Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) Overview

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) other names: Ba Ji Tian, Bois Douleur, Canarywood, Cheese Fruit, Hai Ba Ji, Hawaiian Noni, Hog Apple, Indian Mulberry, Jus de Noni, Luoling, Mengkudu, Menkoedoe, Mora de la India, Morinda, Morinda citrifolia, Mulberry, Mûre Indienne, Nhau, Noni Juice, Nono, Nonu, Pau-Azeitona, Rotten Cheese Fruit, Ruibarbo Caribe, Tahitian Noni Juice, Ura, Wild Pine, Wu Ning, Yor.

The herb commonly called the morinda is botanically known as Morinda citrifolia. The name noni is also used for commercial purposes. The plant is widespread throughout much of the Pacific region and among the Pacific island societies - morinda is one of the main traditional sources of herbal medicine. The morinda is a small evergreen tree or shrub.

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) fruit

Native populations of the plant can be found in most places along Southeastern Asia such as Indonesia all the way to tropical areas in Australia. The plant has an extremely wide tolerance range for different environmental conditions and habitats. The plant grows well in infertile soil; it can also grow in acidic and alkaline soils. The plant also tolerates and grows well in very dry to very wet soils. Along the Pacific island forests and rainforests, the plant occurs in low elevation as an under storey species, morinda is also seen under natural conditions in relatively dry to mesic sites or lowland areas in close proximity to shorelines as well.

The morinda plant also fares very well when exposed to adverse events like exposure to high winds, to forest fire, to flooding and water logging, as well as to saline conditions of soil. Morinda is treated as a major weed in some types of settings even though it is not considered to be as invasive as to be capable of threatening major ecosystems. The plant is very hardy and persistent, and is difficult to kill. These qualities make it one of the first plants to colonize very harsh waste areas or the remnants of a lava flow in the Pacific regions.

Traditional medical systems in many cultures have made use of different parts of the plant, many herbalists also use it in the modern setting. Remedies made from the roots and the bark - in the form of dyes and medicine, as well as the use of the trunks, for firewood and tools are well known. The leaves and the fruits of the morinda plant also see use as food and herbal medicine in many indigenous cultures. While some of the traditional and modern medicinal uses of the herb are yet to be scientifically endorsed, the uses of the plant cover a large array of conditions and illnesses affecting people.

The morinda plant can be cultivated as a full monoculture in sun lit laces; morinda is also suitable for intercropping in traditional agro forestry practices of the subsistence farming systems. A variety of cosmetic products are made from the leaves and fruits of the morinda tree, and in recent years these products have attained significant economic importance worldwide for a variety of health and cosmetic applications. The products include delicious fruit juices and herbal powders manufactured from the fruit or the leaves of the plant.

Morinda has two distinct species. The Morinda citrifolia species is found in tropical areas of Malaysia, the Australian mainland, and in the Polynesian region. While topical areas in India, the Philippine islands, and all areas of Southeast Asia tend to have the other species - Morinda officinalis. Physically, the morinda can be described as a deciduous creeping vine that gives out twining stems and bears white flowers in season. For herbal medical use, the cultivators will normally harvest its very large and thick, intertwining purple roots in the spring and sometimes in the fall. The roots of the plant give out a characteristic yellow pigment when they are boiled to produce herbal tea. Morinda juice is made using both species.

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Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) Health Benefits

Morinda is a small evergreen tree in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Australia, and India that often grows among lava flows. Historically, morinda was used to make a red or yellow dye for clothing. Morinda was also used as medicine, usually applied to the skin.

Today, morinda fruit, leaves, flowers, stems, bark, and roots are still used to make medicine for a long list of ailments. However, the effectiveness of morinda for these uses has not been proven. A study of morinda freeze-dried fruit extract is underway at The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but the results are not yet in. In the meantime, the FDA has issued multiple warnings to morinda manufacturers about health claims that aren’t backed up by fact.

