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Today Vine Vera continues our series on various fruit extracts for health, wellness, longevity, and skincare. The “superfruits” we’re looking at belong to a class of foods known for their high concentrations of compounds—like antioxidants—that promote overall health and well-being.
Today, we look at a fruit native to Southeast Asia and Australia called Noni fruit, which—interestingly enough—is in the coffee family, Rubiaciae (with coffee plants used to make actual coffee belonging to the genus coffea), and has a number of proposed benefits Vine Vera would like to get to bottom of.
The noni fruit grows from the Morinda Citrifolia plant, in the “coffee family” Rubiacia. The plant itself is a woody, broad-leafed medium-sized tree which flowers and fruits year round. Noni fruits are large at up to 7+ inches long, and are pale yellow-white, multiple fruits (think pineapples, and how a single pineapple is subdivided into several distinct fruits, each with their own seeds; noni is like this) that looks like something out of a sci-fi film. The fruits themselves are not very appetizing—though they are technically edible raw—with a harshly bitter, acidic taste and strong, foul odor—though they can become more palatable, or even tasty, when cooked properly as a component in various dishes, such as curry, and have a few culinary applications (mostly in Thai dishes) as a result, though fairly limited ones. The leaves of the noni tree are also used culinarily as salad greens in Thai cuisine.
Health, Wellness, and Longevity
Noni fruit pulp is a decent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. It also contains relatively high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B3, iron, and potassium, and moderate to low amounts of vitamin A, calcium, and sodium. Noni also boasts many phytochemicals, including but not limited to flavonoids, fatty acids, and alkaloids.
Claims exist that link noni fruit with abdominal pain relief, menstrual pain relief, and a cure for impotence, though all of these claims are unverified as of yet.
Acne, pimples, discoloration, roughness and ashyness of skin, and a few other skin issues and irritations are said to be alleviated by drinking noni juice and/or applying topical skincare products containing noni extract. While unverified, some of these claims make some logical sense; the acidity of noni would suggest potential anti-acne benefits, and the nutrition and phytochemical profiles of the fruit could provide some insight as to why it’s claimed to help with dry, rough, and ashy skin.
As with nearly all of the fruits covered in this series of articles, the potential nigh-miraculous benefits of noni are untested and unconfirmed; it is entirely possible noni does what it’s claimed to in health and skincare applications, but since clinical trials have yet to confirm anything, it remains uncertain.
And as always, consult with your doctor before commencing use of any kind of herbal supplements; herbal supplements are a kind of medicine, and have the potential to interact or interfere with your health if used incorrectly.