Morinda citrifolia

scientific name: 
Morinda citrifolia L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Tree or shrub, up to 6 m high.  Leaves opposite, elliptic, petioles 1-2 cm long, winged, blades glabrous, broadly ovate or elliptic, 17-45 cm x 8-24 cm, base obtuse, apex acuminate; stipules rounded 1-2 cm long and broad; flowers sessile on globose heads, corolla tube white, 6-10 mm long; fruits fused into a ‘pineapple-like’ globose structure 5-7 cm long and 3-7 cm in diameter, becoming white then semi-tranlucent with fetid smell when ripe.






fresh leaf, natural, applied locally1

The fruit and the leaf of Morinda are widely used for human consumption.

For rheumatism:

There is no available information on preparation and dosage other than the one referred to by the traditional use.

According to published and other information:

Use for rheumatism is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (WHO)2 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

The use of this resource in case of rheumatism can be considered complementary to medical treatment.

TRAMIL Research20

The fresh chopped leaf (0.6 g), was applied topically as a patch on 6 cm2 on an area of approximately 6cm2 of the skin of a male New Zealand rabbit. After 4 hours the patch was removed and the degree of irritation and edema observed at 24, 48 and 72 hours from the start of the experiment. There was no evidence of clinical effects and the plant may therefore be classified as non-iritant.

TRAMIL Research21(will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

El licuado liofilizado, de hoja fresca machacada, concentración de 500 mg/mL de agua, vía tópica 4 horas diariamente durante 5 días consecutivos a 3 conejos New Zealand, 0.5 mL en un cuadrante de 5 cm2 con pelo cortado del lomo, control contralateral con agua, protocolo EPA870.2500, no provocó edema ni eritema durante el ensayo ni en los 11 días adicionales de observación.

TRAMIL Research22

The lyophilized aqueous extract, obtained from the decoction of fresh leaves was administered orally (3 /kg daily for 5 consecutive days) to 10 Swiss mice (5 males weighing on average 21.04 ±0.32 g and 5 females weighing on average 20.54 ±0.22 g). The controls were 10 mice of the same strain with the same characteristics receiving distilled water (0.3 mL). The animals were observed during treatment and for 7 days afterwards. No mortality was observed during the experiment nor were signs of toxicity observed within the parameters examined. No alterations to internal organs were observed on autopsy.

The aqueous methanolic extract (50%) from the leaf by intraperitoneal administration to male mice showed an LD50 higher than 1 g/kg17.

The aqueous alcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts by intraperitoneal administration to mice showed an LD50 = 0.75 g/kg10.

The aqueous alcoholic extract (50%) from the dried fruit, administered orally or subcutaneously(10 g de material vegetal dry/kg), did not show general toxicity in mouse18.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use for children or for women during breast feeding.

The fresh plant contains anthraquinones, mainly morindone and alizarin3-4.

The leaf contains iridoid glycosides: asperuloside and monotropein4; benzenoids: gentisic acid; steroids: ß-sitosterol ; triterpene: ursolic acid5-6.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of leaf23: calories: 107; water: 77.6%; proteins: 4.5%; fat: 7.8%; carbohydrates: 8.6%; fiber: 4%; 1.6%; ash: 1.5%; calcium: 36 mg; phosphorus: 15 mg; iron: 2.3 mg; carotene: 36265 µg; thiamine: 0.16 mg; riboflavin: 0.09 mg; niacin: 7.20 mg; ascorbic acid: 52 mg.


The juice from the ripe fruit (50% water weight volume), administered orally in a dosage of 20 g of fresh plant material/kg, did not have an analgesic effect on acetic-acid (0.75 %) induced contortions in OF-1 rats (0.1 mL/10 g, intraperitoneally).


The decoction of the fresh leaf showed no antimicrobial actionin vitro at a concentration of 1000 mg/mL against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Salmonella gallinarum or Escherichia coli.

Trabajo TRAMIL24 (will be translated in 3rd Ed.)

