Family - Rubiaceae - Noni - Morinda citrifolia Linn. - INDIAN MULBERRY - Hai ba ji

Scientific names

Morinda littoralis  Blanco
Morinda citrifolia Linn.

Other vernacular names

BENGALI : Ach, Bartundi, Hurdi, Surangi.
BURMESE : Mhanbin, Neihpahsae, Yaiyae.
CHINESE : Hai ba ji, Wu ning, Luo ling
DUTCH : Noni, Kaasvrucht, Stinkend kaasvrucht.
FRENCH : Nono (Tahiti).
GERMAN : Indische Maulbeere, Noni-Baum.
HINDI : Aal, Aach, Ak, Ashi , Barraal, Bartundi, Surangi.
INDONESIA : Mengkudu, Pacel
MALAYALAM : Kattapitavalam, Manjanathhi, Manjanatthi, Mannanatti, Mannapavatta.
NEPALESE : Hardikath.
PORTUGUESE : Pau-azeitona.
SPANISH : Huevo de reuma, Mora de la India.
THAI : Mata suea, Yae yai, Yor , Yo ban.

Common names

Apatot (Ilk.)
Apatot-nga-basit (Ilk.)
Bangkudo (Bis., Tag.)
Bankoro (Tag., Mag.)
Bankuro (Tagb.)
Bankuru (Tag.)
Galongog (Sub.)
Lino (Bis., Tag.)
Nino (Sul., Tag., Bis.)
Rukurok (Kuy.)
Tueng-aso (Tag.)
Tumbong-aso (Tag.)
Noni (Engl.)
Cheese fruit (Engl.)
Great morinda (Engl.)
Indian mulberry (Engl.)
Pain-killer tree (Engl.)
Tahitian noni (Engl.)
Wild pine (Engl.)
Hai ba ji (Chin.)



Apatot is an erect, smooth shrub or small tree, 3 to 10 meters high. Leaves are broadly elliptic to oblong, 12 to 25 centimeters long, with pointed or blunted tips. Peduncles are leaf-opposed, solitary, 1 to 3 centimeters long. Flowers are not bracteolate, and form dense, ovoid or rounded heads, and are 1 to 1.5 centimeters. Calyx is truncate. Corolla is white, 1 centimeter long; limb is 5-lobed, 1 centimeter in diameter. Fruit is fleshy, white or greenish white, ovoid, 3 to 10 centimeters long, with the odor of decaying cheese.

– Found chiefly along or near the seashore throughout the Philippines.
– Also occurs in India to Polynesia.

– Fruit contains phytochemicals: lignans, polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, nonisides, scopoletin, catechin and epicatechin, damnacanthal, alkaloids.
– Root bark contains a crystal glucoside, morindine (C27H10O15), and a coloring matter, morindine.
– Fruit yields a volatile oil, morinda oil.
– Studies have yielded scopoletin, octoanoic acid, potassium, vitamin C, terpenoids, alkaloids, anthroquinones, sitosterol,-carotene, vitamin A, flavone glycosides and linoleic acid.
– Leaves yield flavanol glycosides, beta-carotene and iridoid glycosides.
– Study of methanol extracts of leaves, stems, and fruits yielded 22 constituents. Eight were new compounds: morinaphthalenone, morindafurone, morinaphthalene, morindicone, morinthone, morindicinone, morindicininone, and 5-benzofuran carboxylic acid -6-formyl methyl ester, with 14 known constituents.
– Ethanolic extract of leaves and fruit juice yielded eighteen and fifteen compounds respectively. Among them were octanoic acid, cyclopropyl, hexanoic acid, n-decanoic acid, allantoin, sorbitol, mannitol, glycerin and gamma tocopherol.

– Fruit is emmenagogue.
– Root is cathartic.
– Bark, because of morindine, is febrifuge
– Tonic.
– Leaves considered vulnerary.
– Studies have suggested anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anthelmintic, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing effects.

Parts utilized:
Roots, bark, leaves.

