Morinda citrifolia (or as the Hawaiians named it, Noni) owes much of its distribution throughout the South Pacific Islands to the ancient Polynesian people who set-out from South East Asia in search of new islands to colonize.
These brave, sea-traveling Polynesians journeyed across thousands of miles of open ocean water in gigantic, double-hulled canoes to settle what is now known as the French Polynesian Islands.
Along with moving entire villages to new undiscovered islands, these explorers carried with them the most essential items necessary to sustain life during their journey, and for the future generations to come after them. These plants (called "canoe plants") were essential to meet their needs for food, fiber, building materials, and medicine. The Noni plant was one of them.
Historically, Noni fruit was known as the "Queen" of all canoe plants for its healthful properties, and was essential for establishing new villages. These early travelers must have thought Noni to be a precious and sacred
cargo, as they had limited space in their canoes, yet made room to include
Noni fruit for their journey.
In 400 A.D., Hawaii Loa, a Polynesian chief brought Noni as one of the canoe plants on the 2,400 mile journey from Tahiti to a new island chain that eventually took his name, Hawaii.
In modern times, the foremost contributor
taxonomy of the plants of the Far East, Elmer
Drew Merrill (1876-1956)
included the Noni plant in his published U.S. Military
Survival guide written for soldiers based on tropical Polynesian islands
during World War II. In his book, Merrill recommended Noni fruit to
American GIs as an emergency
food or to give them added
It wasn't until the early 1950s that a renowned scientific
researcher and biochemist would begin important research that would lead
of the healthful properties found in Noni. Learn more: How Noni Juice Works.
juice has gained popularity as an alternative medicine. Modern
and medical communities have continued to study the plants and understand
the healthful properties that were known and appreciated by the ancient