About Tropical Medicinal Fruits
Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat has access to powerful medicinal fruits due to our location on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. Some of the fruits we frequently use medicinally are: noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia), soursop (graviola), and bitter melon (Momordica Charantia).
The noni plant has been used in folk remedies by Polynesians for over 2000 years. Most likely the plant traveled to Hawaii with the first Polynesian settlers. The fruit and the leaves of the tree both have health benefits. The stronger part of the part of the plant is the leaves. The leaves can be made into a tea or made into a poultice for external use. The fruit can also be used externally on the skin. It is a powerful skin detoxifier and possesses anti-microbial and anti-septic effects.
Noni fruit has an intensely cheesy flavor. It is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains magnesium, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc, copper and sulfur. At Hawaii Naturopathic we primarily use the fruit to make Noni juice. This pungent juice is in a quiet taste, but is drunk in small quantities (2oz shot) for its healing qualities.
Medicinal Properties of Noni Juice
• Anti-cancer, anti-tumor (2oz served at breakfast for cancer patients)
• Good for diabetics and people suffering from high blood pressure due to the alkaloid xeronine
• Immune stimulating
The leaves, seeds and fruits of soursop contain active compounds called annonaceous acetogenins. Annonaceous acetogenins are promising new antitumor agents that are found only in the plant family Annonaceae.
Like the noni plant, the leaves of the soursop tree are actually the most potent in its medicinal value. Some of the ways we incorporate soursop into the diet at Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat are: frozen soursop is added to the breakfast smoothie, the soursop fruit is served as a sorbet for desert, soursop juice is served as a special treat. Additionally a tea can be brewed from the soursop leaves.
Soursop contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B2.
Medicanal Benefits of Soursop
• Soursop Leaf Tea relieves back pain
• Cancer fighting properties
• Helps to control fungal and Bacterial Infections
• Lowers high blood pressure (the fruit and the leaf tea)
Bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash (Momordica charantia) is a vegetable of the same family of squash, watermelon, cantaloupes, cucumber, etc. It should be eaten by everyone due to its nutritional qualities.
Fresh bitter melon is extremely high in vitamin C (100g or raw pod provides 84mg or about 140% of RDI). Vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant, helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.
It is an excellent source of health benefiting flavonoids such as ß-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, and zea-xanthin. It also contains a good amount of vitamin A. Together; these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
Bitter melon notably contains phyto-nutrient, polypeptide-P; a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it composes hypoglycemic agent called charantin. Charantin increases glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Together, these compounds are thought to be responsible for reduction of blood sugar levels in the treatment of type-2 diabetes.
In addition, the vegetable is also an excellent source of folate and a good source of niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, manganese and magnesium.
At Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat we encourage all patients to try bitter melon. It is particularly used therapeutically for Type 2 Diabetes patients.