Morinda citrifolia Linn.
Morinda citrifolia Linn., known as mengkudu in Bahasa Indonesia, or pace in Basa Jawa, are considered as herb plants. Other common names of Morinda citrofilia are noni, Indian mulberry, apatot, kumudu, beach mulberry, cheese fruit, ruibarbo caribe, and wild pine. Morinda citrofilia are native to Southeast Asia and Australia.
Morinda citrifolia is reported to have broad range of therapeutic effects, including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor, antihelminthic, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and immune enhancing effects. It also has been used as folk medicine by Polynesians for centuries. (Wang MY, et al. 2002)
Two weeks ago, I met a new friend, Alex, who worked on multi level marketing (MLM) company of Morinda Holdings, formerly known as Tahitian Noni International. Alex claimed that Tahitian noni juice was now become best selling products.
It was the first time I heard about the MLM company. Alex then told me a testimonial story of his friend, Brian, who bought the juice from him. Brian's blood was diagnosed as HIV positive by the nurse from Indonesian Red Cross, before he tried to donor his blood in mass blood donor action.
Brian was Alex's best friend. He knew that Alex was always promoting Tahitian Noni Juice by online via facebook, twitter and blackberry messenger. Brian then tried to drink Tahitian noni juice everyday for a full month. The next month, Brian went to hospital to check his blood. Amazingly, his blood turned out to be HIV negative.
Tahitian Noni Juice is sold as a dietary supplement in the United States. Unlike drugs, supplements are not required to be tested by the US Food and Drug Administration, before being allowed to be sold. But, the company which manufactured the supplements should not claim the supplements can prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease.
It was hard for me to believe what Alex just told me. Could it be possible that the nurse of Indonesian Red Cross had wrongly tested Brian's blood? Alex did not told me further about Brian's lifestyle on sexual relationship.
The Scientific Studies
Damnacanthal, a compound which is extracted from Morinda citrifolia, is believed to be the source of Alex's story. Damnacanthal was identified as an inhibitor of Vpr (Viral protein R, one of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1, or HIV-1) induced cell death in HIV infection experiment using human peripheral blood lymphocytes.
The study suggests that damnacanthal might work as an anti-AIDS agent by suppressing HIV production and inhibiting CD4+ cells (cluster of differentiation 4, a glycoprotein that found on the surface of immune cells) depletion in patients. (Kamata M, et al. 2006)
10% Tahitian Noni Liquid Dietary Supplement, or Tahitian Noni Juice, made from Morinda citrifolia fruit by Morinda Inc, in drinking water for one week was able to prevent DMBA-DNA adduct (a piece of DNA covalently bonded to a cancer-causing chemical, that has DMBA (7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene) attached to it) formation in female rats. (Wang MY, et al. 2001)
Although above study had shown the anti-cancer effect of noni juice in female rats, there is no reliable clinical evidence that noni juice is effective in treating cancer in humans. American Cancer Society suggested that relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding, or delaying conventional medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences. (ACS, 2008)
Recent study had shown that, fermented Morinda citrifolia supplementation, was able to reduce glycosylated hemoglobin levels, enhance insulin sensitivity, and significantly decrease serum triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in diabetic mice. The study suggested that fermented Morinda citrifolia can be employed as a functional health food for type 2 diabetes melitus management. (Lee SY, et al. 2012)
I assume that every MLM products suppose to be sold directly to the end user, because I once also promoted and sold MLM products, door to door. But, Tahitian Noni Juice is also sold online on Amazon.com.
Because Morinda citrifolia fruits have strong smell and bitter taste, the fruits juice are often mixed with other fruits. Just like in Tahitian Noni Juice which added with cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), olives (Olea europaea), blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum), and wine grapes (Vitis vinifera).