Does Noni Juice Help Fight Cancer?

Noni juice, derived from morinda citrifolia, which grows in tropical regions including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bali, Java, and other parts of Southeast Asia, the South Pacific as well as Hawaii and Australia, has been marketed in western countries (since about the mid 90’s) as a means to, amongst other things, help fight cancer. However due to insufficient clinical studies, noni juice manufacturers, in the United States and European countries, have received warnings by the FDA and the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) not to promote the juice as a cancer cure or preventative measure.

What Was Noni Juice Traditionally Used For?

In traditional therapies, the fruit, it’s juice, the leaves / roots, have been used to help alleviate intestinal disorders, promote relief from constipation, help with female urinary tract infections and menstrual cramping and treat certain liver problems. Noni juice, and other parts of the plant, have been used to treat diabetes in traditional medicine, however the concentrates sold in the west may be contraindicated due to a high sugar content which may cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly. Diabetics should take care when drinking noni juice, as with all fruit juices, and consult a diabetic specialist before consuming it as a therapy.

A Closer Look at Noni

Dehydrated noni fruit powder and the pulp has been studied to determine its nutritional value and has been found to be a good source of fiber, a natural carbohydrate and a source of plant protein – as is the case with most edible fruits and vegetables. Macronutrients appear to reside primarily in the pulp – not the juice. Studies that investigate the nutritional value of the noni are based on the pulp, which is high in vitamin C and rich in B3 (also known as niacin). It also contains iron, potassium and calcium. The interesting thing is that, when it comes to the juice, the main value is as a source for vitamin C. It’s been stated that the nutritional value of noni fruit is equal to that of an orange – except an orange isn’t so exotic and can’t be marketed quite so well.

What some promoters of noni juice point out is that the fruit also offers a variety of phytochemicals. Nevertheless, it appears that these properties are not necessarily unique to noni. While it may be wishful thinking to believe that noni juice is the ultimate cancer cure, the US National Cancer Institute continues to study its possible effect on breast cancer, to determine if its polysaccharides, alkaloids, flavonoids, fatty acids, and beta-sitosterol properties may have some positive influence. The results are still unknown and therefore it is one more in the long list of exotic fruit concentrates that are available for people to drink and enjoy as part of a complete natural diet that should include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.

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About the editor

Nena Argent, editorial director of EbT magazine since 2009, oversees online editorial content in English and Spanish. She joined EbT after ten years as an investigative journalist in Asia where she researched oriental health, nutrition and beauty treatments. Now based in Europe, she reports on the latest beauty trends, health issues, high-tech medical advancements and state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures from around the world.

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