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The tropical noni tree (Morinda citrifolia) has been used for thousands of years to treat conditions such as cancer, cold, diabetes, flu, hypertension and pain.
Two recent Malaysian research studies found that noni is particularly effective against lung cancer compared to a common chemotherapy drug.
Both studies gave mice an alcohol-based extract of noni leaves or the FDA-approved anticancer drug Erlotinib for a period of 21 days.
The researchers concluded that the noni leaf extract suppressed lung cancer more effectively than Erlotinib. They also found that the noni extract actually enhanced other health indicators, whereas Erlotinib and many other chemotherapy drugs can cause harmful side effects.
The noni extract was found to bring the following benefits:
- Increased blood lymphocyte counts. Lymphocytes are an important part of your immune system that help fight disease and infections.
- Suppressed inflammation and swelling.
- Enhanced activity of tumor suppressor genes, which make proteins that help control cell growth.
- Inhibition of tumor growth-promoting genes.
Also, noni leaf extract is recognized as having no adverse effects up to a dosage of 1000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). The studies used a dosage of 300 mg/kg of noni extract, with clear benefits. Higher dosages could have the potential for further benefits without any adverse side effects.
Another important implication of these studies is the cost of noni leaf extract compared to conventional chemotherapy drugs. Noni leaf extract can cost less than a dollar for one 300 mg dose. Whereas, Erlotinib can cost over $80 for one 50 mg dose, which was the dosage used in the studies.
Many other pharmaceutical chemotherapy drugs are also very expensive. The affordability of noni extract is yet another one of its benefits.
What is Noni?
Although originally from Southeast Asia, the noni tree is now cultivated throughout the tropics. It flowers and fruits year-round. The fruits are also known as cheese fruit because of their pungent odor and flavor. They are eaten in many countries despite their bitter taste.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has used the roots, known as Ba Ji Tian, to improve kidney, hormone and immune function, as well as treating cancer, gallbladder disorders, hernia and erectile dysfunction.
Polynesian healers have also traditionally used noni in many ways. For example, the bark is used for bacterial infections and stomach ailments, the flowers for irritated eyes or conjunctivitis, the fruit for asthma, depression, arthritis and broken bones, and the leaves used externally for burns or infections and internally for fevers and inflammation.
Several studies have shown that noni fruits have anti-inflammatory, anti-dementia, liver-protective, analgesic, anticancer and immunomodulatory effects. This research supports many of the traditional uses of noni.
Noni is not currently well-known in Western countries, but the extract may be available at your local natural foods store or found online. You might also find noni sold as a juice preparation or as a dry extract in capsules.
Noni is naturally high in potassium and it is not recommended for anyone with kidney disease or elevated potassium.
If you’re considering taking any type of noni supplement, always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your health routine.
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