antidiabetic effects of Morinda citrifolia (aka Noni) fermented by Cheonggukjang (fast-fermented soybean paste) were evaluated using a T2DM (type 2 diabetes mellitus) murine model. FMC supplementation reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and significantly decreased serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Furthermore, a fermented M. citrifolia 70% ethanolic extract (FMCE) activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-(PPAR-) γ and stimulated glucose uptake via stimulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in cultured C2C12 cells. These results suggest that FMC can be employed as a functional health food for T2DM management.

Improve athlete endurance: The ability of noni juice to improve endurance in athletes was evaluated clinically. A placebo-controlled clinical trial with TAHITIAN NONI® Juice (TNJ) was conducted in 40 highly-trained athletes. Drinking 100 mL of TNJ twice daily increased endurance (time-to-fatigue) by 21%, and improved antioxidant status as measured by a 25% decrease in blood chemiluminescence. The collective results indicate that TNJ improves endurance via potent antioxidant effects.

Anti- inflammatory action: Ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts of noni fruit were used in this study. The inhibitory effect on CagA and H. pylori-induced IL-8, iNOS, and COX-2 were determined. The co culture medium was collected for measuring neutrophil chemotaxis. Both extracts of noni fruit showed weak inhibition on H. pylori. Both ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts provided anti-adhesion of H. pylori to AGS cells and down-regulation on the CagA, IL-8, COX-2, and iNOS expressions. Results also indicated both extracts relieved neutrophil chemotaxis. Noni fruit extracts down-regulated inflammatory responses during H. pylori infection, and the phenolic compounds play key role in anti-adhesion.

Anti- fungal action: The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-fungal activity of Morinda citrifolia fruit extract on Candida albicans. Juice extract from M. citrifolia fruit was lyophilized and used in anti-fungal testing. Anti-fungal activity of M. citrifolia fruit extract against C. albicans was tested in vitro at various concentrations. M. citrifolia extract at 1000 μg/ml concentration effectively inhibited the growth of C. albicans (16.6 ± 0.3) compared with the positive control – amphotericin B (20.6 ± 0.6). It was found to be a dose-dependent reaction.

Anti- oxidant action in heavy smokers: Noni (Morinda citrifolia) juice has demonstrated antioxidant activity in vitro and in vivo. To evaluate this activity in humans, noni juice from Tahiti (TNJ) was evaluated in a 30 day, double-blind, and placebo controlled clinical trial with 285 current heavy smokers. Plasma superoxide anion radicals (SAR) and lipid hydroperoxide (LOOH) levels were measured pre and post-intervention. The results suggest an antioxidant activity from noni juice in humans exposed to tobacco smoke, thereby replicating the results found previous chemical and in vivo tests.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Morinda
Species: M. citrifolia

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

2 thoughts on “Indian mulberry (Noni), Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects”

  1. Dear Dr.,
    Can Noni juice be consumed on a daily basis by anyone? If so for how long and which is the best brand available?

    Reply
  2. Hello, About brand I used to take Apollo Noni juice (Gujarat) in 2014. This product was promoted by Dr APJ abdul kallam and Narendra Modi.

    Reply

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