Health Benefits of Noni
Noni fruit is sold in many farmers' markets and grocers throughout Costa Rica, and homeopathic products including noni juice and pills are widely available at local health food stores. Native to Southeast Asia and Australasia, noni is also known as morinda, Indian mulberry, beach mulberry or, thanks to its pungent aroma, the humorous epithets of cheese fruit and dog dumpling. The exotic tree is cultivated in tropical climates, mostly along rocky coasts, sandy shoreline or in shaded forests.
Around the world, noni is renowned as a medicinal plant, and is often called nature's healer. In Costa Rica, archaeologists have unearthed native texts that describe traditional uses of not just noni fruit, but also the plant's seeds, blossoms, bark and roots. Scientific research has discovered that noni is high in vitamin C, niacin, potassium and iron, as well as proxeronine, an alkaloid important for cell function.
Recent research has shown preliminary links between noni consumption and improvements in common illnesses. Traditional cultures and homeopathic remedies have long used noni juice and powders to cure a range of maladies; noni is purported to help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Combat menstrual cramps
- Boost the immune system
- Act as an anti-inflammatory
- Relieve arthritis pain
- Lower blood sugar
- Lessen post-operative nausea
- Regulate digestive system
- Reduce allergies
Additionally, noni is used to help prevent and combat certain diseases including urinary tract infections, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems. The fruit is high in antioxidants, and has been used as an alternative treatment for cancer; some patients claim that the fruit helps them absorb nutrients, stay healthier and can even slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.
Since noni's strong odor is accompanied by an equally sharp flavor that many find unpleasant, most juices and other preparations try to mask the flavor. To prepare fresh noni juice, try mixing the fruit with boiled water, sugar or honey and your favorite strong-flavored fruit – mango, papaya, or pineapple – to make the concoction more palatable.