Legend has it that the peoples of Polynesia overcame periods of famine thanks to a plant with extraordinary fruits, noni, or morinda citrifolia. We do not know if this is true also because, it must be said, the taste of mature noni is not very pleasant and can suggest a certain degree of rancidity, but certainly the peoples of Polynesia well knew that their health would take advantage. And the fame of noni, over the centuries, has endured reaching the present day. In fact, today it is easy to find noni juice, pure or mixed with other juices to improve its flavor, in chemist’s or herbalist’s shops. As often happens, however, almost magical powers are attributed to noni juice, indicating it as capable of resolving any disorder. Science is shedding light on the health properties of noni juice that, as we will see, are actually considerable but if noni is included in a healthy and varied diet. Let's understand better.
First of all, Polynesian noni juice contains vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, it is also a precious source of antioxidants (Gupta et al, Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 2013). Research has been performed (West et al, Foods, 2018), in fact, in order to test the effects of noni juice in the case of smokers, people therefore exposed to a great oxidative stress. It emerged that the intake of 30 ml of noni juice a day for a month has been able, more than other juices containing antioxidants such as grape and blueberry juice, to significantly reduce, up to 30%, the free radicals (obviously, however, this should not be an excuse not to quit smoking ...). Thanks to these antioxidant properties, noni juice is antitumor and neuroprotective, helping to counteract cognitive decline. Not only that, always after a month of taking noni juice, there was a decrease in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, with a greater action in the case of already high total cholesterol values ??and an increasingly reduced action as the values ??of cholesterol returned to normal. At the same time, it has also been observed that after a month of intake of noni juice HDL, or good, cholesterol increased by up to 15% and the markers of chronic inflammation decreased (West et al, Foods, 2018). And it is thanks to the anti-inflammatory action of noni juice that it was possible to report that after 4 months of taking 15 ml of noni juice every day, joint pain and stiff neck were reduced and even disappeared in 60% of cases. Not only that, the anti-inflammatory action of noni juice also targets the intestinal tract, counteracting inflammatory intestinal diseases (de Susa et al, Mediators Inflamm, 2017). Among its many properties, noni juice also boasts an interesting antidiabetic action. In fact, 2 ml per kg of body weight of noni juice consumed every day for two months led to a reduction in fasting blood sugar in case of type 2 diabetes (Algenstaedt et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2018). Noni juice is also capable of supporting the immune system. In fact, the intake of 330 ml of noni juice for two months on healthy people has been shown to increase NK cells, which are cells of the immune system that play an essential role, among other things, in the fight against virus attacks. The concentration in the blood of interleukin 2 is also increased, this is a protein capable of inhibiting tumor growth and supporting the immune system by stimulating the growth and maturation of some types of white blood cells used to fight viruses and bacteria (Ma et al, Chin . Med. Res. Clin., 2008). Noni helps to keep body weight at bay and, when used to rinse the mouth mixed with water in equal parts, it reduced gum bleeding, probably thanks to its anti-inflammatory action (West et al, Foods, 2018). Finally, the inhabitants of Polynesia used and still use noni as a remedy for fatigue. Well, scientific research has also managed to demonstrate this beneficial effect since the intake of noni has increased energy, endurance but also body flexibility and physical performance (Ma et al, Phytother Res, 2007).
Noni, how to take it
You can take noni in the form of juice, preferably between meals. As for the dose to be taken, the advice is to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer as the juice can have different degrees of purity.
Noni, safety, limitations and contraindications
The studies were generally performed on the noni from French Polynesia, in particular from Tahiti. This can clearly be a limitation, as, as also mentioned in the research, noni juice can have different properties based on the geographical area (West et al, Foods, 2018). Regarding safety, noni juice is considered safe. In fact, research on volunteers has been able to report that drinking at least up to 750 ml of juice per day, a quantity that however hardly fits into a healthy and balanced diet, does not give side effects (West et al, Pac Health Dialog, 2009). However, some studies report some rare cases in which noni juice would have created mild and temporary hepatotoxicity, even if the link has never been clearly proven. In any case, the general advice is never to overdo the quantity and, if this is the first time you take noni, start slowly to check for any reactions (Livertox, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2012). In the first few days of intake, however, some stomach ailments may be observed. Ask your doctor for advice if you are taking medications to avoid possible interactions. For example, a possible interaction between noni juice and anti-epileptic drugs was observed (Kang et al, Acta Neurol Taiwan, 2015).