Noni in Hawai'i

Noni is one of the two dozen or so “canoe plants,” so-called because the original Polynesian settlers carried these herbs in their canoes when they came to the Hawaiian islands in the sixth century.
Noni is one of the most highly regarded of the traditional Hawaiian medicinal herbs. Also known as Indian Mulberry, this attractive tree grows between ten and twenty feet tall. The dark green, shiny leaves are deeply veined and used externally to treat tumors or skin infections. Healers soften the leaf over an open flame, let it cool, then apply it to the affected area.

Although the Noni leaf is an important medicine, the Noni fruit is legendary among Hawaiian healers. Equally legendary is its distinctive cheese-like aroma and flavor, which many people find repulsive. For this reason, different elders have their ways of making Noni juice more palatable, such as mixing it with orange juice and ginger. All agree, however, that it is highly effective in treating serious ailments such as diabetes, high blood ¬pressure, and heart disease, which tend to affect indigenous peoples who have switched from traditional foods to a conventional American diet. The pulp of the green fruit is also used topically to dispel head lice (uku) and fleas. In research conducted in Hawai’i and Japan, extracts of Noni have been shown to stimulate the immune system and suppress the growth of cancer cells.*

Chinese laborers who came to the islands during the 1800s taught Hawaiians what has evolved into a popular method of preserving Noni juice. The ripe fruit is collected, placed in a closed jar, and left sitting in the sun for a few weeks. The potent, fermented dark liquid that collects in the bottom of the jar is then strained and stored in the refrigerator for future use.

The Hawaiians utilize the whole Noni plant. The roots, stems, bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit, are all mentioned in various combinations in the almost 40 known and recorded herbal remedies involving Noni. Also, the roots are used to produce a yellow or red dye for the tapa cloths, and during times of famine, they eat the fruit. There are numerous Polynesian stories of heroes and heroines that survived famine by eating the Noni.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.