Noni is a yellowish-green fruit of the Morinda Citrifolia plant. Its other common names are Indian mulberry and beach mulberry. The noni fruit has an oval shape and a knobbly texture. The flesh of the fruit is off-white in colour and has dark brown seeds. Due to its foul scent and bitter taste, people often compare it to stinky cheese. In the tiny fruit, there are gazillions of essential nutrients. So, the ripened fruit is used to make noni juice, which is consumed as a health drink. The fruit was a popular ingredient in traditional folk medicines.
Background and Uses
People came to know about noni fruit around 2000-3000 years ago. Morinda Citrifolia or Awl tree is native to the Pacific Islands of Hawaii, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The production of noni fruit requires warm climate and acidic conditions. It sustains even in the worst climatic conditions and therefore, it was grown everywhere. During famine when there was shortage of food, people consumed this fruit for their survival. Native Polynesian people used to eat fruits and seeds in both raw and cooked form. These days, it has become a staple food choice in many regions and everyone uses the fruit in multiple ways. Some of the best noni fruit uses in today’s time include preparation of sauces, curries, jellies, jams, supplements, and beverages.
Noni fruits are a great source of antioxidants and plant-based flavonoids. It contains key vitamins like vitamin E, folate, biotin, and vitamin C. The fruit also has natural enzymes and polysaccharides that support health. It abounds in several minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Powerful antioxidants in the fruit contain beta carotene and iridoids that protects against oxidative damage.
The noni fruit plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is also called the madder or coffee family.