Recently, a woman who had the "cure" to Migraine "headaches" contacted me. She found this "cure" in Tahitian Noni Juice, and claimed that after using Tahitian Noni Juice for just a few weeks, her chronic daily Migraines disappeared. She now only experiences an occasional Migraine, which she says she quickly relieves with a tablespoon or two of Tahitian Noni Juice. Does it sound too good to be true?
Tahitian Noni Juice comes from the morinda citrifolia fruit, found in the South Pacific region. The claim is that natives of the region have used it for their health for thousands of years. Advocates for Noni Juice claim it is found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's and Department of Agriculture's list of generally recognized safe products. They point to many alleged nutraceutical benefits.
According to the International Noni Communication Council, and Dr. Neil Solomon, the Council's physician, Tahitian Noni Juice is dosed in four phases: a test serving used over three days, a loading serving used for one month, a therapeutic serving, used for two to six months, and a maintenance/prevention serving for month seven and beyond. Depending on your age, Solomon lists the number of ounces per day a person should use in each phase.
Noni advocates say it can be used for several conditions and to achieve many goals: increasing energy, lessening allergy symptoms, improving asthma, losing weight, improving arthritis and diabetes, decreasing pain (including headache pain) and to lessen symptoms of cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and stroke. The advocate who contacted me claimed it was safe to take with all medicines, even, she specifically pointed out, blood pressure medicines. Such claims scare me to death. With just a little research, I found not only was this juice risky, but many advocates making these claims are in violation of FDA acts.
According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, morinda citrifolia taken with potassium sparing diuretics might increase the risk of hyperkalemia, a condition where potassium builds to possibly fatal levels in the blood stream. Use of the fruit can also interfere with diagnostic tests.
The dosing information provided on the International Noni Communication Council's web site "make" it a drug, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act). Many advocates with web sites selling Tahitian Noni Juice have received warning letters from the FDA. The claims these web sites make may cause the product to be a drug under the Act.
Further, in relation to these claims, the FDA has noinformation that the juice is generally recognized as safe, thus it may also be considered a "new drug" under the Act. New drugs cannot be legally marketed in the United States without prior approval from the FDA according to the Act.
The Federal Trade Commission publishes a brochure called Miracle Health Claims: Add a Dose of Skepticism for consumers who might consider using nutritional and/or food supplements that make grandiose claims of cures and good health. Fraudulently marketed health-related products promise quick cures and easy solutions for many problems. The FTC and the FDA say health fraud promoters target people who are overweight or have serious conditions for which there are no cures. Some of these conditions include cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, arthritis and weight loss.
False claims are easy to spot. Look for products that claim a quick effective cure-all; statements that claim the product can treat or cure diseases. For example "shrinks tumors" or "cures impotency." Claims of a scientific breakthrough, miraculous cure or secret ingredients are also warning signs that the herbal or dietary supplement may be too good to be true.
Products sold online are also suspect. Buyers have no way to investigate the product and may not receive what they thought they were buying. Cost is a consideration in examining these nutritional and food supplements. The price of a bottle of Noni Juice varies, ranging from $30 - $100.
With any nutritional or food supplement where there are fantastic claims of cure or great improvement in health, careful examination is prudent in order to make sure the claims are true, safe, and legal. That said, we don't want to "throw the baby away with the bath water" either. If a product seems reasonable to you, gather information and discuss it with a doctor you already know and trust. Always do your homework, and always consult your physician before trying any health product.
Noni Testimonials - Morinda Citrifolia: INCC.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2000, p. 735-736
Food and Drug Administration cyber warning letter, 9-15-2000
Federal Trade Commission brochure, Miracle Health Claims: Add a Dose of