Noni is one of those wonder herbs that hit the herbal supplement scene a decade or so back. There are still many nutritional supplements that come with noni juice and extracts today, though they have since been outshoned by the more popular ones such as acai berry and goji… you know how fad- and trend-prone the herbal scene goes. However, is noni just a passing fad or is it really a legitimate wonder herb? Read on.
What is noni?
Noni is Morinda citrifolia, also called the Indian mulberry, a small green plant that can be seen growing in the tropics and subtropics. This plant can be found growing in such lush abundance along the seashore. It also shows the unique ability to be the first to grow on lava-covered regions in Hawaii.
It is interesting to note that prior to its use as a nutritional herb, noni plant has been used solely for dyeing fabrics. It was only in the 20th century that noni plant has been discovered as a wonder herb and has since then been the cornerstone of Polynesian and Hawaiian herbal medicine.
What nutrients can be found in noni?
Noni holds an impressive line-up of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
- Vitamin B1 or thiamine
- Vitamin B2 or riboflavin
- Vitamin B3 or niacin
- Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
What are the health benefits of noni?
The array of antioxidants present in noni lend protection against the harmful effects of free radicals. Here’s why antioxidants are essential.
Oxidative damage caused by free radicals is the underlying mechanism of cancer development. The antioxidant line-up of noni serves to neutralize free radicals and prevent tumor and cancer formation.
Promotes cardiovascular health
Noni has been found to relax the smooth muscles in the blood vessel walls, thereby causing dilation, better flow of blood and reduction in blood pressure. Furthermore, noni juice has also been found to produce healthy blood lipid profiles — lowering homocysteine levels as well as LDL.
Noni juice has shown potential to improve symptoms of Central Nervous System disorders such as psychosis. Possibly by a combination of antioxidant activity and promotion of blood flow and delivery of nutrients, noni juice has been documented in studies to improve behavioral manifestations of psychotic patients.
Noni has been shown in studies to have antibacterial powers against the common skin bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, the common colonic bacteria called E. coli as well as the common UTI culprit, Proteus vulgaris. This reminds me of the antibacterial properties of human breastmilk.
Noni inhibits xanthine oxidase and its enzymes which lead to gout. It has also shown analgesic properties that are comparable to standard analgesic drugs.
May prevent Type 2 diabetes
Consumption of noni has been shown to reduce the blood levels of glycosylated hemoglobin and LDL — risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Noni also improves insulin sensitivity of the body cells and encourages glucose uptake into cells.
Noni has been widely used to treat muscle pain and discomforts. This herb works by way of stimulating the secretion of intracellular calcium in the body as well as by inducing blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels.
The rich nutritional and antioxidant profile of noni helps to prevent free radical-induced skin damage. Anthraquinones in noni also stimulate the production of collagen which keeps the skin firm and taut. Proxeronine in noni is also a precursor of xeronine which is essential for the integrity of cell membranes of the skin.
Noni is one of the few herbs which have a long list of health benefits. Turmeric, garlic and ginger are other examples. If you can find a trustworthy source of noni supplements or noni-containing supplements, that would be a good addition to your routine supplementation. Read labels and do a research on the legitimacy of the company. Don’t fall prey to marketing hype, just do a solid study on the product and the people behind it.