Monday, July 1, 2013

Morinda citrifolia - Mengkudu

Noni or mengkudu is Morinda citrifolia.  It is a shrub of the Rubiaceae family, native from Southeast Asia and Australasia.

From the look of it, it is obvious that mengkudu is a multiple fruit.  It is green when young, and turn yellowish or whitish  upon ripening.  Ripened fruit has a strong pungent odour, distasteful for some.   Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless consumed as a famine food, in some Pacific islands, as a staple food.  The seeds are edible when roasted.

Morinda citrifolia fruit contains moderate amount of carbohydrate and dietary fibre.  It also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, iron, potassium, calcium and sodium. 

The fruits are studies for its phytochemical compounds : lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scoploetin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacantha, and alkaloids.  Although no conclusive evidence of the fruit on human health, the Polynesian uses the green fuits, leaves and roots to treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities, diabetes, liver diseases and urinal tract infections.  

Brownish-purplish dye is extracted from its bark for batik-making.  In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its root.

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