El extracto acuoso (640 mg/mL) liofilizado de hojas frescas, se administró en forma tópica, en ambas caras de la oreja derecha (0.5, 2, 4, 8 y 16 mg/oreja, todas en un volumen de 10 µL) en el modelo de inflamación, inducida por aplicación de acetato de tetradecanoiforbol (T.P.A.) (0.125 mg/mL) durante 4 horas, en ratón Hsd:ICR (CD-1), grupos de 6 hembras y 6 machos. El control negativo recibió acetona (10 µL/oreja) y el grupo control positivo fue tratado con indometacina (25 mg/mL). No se observo una inhibición de la inflamación estadísticamente significativa en los grupos tratados con el extracto en ninguna de las dosis usadas.

The methanolic extract from the fruit and stem in vitro (200 µg/mL) inhibited HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibition by 5%8.

(will be translated in 3rd Ed.) El extracto etanólico de fruto pulverizado y hoja, todos en concentración de 3.4 mg/mL, inhibieron respectivamente en 72 y 54%, la ciclooxigenasa-1 (COX-1) in vitro. Los extractos de jugo fresco de fruto y corteza sólo disminuyeron la actividad de esa enzima un 38 y 27%. La aspirina (0.3 mg/mL) y la indometacina (10 µg/mL) causaron una inhibición de 30 y 70% en iguales condiciones experimentales9.

The hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) from aerial parts, in vitro (25 µg/mL), caused no antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Agrobacterium tumefaciens; no antifungal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Aspergillus niger, Microsporum canis, and no anti-yeast activity against Candida albicans orCryptococcus neoformans10.

(will be translated in 3rd Ed.) Los extractos clorofórmico, hexánico y metanólico de hoja desecada en frío, aplicados respectivamente en dosis de 2 mg/placa, 1mg/placa y 1 mg/placa, tuvieron actividad antimutagénica, contra mutágenos indirectos, en el modelo in vitro de Salmonella typhimurium TA100. Sin embargo, no tuvieron efecto contra mutágenos directos en dosis hasta 10 mg/placa11.

The alcoholic extract from the leaf, in vitro, against Ascaris lumbricoides from humans, reported more activity than the alcoholic extract from the bulb of Allium sativum12.

The aqueous alcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts orally administered to rats (0.375 mg/kg) did not show any anti-inflammatory activity, and in vitro, it did not show antispasmodic activity on guinea pig ileum10.

The aqueous alcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts administered intraperitoneally to rat (0.375 mg/kg), did not show analgesic, anticonvulsant or hypothermic activity.  The same extract administered orally to rat (250 mg/kg) did not exhibit hypoglycemic activity, and by intraperitoneal administration to rat (0.185 mg/kg) was not diuretic10.

(will be translated in 3rd Ed.) En la hoja se identificó 1 glucósido iridoide y 5 glucósidos flavonoles. El irinoide existe como mezcla epimérica en solución. Todos estos compuestos tuvieron actividad secuestradora de radicales libres, efecto antioxidante in vitro, en concentraciones de 30 micromoles/L13.

The aqueous extract from the debarked root, administered intraperitoneally to mouse (800 mg/kg), was active as an analgesic and at a dose of 1.6 g/kg showed the properties of a tranquilizer14.

Gentisic acid is stated to have anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic15, analgesic and anti-inflammatory16 properties.




1 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

2 WHO, 1991 Guidelines for the assessment of herbal medicines. WHO/TRM/91.4. Programme on Traditional Medicines, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.

3 LEISTNER E, 1973 Biosynthesis of morindone and alizarin in intact plants and cell suspension cultures of Morinda citrifolia. Phytochemistry 12:1669-1674.

4 INOUYE H, TAKEDA Y, NISHIMURA H, KANOMI A, OKUDA T, PUFF C, 1988 Chemotaxonomic studies of Rubiaceous plants containing iridoid glycosides. Phytochemistry27(8):2591-2598.

