Noni is the common name for Morinda citrifolia, a tropical tree native to Polynesia, especially Tahiti and Hawaii. The fruit, leaves, stems and roots have all been used by Polynesian "Kahuna", or traditional healers, for up to 2,000 years in foods and beverages.
The noni tree begins as a small blossoming shrub with leaves that can reach up to 25 cm in length. The tree can grow to a height greater than 10 meters. The plant produces an irregular, lumpy, egg-shaped fruit reaching a dozen or more centimeters in length. The ripe fruit has a strong, pungent odor. The seeds within the fruit can float due to inner air chambers and can withstand prolonged exposure to salt water. Noni is believed to have spread to Asia, Australia and the Americans initially by floating seeds on ocean currents and later by Polynesian traders and settlers. Noni was a founder crop to original peoples who populated the Hawaiian Islands.
Modern research has identified several important and beneficial nutritional compounds in Noni. Studies have suggested an exciting finding: that Noni increases the efficacy of the immune system by stimulating white blood cells into “overdrive”. Polysaccharide compounds (6-D-glucopyranose pentaacetate), which are found in the fruit, are generally believed to increase the overall killing power of white blood cells. Also, Noni fruit is full of many powerful antioxidants and compounds already believed to promote wellness such as: selenium (skin elasticity, skin health), xeronine (cell structure health and regeneration), glycosides (defense against free radicals), scopoletin (anti-inflammatory properties), terpine (helps the body detoxify), limonene and anthraquinones (antiseptic properties particularly for people with compromised or inhibited immune systems).
Newly discovered compounds found in noni leaves have proven to be rich in flavonoid and other antioxidants that help protect cells and tissues from free radical damage. Tea made from the leaves helps to improve digestion, maintain normal blood sugar levels and eliminate toxins from the body. The tea also has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Preliminary evidence suggests that the leaves (and seeds) of noni contain omega 3 fatty acids.
The flavor of noni leaf tea is extremely pleasant. It tastes a bit like coca tea with hints of green tea. Noni leaf is relaxing and contains no caffeine or stimulants of any kind. No trace of the pungent odor or taste of the noni fruit or noni juice is present in the leaves.
Noni leaf tea is a great way to ingest the great health-giving compounds of the noni plant without having to overcome the pungent nature of the juice. Picking noni leaves from the noni tree does not damage the tree in any way; in fact, picked leaves grow back swiftly and abundantly.