Morinda citrifolia (Noni) fruit--phytochemistry, pharmacology, safety.

Potterat O, Hamburger M.

Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Products derived from Noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) have been commercialised in the USA since the 1990s and are increasingly distributed all over the world. A large number of beneficial effects have been claimed for Noni. Fruit juice of Noni has been approved as a Novel Food by the European Commission in 2003. This article reviews current knowledge on the phytochemistry, pharmacology, safety aspects of Noni fruit and Noni-derived products, and health-related claims and benefits. The knowledge on the chemical composition of Noni fruit has considerably increased over recent years.

A number of in vitro and, to a certain extent, in vivo studies demonstrate a range of potentially beneficial effects. However, clinical data are essentially lacking. To what extent the findings from experimental pharmacological studies are of potential clinical relevance is not clear at present.

Based on a toxicological assessment, Noni juice was considered as safe. Due to recent reports of cases of hepatotoxicity, the safety issue has been re-examined in Europe. While the European Food Safety Authority sees no link between adverse effects on liver and consumption of Noni juice, a continuing monitoring of the situation is desirable and some vigilance advised.

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