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Issue 12 ~  

The Amazing Magical, Medicinal, Highly Priced (Australian) Native - Tahitian Noni!


Morinda citrifolia

Mengkudu daun besar

Ancient Hawaiin healers gave it the name 'Noni'. The Noni plant also goes by the name of Och Plant in India, Nonu in Samoa, Nono in morindaTahiti, Nhau in S.E. Asia and Cheese fruit in Australia.

Family - Rubiaceae

A small tree. Found from India to Indo-China, widespread throughout Malaysia. Wild on lowlands and rocky coast and Cultivated in the villages.

Traditional Uses:

The heated leaves are used as a hot compress on the chest and abdomen to treat coughs, nausea, enlarged spleen, colic, fever and stomach ache. A decoction of the bark is drunk to treat ague, astringent against bowel complaints.

The fruit juice is drunk to treat coughs, bilious fever, enlarged spleen, difficult urination, diabetes, purify blood, haemorrhage, leucorrhoea, sapraemia and dysuria.

An infusion of the bark, root or fruit is used as antiseptic wash to clean wounds.

The pounded leaves are used as a poultice to treat ulcers and wounds.

The fruit is eaten with salt to treat lumbago, asthma and dysentery.

A decoction of the leaves are drunk to treat dysentery, as a tonic and to be febrifuge.

A decoction of the roots are drunk to treat tuberculosis, stiffness, tetanus, arterial tension, hypertension and as a vermifuge.

As well as the comments from Roy Upton and Dr. Hany Harras you might be interested in some comments from 'Secrets of Fijian Medicine' by Dr. M.A. Weiner. His book suggests that the liquid pressed from young fruit 'is snuffed into nostrils to treat bad breath and raspy voice'. Other suggested uses are for mouth ulcers, haemorrhoids, removal of splinters and hernia. The book says that in Samoa kura is used for rheumatic aches, swellings caused by filariasis. Iin New Guinea the juice of the root is drunk for fever,leaves are applied for leprosy. In Micronesia it is used for diabetes, stonefish wounds tuberculosis and smallpox.

According to 'Australian medicinal plants' by Lassak and McCarthy. It has been employed particularly by the Aborigines in northern Queensland and Northern Territory as an antiseptic and in India as tonic, febrifuge and applied on wounds/ulcers. In Southern Vietnam apparently it has been used for its hypotensive properties. I have heard from new patients who have diabetes who have already begun taking noni that their sugar levels seem to respond although I do not prescribe this for them for that purpose. It seems to have some role in general immune system enhancing.

Noni is nutritious and was a dietary staple in some ancient cultures. References to Noni date back many centuries. Medicinal use of the Och plant is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings. The Noni plant is native to S.E. Asia and was introduced to the Polynesian Islands through the migration of natives. According to historians the Noni plant was considered sacred and was introduced to the Polynesian Islands because of its medicinal uses.

The Polynesian's knowledge of the Noni plant and its uses has been handed down through generations, and has prompted many medical researchers to investigate and isolate the beneficial ingredients in Noni.

Many health practitioners consider Noni to be one of the most beneficial nutritional products available.

And if One is Good - Two must be Better...

Now, there is an advanced Morinda-a compound of two species in one.

Nature's Sunshine uses 2 species of Morinda (Morinda citrifolia & Morinda officinalis) and carefully selects a blend of plant parts to ensure maximum health benefits.

Citrifolia's leaf root and fruit together support the immune, digestive, intestinal, respiratory and skeletal. Included within the combination, is the root of officianalis - adding more support to the skeletal system while nourishing the nervous system.

Morinda contains healthful phyto-nutrients - powerful substances that nourish the body's cells, tissues and organs, fight damage caused by aging, pollution and harmful chemicals - that are unique to the Morinda Plant.

