When they think of noni – many locals are brought back to the time when their grandmother would make them drink it when they were sick. Or, they’d recall walking alongside of the road and it would suddenly smell like blue cheese. The noni plant is known as one of the two-dozen canoe plants that the first Native Hawaiians brought on their voyage to Hawai‘i. And noni is the only plant that was exclusively used for medicinal purposes — which is why many consider it the aspirin of the ancients!
The Native Hawaiians often used the entire noni plant – fruit, leaves, flowers, stems, bark and root because all had some type of healing purpose. As a medicine, the fruit and its juices have been used as a treatment for health issues related to the heart and high blood pressure, as well as a treatment for diabetes. The juice of the fruit is even used to cure head lice or “ukus”. The leaves are normally heated over a fire (to bring out the oils) and then used as a wrap to put on skin that is bruised, inflamed or in need of any healing. Noni is still used by locals in many of the same ways as the ancient Hawaiians used it. But beware, if you use the noni-fruit be prepared for strong flavors and powerful aromas!
To this day, we are still uncovering the many uses of noni and the many plants that Hawaiians used for their intricate healing practices. At Hilo Hattie, we appreciate the medicinal knowledge that our Hawaiian ancestors have left us with. What kind of healing plants does your culture use?