– Fruit is edible, which smells like decaying cheese and not great tasting, is eaten raw or cooked, salted or curried.
– In Indo-China, fruit eaten with salt.
– Fruit occasionally used as pig feed.
– In Java, young leaves eaten as vegetable.
– Tonic drink is prepared from decoction of pounded leaves and stem bark.
– In the Philippines, fruit is used as emmenagogue.
– Leaves, when fresh, applied to ulcers, facilitates healing.
– In Malaysia, heated leave applied to the chest and abdomen for coughs, nausea, colic, enlarged spleen, and fever.
– In Indo-China, leaves used as deobstruent and emmenagogue.
– In Bombay leaves applied externally for wound healing, and internally, as tonic and febrifuge.
– Decoction of charred leaves with mustard for infantile diarrhea.
– Juice of over-ripe fruit used for diabetes.
– Over-ripe fruit used as poultice and for treating kidney diseases.
– In Java, juice of fruit pulp, mashed with sugar, is slightly laxative.
– Syrup of fruit juice used as a gargle for sore throats.
– Expressed juice from leaves applied to relieve pain in gout.
– In Malaya and Cochin-China, over-ripe fruit used as emmenagogue.
– Fruit used internally in various preparations for swollen spleen, liver diseases, beriberi, hemorrhage, and coughs.
– In India, fruit used as deobstruent and emmenagogue.
– Unripe berries, charred and mixed with salt, applied to spongy gums.
– Leaves, fruit, flowers or bark used for eye problems, wounds, abscesses, fever, constipation.
– Leaf juice used for arthritis.
– Used for bone and wound healing.
– In Polynesian traditional medicine, used for anticancer activity.
– In India roots used as cathartic.
– Bark decoction used as astringent; used by the Malays for ague.
– In the Congo bark used as febrifuge, an effect attributed to morindine.
– Tonic produced from the pounding and cooking of the leaves and stem bark.
– In Hawaii, considered a medicine for tuberculosis.

– Cleaning: Pulp of fruit used for cleaning hair, iron, or steel.
– Dye: Bark produces a reddish purple to brown dye used in batik making. In Java, roots used for dyeing.
– In Malaya and Thailand, tree used as support for pepper plants.
Noni rage
Briefly ruled as a herbal dietary supplement snake oil cure-all (Noni Juice or as a morinda capsule supplement ) claiming a wide range of therapeutic effects: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and immune enhancing effects among many others.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) The Evaluation of Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity of Certain Indian Medicinal Plants In Vitro: A Preliminary Study / Ganesh Chandra Jagetia et al / Journal of Medicinal Food. Fall 2004, 7(3): 343-348. doi:10.1089/jmf.2004.7.343.

(2) Great Morinda Morinda citrifolia / Ria Tan, 2001

(3) Herbal hepatotoxicity: acute hepatitis caused by a Noni preparation (Morinda citrifolia) / Millonig Gunda et al / European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: April 2005 – Volume 17 – Issue 4 – pp 445-447

(4) Noni / Wikipedia


(6) Antispasmodic and vasodilator activities of Morinda citrifolia root extract are mediated through blockade of voltage dependent calcium channels / Anwarul Hassan Gilani et al / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:2doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-2


(8) Wound Healing and Antioxidant Activities of Morinda citrifolia Leaf Extract in Rats / Vijaykumar Pandurang Rasal et al / Iranian Journal of Pharm and Therapeutics | January 2008 | vol. 7 | no. 1 | 49-52

(9) Studies of antiviral activity and cytotoxicity of Wrightia tinctoria and Morinda citrifolia / P selvam et al / Indian J Pharm Sci 2009;71:670-2 / DOI: 10.4103/0250-474X.59550

(10) Apoptosis-inducing effects of Morinda citrifolia L. and doxorubicin on the Ehrlich ascites tumor in Balb-c mice / Elif lkay Takn et al / Cell Biochemistry and Function Volume 27 Issue 8, Pages 542 – 546


(12) Studies on antidyslipidemic effects of Morinda citrifolia (Noni) fruit, leaves and root extracts / Saf-ur Rehman Mandukhail, Nauman Aziz, and Anwarul-Hassan Gilani / Lipids Health Dis. 2010; 9: 88. / doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-9-88

(13) Noni / Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

(14) Morinda citrifolia Linn. for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting / Prapaitrakool S, Itharat A. / J Med Assoc Thai. 2010 Dec;93 Suppl 7:S204-9.

