Friday, March 6, 2009

Noni (Morinda citrifolia)

Also known as Indian Mulberry, Mengkudu (Malay), Nonu/Nono (Pacific Islands), Noni (Hawaii).

The noni fruit is native to Southeast Asia region but has been extensively spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, Pacific islands, French Polynesia,Puerto Rico and recently the Dominican Republic. Tahiti remains the most prominent growing location.

It can grow up to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves. The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval and reaches 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food.

How to grow
The plant grows well on sandy or rocky shores. Apart from saline conditions, the plant also can withstand drought and grows in secondary soils. It is advisable that noni seeds are planted in deeper seedling flats to allow the growth of longer taproots which ensure a safer transplanting and quicker establishment to the soil later. Moderate irrigation is necessary for noni cultivation.

Noni seeds require hot, wet conditions for optimum germination. Unscarified seeds require several months to a year before natural germination takes place, but their germination can be reduced to a month or so using heat. The seeds can tolerate temperature of 100°F (38°C), perhaps even higher. Select the warmest spot in the nursery or greenhouse to germinate noni seeds.

Seed Scarification - The hard seed coat should be scarified through puncturing of nicking to reduce germination time. It also improves germination percentage and brings about uniform sprouting. By natural means, the seed coat decomposes slowly, and then germination follows. Scarification speeds up the process. Sacrified seeds will germinate in 4-6 weeks.

An appropriate interplant spacing for noni is 10–15 feet. At 12-foot spacing there are 290 noni plants per acre. Higher planting densities (closer plant spacing) result in crowding and may exacerbate certain pest or disease problems.

Nutrition info
High dietary fiber, Carbonhydrates and Vitamin C, Niacin, Iron and Potassium.

Many traditional medicinal uses. For topical uses, it can be used raw or pounded into a mush and mixed with salt. The smelly salve is applied to cuts and broken bones. Raw ripe fruit is applied to infected boils for the purpose of drawing out the pus. It is also topically applied to animal bites, insect bites, inflammation, and burns. In some places heated leaves are placed on the chest to relieve nausea, coughs, and colic, or placed on the forehead to treat headaches.

Tonics made from various parts of the Noni bush are used to treat eye, skin, gum, throat, skin, and stomach problems. Traditional healers use Noni extracts for treating arthritis, menstruation, dysentery, lumbago, asthma, intestinal worms, food poisoning, nausea, and urinary, bowel, and respiratory problems.

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