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Scientists have conducted a few experiments designed to determine whether there is a relationship between noni and cancer. From in vitro tests and tests conducted on mice and rats, it appears that noni has some ability to deter cancerous growths. It is still unknown whether this connection between noni and cancer holds true for human patients, though doctors are hopeful that this plant may have the ability to stop some kinds of cancers from spreading. Noni has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years and is prescribed for many different ailments.
In rats and mice, scientists have shown that noni can fight off cancer. When these rodents were exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, the group that was given noni did not develop as many cancerous cells as the control group. Scientists examined the way that the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of these animals reacted with the carcinogens and discovered that noni may have been able to prevent the animals' DNA from attaching to harmful substances. This connection between noni and cancer may mean that the plant is quite effective at preventing cancer.
Studies on rodents have also shown that there may be a connection between noni and cancer in terms of life expectancy as well. Mice that were given noni lived twice as long as those in the control group even when the cancer was advanced. The noni was not, however, able to cure the animals of advanced forms of cancer.
Doctors and scientists are hopeful that the connection between noni and cancer can help human patients fight off various types of cancer. It is unlikely that noni would be particularly effective at treating cancers that have already established themselves in a patient's body, but if the plant does prove to be useful as an anti-cancer treatment, it would likely be helpful in preventing precancerous growths from forming malignant tumors. It might also be possible for healthy patients to take noni to decrease the risk of developing cancer.
In folk medicine, the connection between noni and cancer is somewhat well known. Polynesian and Asian folk doctors often prescribe noni for a variety of conditions including bleeding, infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and injuries. As a plant that was traditionally used for so many different ailments, folk doctors began prescribing it for cancer when this disease became better understood. There are some potential health risks associated with taking noni, however, so patients should check with their physicians before taking this treatment. Though there may be a connection between noni and cancer that makes this a useful treatment, patients should not use noni in lieu of proper medical treatment.