Traditionally a wide range of symptoms were treated using the herbal remedies made from the morinda, traditional herbalist would use the remedy for treating problems such as poor digestion, conditions such as high blood pressure, as well as various respiratory problems, and the conditions of immune deficiency affecting the whole body. Male sexual functions are said to be stimulated by the morinda, thus the herb aids in treating impotence and also increases the fertility of the person, the herb is also useful in the treatment of menstrual problems affecting women. The herbal remedy aids in increasing the energy as well as boosting stamina and endurance of the person.

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) image

The morinda is very rich in the essential vitamin C. The presence of this vitamin provides abundant natural antioxidants to the person, who in turn supports the functioning of the kidneys, and also leads to an increase in the flow of urine. Thus the herb helps in flushing out toxins from the body at a faster rate. The vitamin is also important in other ways, and actively works to correct problems affecting the structure of the proteins and cells in the body. At the cellular level, the morinda herb solves various problems affecting the body, such as conditions generated by cancer and digestive distress in the body.

People take morinda by mouth for colic, convulsions, cough, diabetes, painful urination, stimulating menstrual flow, fever, liver disease, constipation, vaginal discharge during pregnancy, malarial fever, and nausea. Morinda is also used for smallpox, enlarged spleen, swelling, asthma, arthritis and other bone and joint problems, cancer, cataracts, colds, depression, digestive problems, and gastric ulcers. Other uses include high blood pressure, infections, kidney disorders, migraine headache, premenstrual syndrome, stroke, pain, and sedation.

Morinda has been pointed out as an anti-depressant herb in many laboratory studies - where the herb was found to have the unique property of increasing but not diminishing male libido. The anti-depressant compounds present in the morinda have been identified by Chinese scientists as being two sugars, the sugar inulin and the nystose along with succinic acid - these compounds are created in the body from simpler sugars. Brain receptor sites is affected and opened up by the compound xeronine found in morinda, the opening of these sites permits the brain to receive more of the happy hormone endorphin - the reception of this hormone in the receptors induces a feeling of well being to the person. 

The fruit juice is used for arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle aches and pains, menstrual difficulties, headaches, heart disease, AIDS, cancers, gastric ulcers, sprains, depression, senility, poor digestion, atherosclerosis, circulation problems, and drug addiction.

The leaves have been used in medicines for rheumatic aches and swelling of the joints, stomachache, dysentery, and swelling caused by a parasitic infection called filariasis. The bark has been used in a preparation to aid childbirth.

Morinda is sometimes applied to the skin. Morinda is used as a moisturizer and to reduce signs of aging. The leaves are used for arthritis by wrapping around the affected joint; for headache by applying to the forehead; and for burns, sores, and wounds by direct application. A mixture of leaves and fruit is applied to pockets of infection (abscesses), and preparations of the root are used on stonefish and sting-ray wounds, and as a smallpox salve.

In foods, the fruits, leaves, roots, seeds, and bark are eaten.

The smell and taste of some morinda fruit and juice are unpleasant.

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia / Morinda Officinalis) Side effects

Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Morinda (Morinda Citrifolia  Morinda Officinalis) plant

Morinda is possibly safe when the fruit is consumed as food. However, there is concern that taking morinda in medicinal amounts is possibly unsafe . Morinda tea or juice might cause liver damage in some people. There are several reports of liver damage in people who drank morinda tea or juice for several weeks. However, it is not known for certain if morinda was the cause.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not take morinda if you are pregnant. Historically, morinda has been used to cause abortions. It is also best to avoid morinda if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about the safety of taking morinda during breast-feeding.

Kidney problems: Morinda contains large amounts of potassium. This can be a problem, especially for people with kidney disease. There is one report of a person with kidney disease developing high levels of potassium in the blood after drinking morinda juice. Don’t use morinda if you have kidney problems.

High potassium levels: Drinking morinda fruit juice might increase potassium levels and make them even higher in people with already too much potassium in their body.

Liver disease: Morinda has been linked to several cases of liver damage. Avoid using morinda if you have liver disease.