(15) MORINDA CITRIFOLIA HAS VERY WEAK ESTROGENIC ACTIVITY IN VIVO / Supornpim Chearskul, Suwattanee Kooptiwut, Santipong Chatchawalvanit et al / THAI JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Volume 17 (No.1, April 2004) Page 22-29

(16) Comparative study of the effect of Morinda citrifolia (Noni) with selected physiotherapy modalities in the management of patients with cervical spondylosis / SRA Akinbo, CC Noronha, AO Okanlawon, MA Denesi / Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences > Vol 5, No 2 (2006)

(17) Anti Cancer Activity of Morinda Citrifolia / Scientific Studies and News

(18) Sorting Morinda names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE


(20) Efficacy of a Morinda citrifolia Based Skin Care Regimen / Brett J. West and Rachel A. Sabin / Current Research Journal of Biological Sciences 4(3): 310-314, 2012

(21) Protective effect of fruits of Morinda citrifolia L. on scopolamine induced memory impairment in mice: a behavioral, biochemical and cerebral blood flow study. / Pachauri SD, Tota S, Khandelwal K, Verma PR, Nath C, Hanif K, Shukla R, Saxena JK, Dwivedi AK. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jan 6;139(1):34-41. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

(22) Protective effect of Morinda citrifolia fruits on beta-amyloid (25-35) induced cognitive dysfunction in mice: an experimental and biochemical study. / Muralidharan P, Kumar VR, Balamurugan G./ Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):252-8.

(23) Hypoglycemic and Hepatoprotective Activity of Fermented Fruit Juice of Morinda citrifolia (Noni) in Diabetic Rats / B. Shivananda Nayak, Julien R. Marshall, Godwin Isitor, and Andrew Adogwa / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011) / doi:10.1155/2011/875293

(24) Anticancer activity of Morinda citrifolia (Noni) fruit: a review. / Brown AC. / Phytother Res. 2012 Oct, 26(10):1427-40 / doi: 10.1002/ptr.4595. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

(25) Study of the Anti-Photoaging Effect of Noni (Morinda citrifolia) / Hideaki Matsuda, Megumi Masuda, Kazuya Murata, Yumi Abe and Akemi Uwaya / DOI: 10.5772/53621

(26) Bioactive constituents in ethanolic extract leaves and fruit juice of Morinda citrifolia / Rivera A*, Cedillo L, Hernndez F, Castillo V, Snchez A,, Castaeda D / Annals of Biological Research, 2012, 3 (2):1044-1049

(27) Evaluation of the Hepatic Metabolism and Antitumor Activity of Noni Juice (Morinda citrifolia L.) in Combination with Chemotherapy / Katherine Santiago, Anjali Gaikwad, Larry Coffer II, and Judith A. Smith . Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, Vol 8, No 3 (Summer), 2010: p. 89

(28) Morinda citrifolia (Noni) as an Anti-Inflammatory Treatment in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhoea: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial / H. M. Fletcher, J. Dawkins, C. Rattray, G. Wharfe, M. Reid, and G. Gordon-Strachan / Obstetrics and Gynecology International, Volume 2013 (2013) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/195454

(29) A Double-Blind Clinical Safety Study of Noni Fruit Juice / Brett J. West, Leland D. White, , C. Jarakae Jensen, Afa K. Palu / PACIFIC HEALTH DIALOG 2009, VOL. 15, NO. 2

(30) Antipsychotic-like activity of Noni (Morinda citrifolia Linn.) in mice / Vijayapandi Pandy*, Megala Narasingam and Zahurin Mohamed / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:186 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-186

