Written by Karen Pilkington and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated March 15, 2017

Noni (Morinda citrifolia)

Abstract and key points

  • Noni (Morinda citrifolia) is a medicinal plant from Pacific regions
  • Evidence on the effects in cancer patients is lacking
  • Few adverse effects have been reported

Noni (Morinda citrifolia), also known as Ba Ji Tian, Cheese Fruit and Indian Mulberry, is a Polynesian plant that has traditionally been used in medicinal remedies. Noni fruit juice has been the main focus of attention in recent years.

A wide range of indications have been proposed for Noni juice and it has been marketed as a general cure-all for conditions including cancer, depression, diabetes, drug addiction, heart disease and obesity. It is also claimed that Noni has general benefits on health.

In vitro and animal studies have shown potential antioxidant action, immune function stimulation, and anti-tumour activity but there have been few trials in humans for any condition and no randomised controlled trials in cancer patients. Preliminary studies have suggested protective effects in heavy smokers.

Few adverse effects have been reported although assessment of safety has been limited to date. Several cases of liver toxicity have been reported but these have not been documented to be caused by Noni juice. The potassium content in some noni juice products may cause problems in people with renal insufficiency, on low potassium diets or taking drugs likely to increase potassium levels.

While apparently widely used, evidence on the proposed benefits in cancer patients is lacking and assessment of safety is limited.

Read about the regulation, supervision and reimbursement of herbal medicine at NAFKAMs website CAM Regulation.

Citation Karen Pilkington, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Noni [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Herbal-products/Noni. March 15, 2017.


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