Have you seen a Noni Tree lately ? Probably not a common sight in Singapore these days. However, a trip up north into Malaysia or southwards to Indonesia, the plant is a normal fixture in most kampong or village gardens. The fruit is edible and the large dark green leaves can be used as a wrapper to bake fish. The young shoots along with the young fruit are eaten as an Ulam or salad, dipped in a tangy chilli sauce.
However, Noni is much more than salad.
Take a look at the plant. It is an evergreen tree of medium height often growing wild like weed randomly sprouting shoots where there is opportunity whether along a fence or the edge of the house. In some old neighbourhoods like the East Coast area of Singapore, I have seen Noni trees peeking among the foliage, leaning heavily towards the side walk over the fence laden with fruit.
The young fruit is a bedazzling emerald green that looks like an ornament you could wear. Even more so when small white flowers bloom outside the fruit like a fitting crown. But the fruit morphs into a white cream colour that is juicy and ripe. This is when it will take some courage to pick one up from the ground and bring it up to your nose : the ripe juicy fruit is sour and smells of rotten cheese. Now that the truth is out, will you eat a Noni?
The fruit is appreciated for its medicinal properties and commonly used in folk medicine throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The Pacific islanders refer to Noni affectionately as 'the pain killer fruit'. Malay midwives in villages made special tonics from the fruit to help a mother regain her health after birth. This apparently is a traditional natural remedy to clean the blood.
Recent scientific studies , especially in Malaysia, have highlighted their phyto- medicinal properties as health aids in lowering blood sugar and altering the acidity of blood, to more alkaline. Definitely a head turning note to consider, looking at the statistics on diabetes in our communities today. Here is one old traditional remedy that I am sure is not going to fade away.
Active Compounds ( phto-chemicals )
alizarin; aspeeruloside; xeronine
Noni is mineral and protein rich and a good source of natural antioxidants.
I make a fermentation of the ripe fruit to make a probiotic that is chemical and sugar free.
Ingredients and material:
3 or more ripe Noni fruit
A large glass jar with lid.
Sterilise the jar by pouring hot water into it and leaving for a few minutes. Make sure the glass jar is of good quality, otherwise it may crack with the heat.
Place the fruit into the jar, cover with the lid and store in a cool place away from sunlight. The fermentation process will take about two weeks or more.
The fruits will begin to turn a darker shade, almost purple. Use about 2 tablespoons of the mashed fermented fruit as a blended drink together with other fruit juices of your choice. I mix them with lemon juice, as I prefer to omit sweet fruits for their sugar content. Strain the blended material before drinking.
The fermented Noni should be stored in the refrigerator for it to last for as long as a month.
In my Jamu tutorials, I recommend a blend of turmeric, tamarind and Noni juice with a pinch of Betel Leaf juice to make an antiseptic tonic for urinary tract infections or candida.
If you would like more information on how to make Jamu Tonics, contact me for a consultation or workshop: www.medicinewoman.asia