Noni stinks. Literally and otherwise.
The ancient Polynesians ate the malodorous fruit of Morinda citrifolia as part of their regular diet. The Polynesians were great seafarers. Over the centuries, they migrated across the Pacific Rim and southeast Asia. Wherever they sailed in their canoes they carried along several plants for food and fiber. One of those ‘canoe plants’ was Noni.
Eventually, the plant found its way to India as well. Noni is more or less self-sustaining and flourishes in sub-tropical climates with minimal maintenance.
The Polynesians liked the fruit in spite of its cheesy stench, because they thought it was healthy. Well, if you like stinky fruit that’s your business. The juice of this cheesy stinker is another matter.
Suddenly, we are being bombarded with awe-inspiring stories about Noni juice. We are told it’s miraculous, sacred, divine, God’s gift to mankind, cure for cancer, cure for arthritis, colic, seizures, cough, diabetes, inflammation, kidney disease, liver disease, and just about every ailment known to Man.
Noni-nuts like to throw impressive adjectives at us, without really knowing what they mean, like immunomodulator, anti-proliferative, adaptogenic, and the like.
There are herbalists, botanists, alternative medicinalists, self-proclaimed “eminent” scientists, research labs with grandiose names peopled by afore-mentioned “eminent” scientists, all screaming themselves hoarse about the allegedly miraculous benefits of this alleged gift of God.
According to these self-proclaimed eminent scientists, about 32,000 pharma companies across India are run by fools. Millions of responsible doctors across India are also fools. All the health regulatory agencies in the country are also fools. They should all stop giving us all medicines of all kinds – and give us Noni juice instead.
I’m not being sarcastic.
What scares me is that there are “scientists” I know who actually make these statements out loud. What really scares me is the increasing number of consumers who actually believe these statements.
The “scientists” will shut up skeptics like myself with review articles (written by themselves, of course), research papers (authored by themselves, of course), reams of “scientific” reports (produced by themselves, of course).
But there is something missing in all the information they bury you with – EVIDENCE.
Noni is being touted as a guaranteed cure for cancer. The number of peer-reviewed research papers that conclusively prove this claim is nil.
In fact, the number of peer-reviewed research papers that provide you with conclusive evidence of any of Noni’s claimed health benefits is nil.
No wonder then, the USFDA sends out formal warning letters to manufacturers of Noni juice for making ridiculous claims. You can see one such warning letter, here.
The truth about Noni …
There are several peer-reviewed reports that noni juice can cause liver damage. Here are a few:
- Severe liver injury in a 38-year-old woman was reported after 7-day consumption of noni juice.
- Another study involved a 14-year-old boy who developed liver toxicity from consuming noni juice.
- Hepatitis was reported from drinking noni juice over a four week period. Other cases of liver damage from noni juice have been reported.
- One victim even required a liver transplant.
Check out these papers yourself, and judge for yourself.
Did you know noni juice has unhealthy amounts of potassium? If you’re taking medication for blood pressure or cholesterol, you should not take noni juice. You might damage your kidneys. Since noni juice can damage your liver as well, you should not take it with any medication that affects your liver. And that’s a long list.
If you like stinky fruits, eat Noni fruit once in a while if you can get it. Eat it in moderation and with caution.
If you think the juice of noni is a God-send that can cure you of everything from cancer to old age, you are utterly wrong. Drinking noni juice for extended periods is a bad idea. The health benefits are non-existent. The health risks are real.
Why can’t you enjoy normal fruits like normal people do? You know, bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes and stuff. They’re much better for you.
Stay healthy. Stay safe. As Nature intended.
Noni: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, US Government Dept of Health & Human Services.