HEALTH BENEFITS OF MORINDA CITRIFOLIA: TAHITIAN NONI JUICE
by: Harrison, Mona, M.D.

Dr. Mona Harrison received her medical training at the University of Maryland, Harvard University and the Boston University Medical Centers. She is the former assistant dean of the Boston University School of Medicine and former chief medical officer at the Washington, D.C. General Hospital. She currently specializes in pediatrics and family medicine.

I have a real variety of patients who have benefitted from Tahitian Noni juice, and it would seem to many people that something magical is happening here because it affects so many bodily systems. But there is a very scientific explanation for how something so simple, just a juice, can have such widespread effects.

Ancient manuscripts call the different glands in the body seals, and by a seal, we mean something which opens and closes. Ancient medical literature states that the glands actually operate according to frequency, a term which is becoming very popular these days in nuclear and quantum physics. The frequency of the glands was known thousands of years ago, but we have forgotten much of this information. In ancient terms, the pineal gland was called the sixth seal or sixth gland of the body. We have recently discovered that it stimulates two major hormones called serotonin and melatonin. The pineal gland controls the five other glands below it which are the thyroid which produces thyroxine to energize our cells, the thymus which protects you against infections and cancer, the pancreas which is involved with blood sugar and secreting the hormone insulin, the adrenal gland which responds every time you are under stress; and the first gland is the male and female sex organs and their hormones. Therefore restoring the sixth gland, the pineal gland, will have an impact on all those other glands and their functions in the body. When the pineal gland is at its peak performance, it turns a golden colour and emits a black juice as well as a golden oil. That black juice would be the melanin colour of the organs and every other area of the body which has a pigment.

It happens that Noni juice mimics the secretion coming from the pineal gland, and in fact acts as a precursor to it, building it up and allowing it to function fully. Noni juice has a black colour, very similar to the melanin that gives colour or pigment to each one of our organs. Every place our body contains this pigment will be affected by Noni juice.

The back of the eye has a black area called the macula which is pigmented with melanin. That is the area the light hits when your eye opens. Many people have difficulty with blindness because they no longer make that beautiful colour in that spot. We have noted the Noni juice makes the macula generate more pigment and the cells begin to return to normal, and the blindness reverses itself.

In the brain, that black stain is found in an area of the mid-brain called the substantia nigra, nigra standing for black. Diseases related to that area occur when it no longer receives pigment and begins to deteriorate. Diseases in this category are multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Appropriate function of the pineal gland is important in restoring those cells, and we are seeing patients reversing some of their neurological problems because the Noni juice is stimulating the production of chemicals essential to those areas of the brain.

The pancreas is also affected by Noni juice: the blood sugar and blood pressure begin to normalize. The pineal gland affects the different organs all the way down to the first glands, the male and female sex organs, and people are noticing for example that their prostate glands are beginning to shrink down to normal size once they have been on the Noni juice for a short period of time. Women who have problems with their uterus or with fibroids etc. are noticing that the fibroids are beginning to disappear, that their menstruation is beginning to normalize, they have less cramps and their bleeding problems become more in balance.

DR. SCOTT GERSON, M.D.

Dr. Gerson has practiced medicine in Manhattan for the last 15 years. He is uniquely educated, having received his M.D. from Mount Sinai Medical School in New York, and his doctorate in ayurvedic medicine in India. He is currently teaching our new medical doctors at some of the most prestigious medical schools in America about alternative approaches in medicine. Several months ago, he addressed the United Nations on "the state of herbs in the world today".

Several years ago, I was researching material for a book on the medicinal plants of India, and became interested in a family of plants known as Rubiaceae. Of particular interest was a plant known in Sanskrit as ach which was attributed special properties by ancient physicians. The fruit of this ach plant or Morinda citrafolia has a rich history in India where it has been used for tens of centuries in the system of medicine known as ayurveda. This holistic medical tradition was established in the north western part of India by a people called aryans who were reputed to be a rather cosmic civilization. Morinda citrifolia was especially esteemed by the ancient aryan physicians because it protected the skin from becoming dry and cracked from the sun. My investigation of the published scientific literature on Morinda citrifolia yielded more than 100 articles pertaining to this medicinal plant. I soon discovered that the original home of the plant was not India at all, but rather Polynesia, Micronesia and the Hawaiian Islands where it is known as noni.

I first investigated what was known about the compounds in the noni fruit. Not surprisingly I found that several important active constituents were already identified which had beneficial effects in human physiology. Among the most intriguing were the carotenoids, bioflavonoids and anthraquinones as well as several other unknown substances which according to their chemical structures appeared to be accessory activating factors.

At this point, I decided to take noni as a medicine on a regular basis myself. I had taken this direct experiential approach to learning about a plant medicine many times, as I had been taught to do in my training as an ayurvedic physician. It was late autumn, and although I was healthy, I was all too familiar with the pattern my physiology follows every year around this time. It always began with feelings of increasing stress, then bothersome skin eruptions, fatigue, mental irritability, bloating, constipation, and finally inevitably an upper respiratory infection, and it happened the same way every year. I reasoned that noni juice might confer some protective action against disease through its significant anti-oxidant components. In the past, I had consumed medicinal preparations hundreds of times with many of these same constituents without any appreciable effects. As it turned out, there was a marked difference in my health that autumn. I was distinctly more alert, more energetic, more balanced, my skin was glowing more than I could ever recall and my digestion was improved immeasurably. I attributed the benefits of noni to the interaction of the known components with the hitherto unknown components which perhaps work synergistically with all the other nutrients.

