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Noni a history lesson

By: Steve Frailey Wednesday August 28, 2019 comments Tags: organic noni fruit, noni superfood, raw food noni


Although this pungent little fruit has been around for 1000's of years, noni has just recently begun to grow in popularity.

What is noni? Why is it so important?

Read on my friends! I'm about to tell you.

A little about the noni tree:

Coffee Tree Noni Tree


A member of the coffee family, the scientific name for noni is morinda citrifolia. Other names include: Indian mulberry in India, dog dumpling in Barbados, beach mulberry in Hawaii, cheese fruit in Hawaii, Mengkudu in Indonesia and Malaysia, Nhau in Southeast Asia, and Nonu in the South Pacific. However, the Hawaiian name noni is most widely recognized and what we will use in this article.

Did you know? Noni is not native to Hawaii but was introduced by migrating Polynesians.  They brought Noni fruit with them on the early voyages since the fruit was used as a superfood. In times of famine noni was eaten as raw food.  

Noni is also considered a canoe plant. Click here for more.

Noni trees take approximately 18 months to mature, reaching between 20-30 feet tall and can produce fruit all-year-round under ideal conditions. Noni trees produce a white round hard fruit about the size of a potato.

The fruit has a bumpy surface and starts out hard and green until it turns white when fully mature. The white hard fruit ripens into a translucent soft fruit and becomes soft like a tomato. Noni pulp is bitter, gelatinous, and has a strong cheese-like odor when ripe. Once the fruit is cut open, it contains numerous hard triangular pits as you can see in the picture.

Did you know? Noni is very unique in the plant kingdom. You see, the tree produces the fruit first and then 50-75 flowers emerge out of the fruit!  Ethnobotanist believe all the beneficial compounds found in the raw pulp of Noni comes from the bees, pollen and air through the flowers.

How is it Noni Fruit used?

Ancient Polynesian healers used noni fruit for hundreds of years. It was thought eating the cheese-smelling fruit would ward off evil spirits due to the pungent aroma when ripe. Beside the strong acidic odor, noni has been used to maintain already within the normal range blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and is very high in natural antioxidants. The ancient Polynesians understood the power of noni as a superfood and took it with them as they traveled and colonized other islands and territories. For this very reason, noni has been appropriately labeled one of the many "canoe plants" that migrated to Hawaii.

Ancient healing manuscripts mentioned noni as a primary ingredient for numerous healing practices and rituals. Besides eating the fruit to ward off evil spirits, the Polynesians would use noni leaves as bandages for wounds and achy joints. The roots of the noni tree were used as a yellow dye for clothing, but the primary use of noni was the raw pulp. They ingested the raw fruit daily to promote overall health, wellness and energy. Polynesian warriors would also take the fruit with them to consume for extra strength before a battle.

Speaking of battles, during WWII soldiers stationed on the Polynesian islands were taught by the natives to eat noni in times of famine. Even Captain James Cook mentioned in the Polynesians using noni for medicinal purposes in his journals. In his voyaging log where he first came into contact with Polynesians had a drawing of the noni fruit and he wrote "They were eating the fruit". These facts teach us one important thing: Long before doctors and scientists, mother nature had it right all along. Whole raw food is the world's best medicine.

Problem with noni fruit today:

Noni fruit has no shelf life and rots and ferments very quickly once it ripens which destroys the potency of the raw pulp. Therefore, unless you live in the tropics it is impossible to get the raw fruit that has not fermented. That is why at Hawaiian Organic Noni on our family certified organic farm we developed a unique low heat dehydration process using non-fermented organic Noni that we grow, pick and process for maximum potency. The potency is in the pulp of the fruit. Our Noni Fruit Leather is as close to the raw fruit as one can find and has a 2 year shelf life not refrigerated. Try this ancient canoe plant and see the results for yourself!

We want to hear from you! If you had to leave home and settle in a new land, what would you take with you?


Steve Frailey

About the Author: Steve Frailey

My wife and I (Steve Frailey) moved to Kauai, Hawaii in 1982 from our organic farm in California. There were no roads, electricity, water or buildings but lots of Noni trees (Morinda Citrifolia) in our valley. We also developed a deep relationship with Noni that was growing all through our valley.  Today we run our Hawaiian Organic Noni farm, and share the gift of health with people throughout the world.