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Morinda citrifolia

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Morinda citrifolia is a fruit-bearing tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Its native range extends across Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalized.<ref name=nelson>Template:Cite web</ref> Among some 100 names for the fruit across different regions are the more common English names of great morinda, Indian mulberry, noni, beach mulberry, and cheese fruit.<ref name="names">Template:Cite web</ref>

The strong-smelling fruit has been eaten as a famine food or staple food among some cultures, and has been used in traditional medicine. In the consumer market, it has been introduced as a supplement in various formats, such as capsules, skin products, and juices.

Noni in cross-section

Growing habitats

Morinda citrifolia grows in shady forests, as well as on open rocky or sandy shores.<ref name="culture">Template:Cite web</ref> It reaches maturity in about 18 months, then yields between Template:Convert of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops, as well as in coralline atolls.<ref name=culture/> It can grow up to Template:Convert tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves.

The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odour when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval in shape and reaches Template:Convert size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds.<ref name=culture/>

Morinda citrifolia is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests from the leaves of the tree.<ref name=culture/> These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds. A type of fruit fly, Drosophila sechellia, feeds exclusively on these fruits.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Food

Noni fruit
A variety of beverages (juice drinks), powders (from dried ripe or unripe fruits), cosmetic products (lotions, soaps), oil (from seeds), leaf powders (for encapsulation or pills) have been introduced into the consumer market.<ref name=nelson-rev/>

Noni is sometimes called a "starvation fruit", implying it was used by indigenous peoples as emergency food during times of famine.<ref name="nelson-rev">Template:Cite web</ref> Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit was nevertheless eaten as a famine food,<ref name=krauss>Template:Cite book</ref> and, in some Pacific Islands, even as a staple food, either raw or cooked.<ref name=morton>Template:Cite journal</ref> Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry.<ref name=crib&crib>Cribb, A.B. & Cribb, J.W. (1975) Wild Food in Australia. Sydney: Collins.Template:Page needed</ref> The seeds are edible when roasted. In Thai cuisine, the leaves (known as bai-yo) are used as a green vegetable and are the main ingredient of kaeng bai-yo, cooked with coconut milk. The fruit (luk-yo) is added as a salad ingredient to some versions of somtam.

Traditional medicine

Green fruit, leaves, and root or rhizomes might have been used in Polynesian cultures as a general tonic, in addition to its traditional place in Polynesian culture as a famine food.<ref name=nelson-rev/> Although Morinda is considered to have biological properties in traditional medicine, there is no confirmed evidence of clinical efficacy for any intended use.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> In 2018, a Hawaiian manufacturer of noni food and skincare products was issued an FDA warning letter for marketing unapproved drugs and making false health claims in violation of the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Dyes

Morinda bark produces a brownish-purplish dye that may be used for making batik. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its roots to dye cloth.<ref name=thompson/>

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Morinda citrifolia fruit powder contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate amounts.<ref name=powder/> These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as M. citrifolia juice has sparse nutrient content.<ref name=juice/> The main micronutrients of M. citrifolia pulp powder include vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium.<ref name=powder/> Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts. When M. citrifolia juice alone is analyzed and compared to pulp powder, only vitamin C is retained<ref name=juice>Nelson, Scot C. (2006) "Nutritional Analysis of Hawaiian Noni (Pure Noni Fruit Juice)" The Noni Website. Retrieved 15-06-2009.</ref> in an amount (34 mg per 100 gram juice) that is 64% of the content of a raw navel orange (53 mg per 100 g or 89% of the Daily Value).<ref name="nd-orange">Template:Cite web</ref> Sodium levels in M. citrifolia juice (about 3% of Dietary Reference Intake, DRI)<ref name=powder>Nelson, Scot C. (2006) "Nutritional Analysis of Hawaiian Noni (Noni Fruit Powder)" The Noni Website. Retrieved 15-06-2009.</ref> are high compared to an orange, and potassium content is moderate.<ref name=nd-orange/>

Morinda citrifolia fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacanthal, and alkaloids.<ref name="levand, etal">Template:Cite journal</ref> Although these substances have been studied for bioactivity, current research is insufficient to conclude anything about their effects on human health.<ref name=nelson/> These phytochemicals are not unique to M. citrifolia, as they exist in various plants.<ref name=thompson>Template:Cite bookTemplate:Page needed</ref>

Gallery

See also

References

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External links

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