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What Is Organic Noni?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Organic farming is a method of food production that typically does not include the use of synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, or other practices that do not occur in nature. The specific definition of "organic", however, depends on the country of origin of the food, as the rules can differ. Noni fruit grows on little trees in areas that border on the Pacific Ocean. Traditionally, the plant has medicinal uses, and some scientific research has suggested components of the plant may have useful biological effects, although the evidence is not conclusive.

Noni trees tend to grow in sand and rock on the coastline of countries around the Pacific Ocean. Scientifically, the noni is called Morinda citrifolia. The small tree, which remains green all year round, produces a yellow fruit that grows to be about as large as a potato. Juice from the fruit is the commonest way people ingest the fruit, although in the absence of other juice, the taste and smell is unappealing. Usually, therefore, organic noni juice products are mixed with more pleasantly flavored juices.

When a fruit is grown in an organic manner, the farmer typically uses no artificial fertilizers. No genetically engineered fruit can be used and the plantation does not receive any treatment with pesticides that are toxic to the environment, or that have long-lasting effects. During processing into juice, organic noni generally also do not receive any non-organic additions such as non-organic grape juice, or synthetic preservatives.

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The noni tree may be commercially grown, for the pigments that can be extracted from the bark and roots, as well as for its fruit. Various cultures in the Pacific area historically used parts of the noni tree as medicine. Problems with the joints and medical issues with the skin were the primary conditions the plant was used to treat, and most often, extracts of the fruit and the leaves were used.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the fruit juice became more popular than other forms of the plant extract. Scientific researchers found that the fruit contains antioxidant chemicals. On cell culture tests, which are performed on cells outside of the body, the juice also exhibited some benefits for the immune system and on cancer cells. Other forms of organic noni products include tablets and teas.

As of 2011, however, no research has been performed on the fruit's effect on humans as opposed to cell culture. Noni juice can also contain substances that can damage the liver, and the juice can also provide some people with too much potassium for health. Along with the lack of evidence for any useful effectiveness on the human body, the fruit has not been studied comprehensively for potential risks or side effects.

Due to these results, and the traditional uses of the plant, some people choose to drink organic noni juice as a type of health supplement. Although it is not proven to be useful or safe for conditions like cancer or heart disease, some people take it for this purpose. Care is advised, as of 2011, when assessing the health claims of organic noni products due to the lack of evidence surrounding the fruit.

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