Index 12

From the Editor



Warrigal green trials

Kidney Wallum

More on Davidsonia

Bushfoods and Farm Forestry


Sapphire Coast Project

Griffith Uni

Tasting Australia

More On Warrigal Greens

The People of Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corp

AQIA Conference

Somewhat useful pages

Pick of the list

Our Future, Our Culture

Bush Dust - The Spicy Tasmanian

Tales from a Wild, Wild Harvest

Out West, Wild Lime, Wheat

Sapphire Coast Project

Sapphire Coast NHT Project Progress report September 1999

A number of members of the Sapphire Coast Producers' Association are participating in an NHT funded trial to determine which native food bearing and medicinal plants should survive in a plantation environment. Six sites, totalling 2.5 hectares, in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shires have been chosen due to their varying soil types, climate and environmental conditions. The sites vary from within sight of the sea to the lower level of the Dividing Range escarpment. Some sites experience heavy frosts during winter, some are bush blocs, others open and exposed sites. Several sites have unique microclimates. NHT funding was $34,270, with $37,000 being in-kind contribution by members of the Association and the community at large. The funding provided for earthworks, soil conditioning as required, fencing and irrigation and plant material. Professional technical horticultural advice, land, water and labour and other incidentals constitute the in-kind component.

Soil analysis tests were conducted on several sites. The purpose of the tests were to determine both soil ph and presence/deficiency of trace elements. The site near the coastline needed considerable addition of gypsum and river sand in addition to soil conditioning elements.

Whilst most native plants prefer an acid soil, others prefer an almost neutral soil. The soil analysis for some sites revealed very acid levels, it was decided to add some lime to selected areas on some sites in addition to dolomite. This soil conditioning will enable a comparison of growth between natural soil conditions and those (organically) improved.

The level of progress on each site has varied due to several factors.

Some minor clearing was required on two of the sites. However, where possible, the existing canopy has been generally retained. The material recovered from the clearing exercise has been mulched and chipped as appropriate for use on-site. The earthworks have generally been completed on all sites.  Works on one site has been delayed due to a neighbour having to construct an access road through that property.

The degree and type of earthworks has included deep ripping and mounding, terracing, 60cm round holes for trees on one site to test the assertion that trees planted in a up have been known to blow over, (along the rip line) in high winds.

At least two of the properties have a kikuyu problem. One property owner has previously used roundup to suppress the kikuyu, and will apply a small amount as required in future, The other properly is organic and control of the kikuyu will be both mechanical (digging out) and by the use of a flame-weeder.

Several types of weed control are being trailed; a weed-cloth held in place by mulch, a weed mat held in place by wire pins, cardboard, living mulch (various ground covers), wood chips and dried mulch.

The provision of the 7000 tubes of plant stock required for the trial proved to be a challenge. The difficulty was that, although the approx 60 species selected for the trial are indigenous to the region (or have been introduced in excess of 60 years and have become established in the region), not all the species or quantities required were available locally. We have commissioned several native plant nurseries to propagate nominated species on our behalf, This unforeseen problem has caused a delay in plantings and consequently the final results of the trial have beer delayed until the autumn or the year 2001.

One benefit to be realised from the trial will be the local availability of propagation material in the future. Each site will have at east 12 different species n the ground.

The proposed distribution of plants is 50% trees, 30% under storey shrubs and 20% ground covers.

Several properties have varying degrees of problems with wallabies, rabbits, wombats & goats, Fencing, both electric and wire net barriers, have been/will be constructed as required.

The first plantings generaIIy have been windbreaks. Species selected for the windbreaks are of course native food or medicinal plants.

An added benefit from windbreak species selected is to attract native birds and other predators to assist In control of any undesirable pests.

One exposed site experienced land gales and high winds which blew away some of the mulch material and further dried out the ground. Those properties which already have plants (other than windbreaks) in the ground have installed an irrigation reticulation system. The region is currently experiencing less than average rainfall, so the property owners are using a considerable volume of on-site water.

As several species being trailed are vines and/or creepers, some trellising (using viticulture techniques) is being constructed on several sites. One site has some vines planted such that they should grow on the lower limbs of adjacent larger trees This planting would emulate the natural vegetation and should prove a useful application for Landcare groups. Property managers are learning new skills (fencing, irrigation etc) and maintaining detailed records of weather conditions, watering regime, presence of pests and predators, survival and growth or failure of species.


Griffith University and the QDPI Look at Bushfoods

Dr Janet Gorst, Senior Scientist DPI Centre for Amenity & Environmental Horticulture

Back in March, I was appointed as a Senior Scientist to the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) Amenity and Environmental Horticultural Station at Redlands in Brisbane. Half of my responsibility is to develop research programmes that centre around the Station's plant tissue culture facility. The other half of my work is spent as an adjunct lecturer in Plant Biotechnology at Griffith University (Nathan Campus). Together with my colleagues at Griffith I am interested in developing programmes around Australian native species and the area of bushfoods seems to be an emerging industry where our skills and facilities (at both Griffith and the QDPI) could be put to use in helping the industry.

