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Noni: a fruit so foul that shamans use it to scare evil spirits.

3 min read

You might not know that something affectionately called “vomit fruit,” “dog dumpling,” or “starvation fruit” is popular.
And it is eaten.
Native to Indonesia and Australia noni, whose scientific name is morinda citrifolia, is available in tropical areas across the globe, and It often shows up in the medicinal food sections at markets rather than with fruits and vegetables.
And it is so widespread that the fresh fruit is consumed across the globe, and supplements made from noni are estimated to bring in millions of dollars annually.
Not bad for a fruit that tastes like rotten cheese.
I certainly wouldn’t call the fruit itself visually appetizing, yellow and lumpy with small dark spots all over. And, moreover, it gives off a distinct smell of rotten cheese (I know this last detail might sound like an exaggeration, but really, “rotten cheese” is surprisingly accurate description).

In any case, diners consume noni at three stages of ripeness.
In Mexico, for instance, you may find roadside vendors blending unripe noni into their juices, and at this stage, the fruit’s flavor is the most tolerable: something like spicy and grassy, with hints of horseradish and parmesan. Yes. Parmesan.
But the fruit is most commonly consumed when fully ripe.
At this stage, the outside turns white and feels soft and smooth, while the flavor develops into a combination of sharp cheese, lemon, and vomit. Yes. Vomit.
The few who consume overripe noni heavily dilute it, as the brown, fermented fruit is too disgusting to consume on its own.
One of the more tolerable ways to consume this fruit is to put several in a large jar and leave in the sun to ferment. Over time, when liquid will seep out of the rotting fruits and collect at the bottom, take about a tablespoon of it and mix it into a glass of a tastier juice to reduce its flavor.

And so, why people eat it?
The main reason people opt to eat a fruit so “particular” is its purported health benefits.
All parts of the plant are used to treat ailments as diverse as toothaches, attention deficit disorder, bruises, and addiction.
And current research is discovering that noni may have cancer-preventative benefits.
But It also plays a role in traditional ceremonies, with Polynesian shamans will use the fruit to ward off evil spirits since it smells so bad that even ghosts give it a wide berth!

But that’s true?
Well…studies have shown evidence of noni reducing inflammation and tumors in mice, but the majority of humans’ health claims are unproven.
And, with that being the case, it may be a better choice to live with a toothache, an attention deficit disorder, or an evil spirit in your home, than to subject yourself to this fruit….

Images from web – Google Research

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