Noni fruit grows quickly year round, allowing several harvests a year. It is grown mostly in the South Pacific, though the market for it is expanding to Asia, South America and Europe. For 2,000 years, it has been widely used for medicinal purposes. Today, research is studying the benefits of noni fruit for the human body. It is believed that the nutrients help the immune system and can treat diabetes, cancer and heart disease as well as other inflictions.
Noni fruit is an unusual looking fruit that resembles a grenade, complete with a lumpy texture. It grows on an evergreen shrub that bears the fruit year round. It has a strong smell and a bitter taste, but has nutritional value. It has vitamin C, calcium, protein, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene and all of the B vitamins.
The fruit, seeds, flowers, roots and bark of the noni bush have been used for over 2,000 years by the Polynesians for medicinal and food use. The fruit is usually consumed as a juice, for the fruit has a rather unpleasant taste. Native Polynesian healers still use the noni plant for pain, inflammation, burns, skin problems, fevers, nausea and food poisoning cures.
The fruit of the noni bush is sold as a juice, powder and supplement. The juice is usually mixed with other juices because of its unpleasant taste. It is believed that noni juice benefits the immune system and heals conditions such as varicose veins and heat rash. At this time, there are no conclusive reports that can substantiate these claims.
There are studies touting the benefits of noni fruit. One study on the benefits of noni juice was done on smokers. The results showed a reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides for the smokers who drank a mixture of the juice every day for a month. It should be noted that the manufacturer of Tahitian Noni Juice funded the study. A study on mice at the University of Hawaii showed that the substance called noni-ppt found in noni fruit might aid in the treatment of cancer.
Because scientific studies are inconclusive, it is important to be aware of possible side effects. High concentrations of noni juice may cause diarrhea in some people. Diabetics should use caution when taking noni juice if it contains added sugar. There are some cases of liver damage from large dosages of noni juice.