The noni plant has potential for use as a cancer preventative and treatment, though there is as of yet no solid clinical evidence to support its effectiveness. Its scientific name is Morinda citrifolia. The noni plant is a tropical evergreen tree that can grow up to 10 feet tall bearing potato sized fruit. The fruit is initially green and is white or yellow when it is ripe. The juice, fruit, bark and leaves are edible and commonly used in herbal remedies.
Throughout time the noni plant has acquired a reputation of being able to treat a variety of health issues. These claims include the ability to treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, HIV, rheumatism, psoriasis, allergies, infection, and inflammation. In addition to these health issues, herbalists and folk healers indicate that the noni plant also has a positive effect on those suffering from sinus infections, menstrual cramps, arthritis, ulcers, sprains, injuries, depression, senility, poor digestion, atherosclerosis, addiction, colds, flu, headaches asthma and dysentery.
The noni plant is typically administered as a juice, tonic or tea. It is recommended that noni is taken on an empty stomach. The noni plant has an unpleasant taste and smell when administered, so it is often advised to mix it with other juices or flavorings. It can also be applied to the body as a poultice. In addition to the juice and tea, other noni products are available in the United States. These products include noni extract, powder, capsules, facial cleansers, bath gels, and soaps.
Clinical trials in humans are just beginning to evaluate the effectiveness of the noni plant. Prior studies have been done in animals and laboratories showing some positive effects. Scientific studies are ongoing, examining the effects of isolated compounds from the plant on the chemical processes that transform healthy cells to cancerous cells. A second scientific study injected noni juice directly into the stomachs of mice with cancerous tumors. The mice treated with the noni juice survived twice as long as those that were not treated.
Further research is still required to determine if noni juice or any of the compounds derived from the juice can serve as a treatment for cancer or other conditions. The FDA has warned several vendors to cease making claims as to the effectiveness of the juice in curing, treating, or preventing disease. Noni juice is high in potassium and sugar, which may cause problems for those with kidney disease or diabetes.