The second part of my research is known as ethnobotony, where we seek out physicians or native healers who may have extensive experience in using a particular medicinal herb, and ask them what they use it for, how they prepare it, how successful it is and obtain direct information about its medical usefulness from people who have used it over many many years. The third aspect of my research process involves a thorough search of the current scientific and medical literature to determine whether any of the constituents of the plant in question are known to possess biological activity that may help shed some light on its effectiveness for the treatment of a certain disease or diseases.

With regard to Morinda citrifolia, an interesting thing started to happen the more my research progressed. It seemed that the list of ailments for which noni was used medically just grew and grew longer than almost any other medicinal plant that I have ever encountered. I was initially overwhelmed at how many medical indications this single plant has had in the Pacific Islands and south east Asian literature.

A few of the medicinal uses are for digestive problems such as diarrhea, intestinal worms, nausea, food poisoning; respiratory problems such as congestive cough, dry cough, tuberculosis, cholera, infant chest colds and sore throat; cardiovascular problems, hypertension; inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, abscesses, mastitis, gout and other inflammatory joint conditions. It is a noted analgesic or pain reliever. One of the most common uses of noni has been in the area of skin conditions, being utilized for wounds, ulcers, abscesses, ring worm, boils, cellulitis, swellings, scalp conditions and sores. It has been used in the treatment of tumours and broken bones, jaundice and other forms of liver disease. It has been used to treat asthma and dysentery, hypercholesterolemia, menstrual cramps, gastric ulcers and diabetes.

Faced with such a diverse list of physiologically distinct conditions, the conventionally oriented physician might be tempted to completely dismiss these reports as unsubstantiated folk tales. We are conditioned to believe that any important medicinal substance should have one or at most two applications. How could one plant be used to treat so many pathological conditions?

To answer these questions, it was time to turn to the scientific research involving Morinda citrafolia. Research at the University of Hawaii's Biomedical Sciences Department showed that extracts of noni contained a naturally occurring component which activates serotonin receptors in the brain and throughout the body. Serotonin is a neuroendocrine compound which along with its receptors is found in high levels in the brain, the blood platelets and the lining of the digestive tract. It is well established that serotonin is an important brain neurotransmitter, and plays a significant role in temperature regulation, sleep, hunger and sexual behaviour. Serotonin deficiency has been implicated in a number of pathological conditions including migraine headaches, obesity, depression and Alzheimer's disease. Modern pharmaceutical medicine has had some success with the use of serotonin analogues in the treatment of certain diseases. I am sure many of you are familiar with the drug Prozac which is used to treat depression; another is used to treat acute migraine headaches. Both of these synthetic drugs specifically target and bind to serotonin receptors. The problem with both of these substances and with all synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals which isolate one active ingredient is the great incidents of adverse side effects. Natural products like Morinda citrafolia in its unprocessed complete form do not generally have adverse effects. The presence of a wide range of other naturally occurring substances which are present in some way regulates and modifies its effects.

Research at the University of Metz in France, demonstrated the central analgesic activity of noni to alleviate pain of many types. Moderate doses of noni was measured to be about 75% as effective as an equivalent dose of morphine sulfate.

Since 1961, we have known that various parts of the Morinda citrafolia tree contains several different varieties of bitter plant compounds known as anthraquinones. Plants containing anthraquinones have literally been used for millennia due to their medicinal properties. Most noted are significant antiseptic (antibacterial) effect to disease causing bacteria in the intestinal tract. This compound is especially toxic to the pathogens Shigela and Salmonella. Anthraquinones are also particularly effective against many forms of Staphylococcus, a major cause of many skin infections which sometimes infect the valves of the heart. Furthermore anthraquinones in noni prompt the digestive secretions of the stomach and small intestines, stimulate bile flow and promote the activity of the entire digestive process. However, it is the activity of one specific anthraquinone, damnacanthal which has been shown in vitro to actually reverse cancer cell proliferation at the gene level. The research has demonstrated that one isolated component found in noni fruit turned off the signal for tumour cells to proliferate. The study was reported in 1993 from a very reputable laboratory in Kao University in Yokohama, Japan.

It was originally believed that one compound which had been isolated was responsible for all the many biological effects. The compound which has a chemical formula of C10H8O4 is known as scopoletin. Both noni and scopoletin are known to reduce blood pressure, have anti-inflammatory activity, exhibit antibiotic activity, antifungal activity and possess antitumour effects. Yet when researchers at the University of Hawaii tried to purify and isolate scopoletin from the rest of the noni extract, much of its activity was lost. In fact, both the biological effects and the serotonin receptor binding effects of the crude noni extract was lost upon purification of this presumed active ingredient. This leaves us the conclusion that other substances in noni must be present in order to produce its biological effects.

Noni has not been found to be harmful at any level, nor for any health condition.

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For more information about Tahitian Noni juice, Noni Skin and Hair Supplements, and Weight Loss Products including tapes and literature and research cited in this article, please contact Consumer Health or Helen at 416-654-8003.

BOOKS ABOUT NONI'S HEALING PROPERTIES:

Article Information
Volume 20 Issue 12
December,1997

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