Study Findings

– Antioxidant / Anticancer: Study suggest the prevention of carcinogen-DNA adduct formation and the antioxidant activity from commercial juice made from M citrifolia fruit may contribute to the cancer preventive effect of M citrifolia.
– Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity: Study of plant extracts of 17 Indian medicinal plants, M citrifolia was third in potency of dose-dependent nitric-oxide scavenging activity.
– Herbal Hepatotoxicity / Case Report: Report of a case of hepatotoxicity from a three-week history of drinking Noni juice. Pathology was confirmed by liver biopsy. Transaminase levels normalized within a month.
– Antispasmodic / Vasodilator Activities: Results suggest the spasmolytic and vasodilator effects of Moringa citrifolia are mediated possibly through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels and release of intracellular calcium – mechanisms that may explain its use in diarrhea and hypertension.
– Analgesic: Study suggests the alcoholic extract of fruits of Moringa citrifolia appears to have an analgesic effect. Morphine sulfate was the reference drug.
– Wound Healing / Antioxidant: Study showed antioxidant and wound healing activities: increase in wound contraction rate, tensile strength, granuloma breaking strength, collagen content and hydroxyproline content.
– Antiviral / Cytotoxicity: Study of fruit juice of M citrifolia displayed marked cytotoxicity in lymphocyte (MT-4) cells and inhibition of HCV subgenomic replicon replication in Huh 5-2 cells.
– Apoptosis-Inducing Effects/ Cytotoxicity: Results showed an anti-growth effect from induction of apoptosis. Study showed noni may be useful in the treatment of breast cancer either on its own or in combination with doxorubicin.
– Antidyslipidemic: Study of extracts of leaves, roots, and fruits showed antidyslipidemic effects in rat models mediated through the inhibition of biosynthesis, absorption and secretion of lipids, possibly, partly due to the presence of antioxidant constituents in the plant.
– Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting: In a preliminary, prospective, randomized double blind, placebo-controlled trial, a noni extract was showed to have an antiemetic and prophylactic property, effectively reducing the incidence of early postoperative nausea (0-6 hours).
– Weak Estrogenic Activity: Noni appears to restore normal menstrual cycle and alleviate menstrual symptoms. Study showed M. citrifolia has very low potency in comparison to estradiol, suggesting its beneficial effects of are not closely linked to estrogen-mediated action.
– Noni Combined with Physiotherapy / Cervical Spondylosis: Study showed Noni combined with physiotherapy to be an efficacious in the management of neck pain and stiffness in patients with cervical spondylosis.
– Antioxidant / Wound Healing: Study of Mc leaves was done on experimental wounds and lipid peroxide levels in rats. There was a significant increase in wound contraction rate, skin breaking strength reflecting increased collagen levels. Results showed aqueous extract of leaves enhances wound healing and possess antioxidant activity.
– Cytotoxicity: Study of ethanolic extract of fruit showed cytotoxicity in human cells only at high concentration. Cytostatic activity against HeLa and CFFK cells was seen at concentration (CC50) of more than 100 ug/ml.
– Subchronic Oral Toxicity Study: A subchronic oral toxicity study in Sprague-Dawley rats showed a no-observed-adverse-effect level at 5000 mg/kg body weight/day.
– Noni-Based Skin Care Regimen: A six-week clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of a noni based skin care regimen substantiated the traditional uses of the plant for skin health improvement. There was significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity, and firmness within two weeks of product use.
– Protective in Scopolamine-Induced Memory Impairment: Study investigated the effect of Noni fruit on memory, cerebral blood flow, oxidative stress and AChE activity in scopolamine-induced amnesia model. Results showed an ethanolic extract of fruit and its chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions significantly improved memory and CBF. It also showed dose-dependent inhibition of AChE activity in vitro.
– Protective in Beta-Amyloid Induced Cognitive Dysfunction: Study was done to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of an EA extract of fruits on beta-amyloid peptide induced cognitive dysfunction in mice. Results showed a significant increase in short-term memory and long-term memory, a significant reduction of ACh activity, a significant increase in levels of serotonin and dopamine in various treatment groups.
– Hypoglycemic / Hepatoprotective: Fermented fruit juice was studied for hypoglycemic and hepatoprotective effects in diabetes-induced rats. Results showed significant reduction in blood glucose level. Untreated diabetic animals revealed significant fatty degeneration of the liver.
– Review / Anticancer: A few in vitro and in vivo animal studies suggest a possible identified substance in unpasteurized noni fruit juice that may have a small degree of anticancer activity. Isolation of the active component warrants further research.
– Safety in Patients Taking Chemotherapy: Study evaluated the cytotoxic activity of noni juice alone and in combination with selected chemotherapy. In cancer lines, noni juice alone did no exert cytotoxic effects, and decreased activity in combination with selected chemotherapy. Data suggest noni juice may not be safe to recommend in patients taking chemotherapy.
– No Efficacy as Anti-Inflammatory in Primary Dysmenorrhea: In a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trail in 100 university students, Noni did not show a reduction in menstrual pain or bleeding when compared to placebo.
– Safety Study on Noni Fruit Juice: Study of Tahitian Noni juice in 96 healthy volunteers showed drinking up to 750mL Tahitian juice per day is safe.
– Antipsychotic-like Activity: Study evaluated the antipsychotic effects of noni fruits using mouse models of apomorphine-induced climing behavior and mathamphetamine-induced stereotypy (licking, biting, gnawing, sniffing). Results showed an antidopaminergic effect of Morinda citrifolia in mice, suggesting an antiphycotic effect that may be utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.