5 GRIFFITHS LA, 1959 On the distribution of gentisic acid in green plants. J Exp Biol 10(3):437-442.

6 AHMAD VU, BANO S, 1980 Isolation of ß-sitosterol and ursolic acid fromMorinda citrifolia L. J Chem Soc Pak 2(2):71.

7 MORON F, VICTORIA MC, PINEDO Z, 2004 Efecto del jugo del fruto de Morinda citrifolia en las contorsiones inducidas por ácido acético intraperitoneal en ratones. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas “Dr. Salvador Allende”, La Habana, Cuba.

8 TAN GT, PEZZUTO JM, KINGHORN AD, HUGHES SH, 1991 Evaluation of natural products as inhibitors of human immunodeficiency virus type1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase. J Nat Prod 54(1):143-154.

9 Li RW, Myers SP, Leach DN, Lin GD, Leach G, 2003 A cross-cultural study: anti-inflammatory activity of Australian and Chinese plants. J Ethnopharmacol 85(1):25-32.

10 DHAWAN BN, PATNAIK GK, RASTOGI RP, SINGH KK, TANDON JS, 1977 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. VI. Indian J Exp Biol 15:208-219.

11 Kusamran WR, Tepsuwan A, Kupradinun P, 1998 Antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic potentials of some Thai vegetables. Mutat Res 402(1/2):247-258.

12 RAJ RK, 1975 Screening of indigenous plants for anthelmintic action against human Ascaris lumbricoides. Part II. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 19(1).

13 Sang S, Cheng X, Zhu N, Stark RE, Badmaev V, Ghai G, Rosen RT, Ho CT, 2001 Flavonol glycosides and novel iridoid glycoside from the leaves of Morinda citrifolia. J Agric Food Chem 49(9):4478-4481.

14 YOUNOS C, ROLLAND A, FLEURENTIN J, LANHERS MC, MISSLIN R, MORTIER F, 1990 Analgesic and behavioural effects of Morinda citrifolia. Planta Med 56(5):430-434.

15 NEGWER M, 1987 Organic chemical drugs and their synonyms (an international survey), 6th ed. Berlin, Germany: Akademie Verlag.

16 BUDAVARI S (Ed.), 2001 The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemical, drugs, and biologicals. 30th ed. Whitehouse Station, USA: Merck & Co., Inc. p781.

17 NAKANISHI K, SASAKI SI, KIANG AK, GOH J, KAKISAWA H, OHASHI M, GOTO M, WATANABE JM, YOKOTANI H, MATSUMURA C, TOGASHI M, 1965 Phytochemical survey of Malaysian plants. Preliminary chemical and pharmacological screening. Chem Pharm Bull 13(7):882-890.

18 Mokkhasmit M, Swatdimongkol K, Satrawaha P, 1971 Study on toxicity of Thai medicinal plants. Bull Dept Med Sci 12(2/4):36-65.

19 Olmedo D, RODRIGUEZ N, ESPINOSA A, VASQUEZ Y, Gupta MP, 2005 Ensayo antimicrobiano de algunas especies con usos significativos TRAMIL-Centroamérica. Informe TRAMIL. Centro de Investigaciones Farmacognósticas de la Flora Panameña CIFLORPAN, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá, Panamá.

20 LOPEZ M, MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Irritabilidad dérmica primaria de hoja fresca machacada de Morinda citrifolia L. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cerro, C. Habana, Cuba.

21 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, 2006 Irritabilidad dérmica, piel sana en conejos, de hoja fresca machacada de Morinda citrifolia. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

22 GarcIa-GONZÁLEZ M, BARBOZA CJ, 2005 Toxicidad aguda (3000 mg/kg) dosis repetida, en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Morinda citrifolia. Informe TRAMIL.PRONAPLAMED. Depto de Fisiología, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

23 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p110.

24 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, 2006 Antiinflamatorio tópico, en ratones, del extracto acuoso del jugo de hojas de Morinda citrifolia. Informe TRAMIL.Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

25 FRIAS AI, GARCIA N, MOREJON Z, MORON F, VICTORIA MC, 2009 Efecto antiinflamatorio tópico de la decocción de hojas frescas de Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) en el edema de la oreja inducido por aceite de Croton en ratones. Trabajo TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología. Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de La Habana.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.