Noni scientifically in Latin is called Morinda citrifolia. Internationally, in English, this plant is popularly known as the great morinda, Indian mulberry, noni, beach mulberry, brimstone tree, awl and cheese fruit.
In several regions in Indonesia, noni has its own name according to the use of the regional language, such as mangkudu in the West Java region, koddhu in the Madura region and arrived on the island of Bali.
The genus name comes from two Latin words, morus, meaning mulberry, and indicus, meaning India, which refers to the similarity of the Indian mulberry fruit to the native mulberry fruit (Morus alba). while the species name refers to the similarity of its foliage to several species of citrus soil (NParks | Morinda Citrifolia, 2021).
Noni is believed to originate from countries in Southeast Asia which then it spread to Australia, India, and the Pacific region.
Shape Description and Growth
The fruit is yellowish-white, fleshy, soft, and appears slightly rotten when ripe. The leaves of the noni fruit tree are usually opposite and appear shiny with webbed blades, bald elliptical round with sturdy leaf stalks. Its growth begins in the form of a small tree or bush with a height that can reach up to 3 to 8 meters.
This plant produces flowers and fruit throughout the year and can be harvested around 2 - 3 years after planting. One and a half months after the flowers appear, the noni fruit is ripe and ready to be harvested. In one month harvesting can be done up to 8 times. The fruit is a double fruit that has a pungent odor when ripe and is therefore also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit (Jungle Dragon, 2022). It is oval with a size that can reach of 10–18 centimeters. Initially green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens.
Because it is tolerant of drought, noni can grow optimally in tropical climates with temperatures between 25-32 degrees Celsius. The humidity required is between 50-70% with rainfall between 2,000 - 3,000 mm/year (Anto, 2019).
In Indonesia, noni can be grown using seeds or cuttings. Seeds can be spread directly on the land or sown first. Noni is shade tolerant so it can be grown in yards, rice fields, shady forests or intercropped with other plants.
Health Benefits of Noni and Other Uses
Noni has many uses and properties and has been used for centuries by Aboriginal tribes and other tribes in the Southeast Asian region. In traditional Chinese medicine, noni is used as a medicine to treat fever. In Malaysia, heated leaves are applied to the chest and stomach to treat coughs, nausea, colic, and enlarged spleens. In the Philippines, the juice of the leaves is used as a medicine for arthritis ((NParks | Morinda Citrifolia, 2021).
The nutritional content and several chemical compounds contained in 100 grams of noni fruit consist of 167 calories, vitamin A 395.85 IU, vitamin C 175 mg, niacin 2.5 mg, iron 9.17 mg, calcium 325 mg, sodium 335 mg, potassium 1.12 mg, protein 0.75 g, fat 1.50 g and carbohydrates 51.67 g. The chemical content of Noni leaves and fruit generally contains alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, terpenoids and anthraquinones, besides that the leaves also contain polyphenols (Anto, 2019).
In Indonesia, noni is believed to have many benefits for the human body, including:
1. Breaking blood vessels to the tumor
2. Anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant substances
3. Kills Pathogenic microbes
4. Protein building material, increases immunity, produces Nitric Oxide (NO)
5. Natural anti-cancer and anti-biotic and inhibits the growth of cancer cells
6. Helps calcium absorption and collagen formation in bones
7. Regulates the immune system, and prevents symptoms of autoimmune diseases
8. Accelerates the absorption of food substances into the digestive system and harmonizes the work of cells in the body
9. Regulate blood pressure
10. Activates thyroid & thymus glands (immune function)
Another use of noni besides consumption is as a coloring agent obtained from its stems and leaves.