Already at Griffith, Dr Rod Drew and Dr Sarah Ashmore have been concentrating their work on various biotechnological aspects of fruits (mainly commercial fruits like papaw and banana); Rod has considerable experience in plant tissue culture, particularly micropropagation, and Sarah has developed an interest in the conservation of plant genetic resources especially in the area of cryopreservation. In addition, Dr Julia Playford, a colleague from the University of Queensland has considerable experience in the area of evolutionary genetics including conservation genetics and molecular systematics and is keen to join our bushfoods' team.

In March, Narendra Nand became Griffith University's first 'bushfoods' PhD student and many readers of the Australian Bushfoods Magazine will have seen (and filled in) Narendra's questionnaire. Narendra has already had some success in tissue culture work with Davidson Plum and Microcitrus and will be concentrating his work on these two species; I would like to develop a research programme on Syzygium. However, this is all just the tip of the bushfoods' iceberg and we would all be very grateful for any assistance/suggestions that you, within the industry, may have regarding the possibility of research funding for bushfoods' projects, or any suggestions you have about what species would benefit from some R & D. Following is an outline of what our joint labs at the QDPI and Griffith University could offer to native plant growers in the way of research-type activities (or even contract work).

1. Contributions to Breeding Programmes

* Embryo Culture : an in vitro procedure that can assist in saving embryos that have resulted from wide crosses (e.g. interspecific) and would otherwise abort if left on the plant i.e. there has been successful fertilization but the embryos cannot proceed to full development. Such crosses are often done to bring in a desirable trait such as disease resistance. The procedure is sometimes referred to as Embryo Rescue.

Following successful embryo rescue, the plant can then be micropropagated to build up numbers. Embryo Culture may also involve the dissection and growth of a mature embryo from a compatible cross and, in this case, is used to overcome germination problems. It has been used very successfully with several Australian native species (e.g. Chamelaucium [Geraldton wax], Anigozanthos [Kangaroo Paw],Howea forsteriana[Kentia Palm].

It has also been used in cases of rare-flowering species e.g. Blandfordia cunninghami where germination in vitro allowed the propagation and establishment of the species for future replantings and research.

* Marker Assisted Selection : this is a molecular technique that uses molecular markers for efficient production of genetic maps and detection of close correlations between genetic markers and Quantitative Trait Loci. Once a population has been mapped, the information can be used to select and guide a breeding programme.

2. Rapid Propagation

* Micropropagation is the name usually given to this aspect of in vitro culture and involves the rapid clonal propagation of desired genotypes. A wide range of Australian species has now been succesfully micropropagated including Anigozanthos, Blandfordia, Eucalyptus, Grevillea, Santalum, Cephalotus, Thysanotus, Dasypogon, Lechenaultia, Boronia, Eriostemon, Chamelaucium.

* Somatic Embryogenesis : this is the development of somatic embryos, usually in liquid culture.

Not all species are able to produce somatic embryos and, at present I have no knowledge of the occurrence of the phenomenon in any Australian species (probably because it has not been specifically investigated). However, if successful, it is a very rapid method of clonal propagation

3. Conservation and Biodiversity

* Cryopreservation : the development of procedures for storing tissue cultures at very low temperature. There has been some successful work done with Australian species such as Grevillea scapigera, Sowerbaea multicaulis, Eucalyptus graniticola and Conospermum stoechadis.

* Micropropagation of Rare and Endangered Species : The procedure has been discussed above. Tissue culture groups, particularly at Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, have developed procedures for many native species including Conostylis wonganensis, Dodonaea subglandulifera, Lechenaultia pulvinaris, Grevillea scapigera, Stylidium coroniforme, Olearia microdisca, Leucopogon obtectus, Drummondita ericoides

* Plant Genetic Resources : molecular techniques for analysing variation in plant populations and investigating evolutionary and taxonomic relationships I hope this brief outline might give you some idea of the sort of research work that we would be capable of doing.

Any assistance that the bushfoods' community could give in helping our lab to get some projects going would be very much appreciated. Dr Janet Gorst, Senior Scientist DPI Centre for Amenity & Environmental Horticulture

PO Box 327

Cleveland QLD 4163

Phone : (07) 3824 9502

Fax : (07) 3286 3094 Email : gorstj@dpi.qld.gov.au