This genus includes some 50-80 species of deciduous small trees, shrubs, and woody climbers, most of which occur in tropical Africa, Asia, and Australia. Most species have white, often scented flowers, and the roots yield a yellow dye, known as morindin, once used in Javanese batik. Recommended for greenhouse culture in the 19th century, they are rarely seen today. Morinda officinalis was first mentioned in Chinese medical literature during the Han Dynasty (206BCE-CE23) as a tonic, warming herb that acts mainly on the kidney energy. The roots (ba ji) are combined with Glycyrrhiza uralensis to reduce toxicity. Morinda tinctoria (dyer's mulberry) is best known as a source of red dye, but both leaves and roots have astringent properties. Morinda citrifolia is the most widely cultivated species, being ornamental and useful for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

The noni plant is a tropical evergreen tree growing in the Pacific Islands that produces a fruit about the size of a potato. The noni fruit, juice, bark, and leaves are all used in herbal remedies and Polynesian folk medicine. Test-Tube studies indicate that noni may be able to kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, inhibit the activity of E. coli, and reduce blood pressure. However, there are few well-designed human studies on noni.

Small tree with ovate, glossy leaves, 15-20cm (6-8in) long. Clusters of fragrant, white, tubular flowers appear all year, followed by irregularly ovoid, cream fruits, to 7.5cm (3in) long, which smell liek blue cheese when ripe.

Common Name:
Other Names:
Awl Tree, Hog Apple, Indian Mulberry. Mengkudu, Morinda, Wild Pine.
Botanical Name:
Morinda citrifolia
Native Location:
Tropical Asia, Australia, and Polynesia
Well-drained, sandy soil in sun. Tolerates saline conditions.
By seed sown when ripe at 18-21°C (64-70°F); by semi-ripe cuttings in summer at 18°C (64°F)
Leaves are picked during the growing season and dried for use in infusions. Ripe seeds are collected in the autumn and ground for pastes.
3m (10ft)
Min. 15-18°C (59-64°F)
Parts Used:
Roots (ba ji), leaves, fruits, juice.
An astringent, purgative herb that reduces inflammation.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for dysentery, hemorrhage (fruits), constipation (roots), tuberculosis (leaves). Externally for gout (leaf juice), chronic ulcers, snakebite (leaves), and gum disease (fruits).
To treat diabetes, fever, and stomachache; to purify the blood.
Possible Side Effects:
Noni's side effects include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, sedation, allergic reactions, and hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood)
Drug Interactions:
Taking noni with these drugs may increase the risk of hyperkalemia (high blood levels of potassium):
Amiloride, (Midamor)
Hydrochlorothiazide and Triamterene, (Dyazide, Maxzide)
Spironolactone, (Aldactone, Novo-Spiroton)
Triamterene, (Dyrenium)
Taking noni with these drugs may interfere with the action of the drug:
Cyclosporine, (Neoral, Sandimmune)
Dexamethasone, (Decadron, Dexasone)
Prednisone, (Apo-Prednisone, Deltasone)
Lab Test Alterations:
May confound results of diagnostic urine tests that rely on color change by discoloring urine (pink, red, purple, or orange).
Disease Effects:
May worsen cases of elevated potassium levels (hyperkalemia) due to potassium in noni.
Culinary Uses:
Unripe fruits are eatin in curries and sambals. Juice of ripe fruits is used in sauces, dressings, and marinades in Australian bush cuisine. Young leaves are eaten raw, cooked as a vegetable, or used for wrapping in fish dishes.
Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited. Pp 281-282
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD Copyright©2007 Barry Fox,PhD. Pp. 348-349