A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
Morinda citrifolia / Morinda officinalis
The herb commonly called the morinda is botanically known as Morinda citrifolia. The name noni is also used for commercial purposes. The plant is widespread throughout much of the Pacific region and among the Pacific island societies - morinda is one of the main traditional sources of herbal medicine. The morinda is a small evergreen tree or shrub. Native populations of the plant can be found in most places along Southeastern Asia such as Indonesia all the way to tropical areas in Australia. The plant has an extremely wide tolerance range for different environmental conditions and habitats. The plant grows well in infertile soil; it can also grow in acidic and alkaline soils. The plant also tolerates and grows well in very dry to very wet soils. Along the Pacific island forests and rainforests, the plant occurs in low elevation as an under storey species, it is also seen under natural conditions in relatively dry to mesic sites or lowland areas in close proximity to shorelines as well. The morinda plant also fares very well when exposed to adverse events like exposure to high winds, to forest fire, to flooding and water logging, as well as to saline conditions of soil. Noni is treated as a major weed in some types of settings even though it is not considered to be as invasive as to be capable of threatening major ecosystems. The plant is very hardy and persistent, and is difficult to kill. These qualities make it one of the first plants to colonize very harsh waste areas or the remnants of a lava flow in the Pacific regions. Traditional medical systems in many cultures have made use of different parts of the plant, many herbalists also use it in the modern setting. Remedies made from the roots and the bark - in the form of dyes and medicine, as well as the use of the trunks, for firewood and tools are well known. The leaves and the fruits of the morinda plant also see use as food and herbal medicine in many indigenous cultures. While some of the traditional and modern medicinal uses of the herb are yet to be scientifically endorsed, the uses of the plant cover a large array of conditions and illnesses affecting people. The noni plant can be cultivated as a full monoculture in sun lit laces; it is also suitable for intercropping in traditional agro forestry practices of the subsistence farming systems. A variety of cosmetic products are made from the leaves and fruits of the morinda tree, and in recent years these products have attained significant economic importance worldwide for a variety of health and cosmetic applications. The products include delicious fruit juices and herbal powders manufactured from the fruit or the leaves of the plant.
Morinda has two distinct species. The Morinda citrifolia species is found in tropical areas of Malaysia, the Australian mainland, and in the Polynesian region. While topical areas in India, the Philippine islands, and all areas of Southeast Asia tend to have the other species - Morinda officinalis. Physically, the morinda can be described as a deciduous creeping vine that gives out twining stems and bears white flowers in season. For herbal medical use, the cultivators will normally harvest its very large and thick, intertwining purple roots in the spring and sometimes in the fall. The roots of the plant give out a characteristic yellow pigment when they are boiled to produce herbal tea. Noni juice is made using both species.
Traditionally a wide range of symptoms were treated using the herbal remedies made from the morinda, traditional herbalist would use the remedy for treating problems such as poor digestion, conditions such as high blood pressure, as well as various respiratory problems, and the conditions of immune deficiency affecting the whole body. Male sexual functions are said to be stimulated by the morinda, thus the herb aids in treating impotence and also increases the fertility of the person, the herb is also useful in the treatment of menstrual problems affecting women. The herbal remedy aids in increasing the energy as well as boosting stamina and endurance of the person.
The morinda is very rich in the essential vitamin C. The presence of this vitamin provides abundant natural antioxidants to the person, who in turn supports the functioning of the kidneys, and also leads to an increase in the flow of urine. Thus the herb helps in flushing out toxins from the body at a faster rate. The vitamin is also important in other ways, and actively works to correct problems affecting the structure of the proteins and cells in the body. At the cellular level, the morinda herb solves various problems affecting the body, such as conditions generated by cancer and digestive distress in the body.
The remedies made from the morinda are beneficial for many specific health conditions such as:
The remedies made from the morinda are helpful in treating depression and related conditions. Morinda has been pointed out as an anti-depressant herb in many laboratory studies - where the herb was found to have the unique property of increasing but not diminishing male libido. The anti-depressant compounds present in the morinda have been identified by Chinese scientists as being two sugars, the sugar inulin and the nystose along with succinic acid - these compounds are created in the body from simpler sugars. Brain receptor sites is affected and opened up by the compound xeronine found in morinda, the opening of these sites permits the brain to receive more of the happy hormone endorphin - the reception of this hormone in the receptors induces a feeling of well being to the person. The remedies made from the morinda are used in the treatment of all kinds of menstrual problems affecting women. The morinda based remedies helps in correcting the irregular menstrual periods affecting some women. While the traditional Chinese system of medicine or (TCM) has seen the use of morinda based remedies over 2,000 years in treating such conditions - there is still no verifiable research which gives scientific approval to such uses of the herb. Chinese medicine practitioners usually prescribe the remedies made from the herb to women affected by cold or pain in the pelvic region or the back, the remedy is also given to patients suffering from frequent bouts of urination or the urinary incontinence affecting the patients. The remedy is also used in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. The pain and swelling occurring as a result of this condition is said to be soothed down by the morinda, the herb also aids in clearing away other inflammatory conditions and at the same time also strengthens the weakened bones and ligaments of patients. Patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis who have used this morinda based remedy have also reported that it induces a quick increase in the ability of the person to walk.
Remedies made from the morinda are available in the form of capsules and in herbal tea form as well. The dosage suggested for the capsule form of morinda, is to take the capsules along with the meals thrice a day during the treatment period. The herbal actions of the morinda in the body take time and results are slow to show. A continuous dosage for the time of 6 to 8 weeks is necessary for the results to become apparent. If there is dribbling during urination or some difficulty with urine, then the advise of the TCM practitioners is to avoid the use of the herb altogether.
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