Morinda Citrifolia

The arrow points to the tree A small branch Closeup of the fruit

Kosrae: Ii, Fiji: Kura, Yap: Mangalweg, Polynesia: Noni, Chuuk: Nopur, Pohnpei: Weipwul

Masako Sechaph: Called nen by lagoon Chuukese.

Plomina Ludwig says that the fruit is called weipwul. Over time people began to use the name of the fruit for the tree, but that the tree was originally called kirikai.

A 1978 document indicates that the last sakau brought into a nahs is the sakau that is not distributed. This sakau will be the first one pounded. To break the root clump only a Morinda citrifolia trunk can be used. When the menindei calls for the trunk, he will call the for the plant by the honorific term, kirikei.

Ethnobotanical information

Chuuk (lagoon)

Masako Sechaph: Boiled is used as a treatment for diabetes. Or the fruit can be put in a bottle and fermented and then drunk to also treat diabetes.


The young flowering fruit is eaten to treat diabetes.


Found by the road or in the forest. This is an important plant. Cures many kinds of sicknesses. Mwop (asthma) can be treated with weipwul.

  1. Make a fire
  2. Heat three uhm rocks in the fire
  3. Put the stones in a bucket or basin of water
  4. Put only the leaves in the water
  5. Put the basin and the patient under a sheet with the bucket
  6. Breath the vapors until the sweat comes out
  7. Can use more rocks if desired

Manwelida Spencer, Pehleng, Kitti, Pohnpei Fall 2002

Marleen Santos (Kitti): Weipwul is a common medicinal plant. The leaves can be used for fever. Boil water, put leaves in the water, breathe the steam (umwulap). Alternately one can pound the leaves and take a hot bath in the pounded leaves. Leaves can be heated, wilted slightly, and applied to a boil to help resolve the boil. The leaves can be put into coconut oil and then the oil can be applied to the skin to treat evil spirits. A small piece of young root can be pounded and applied to a tooth to relieve toothache, or ingested for stomach ache. For urinary disorders boil and drink (part unidentified in my notes). Young fruit can be eaten to treat stomach ache. Can also cure sad and worried women - depression due to stress. Stump can be used to treat infections.

A Fijian Medicinal Plant of Many Uses

Imagine a plant that has extraordinary healing powers. Imagine that it can treat conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis, help heal wounds, and keep the heart, blood mind and body healthy.

In Fiji, Kura is used as an all-around healing remedy. The fruit is picked when it is soft and white. It's true that the fruit will emit a very strong and repellant odor, but this is no indication of the power of the medicine. The general preparation of the remedy is simple. You squeeze the liquid from the fruit, strain out the pulp and then drink it. If no ripe fruit is available, you can pick a green fruit instead and boil it down. Clear results can usually be seen after only a few weeks of drinking the juice.

How does it work? Medical research has shown that Kura contains certain important health related compounds that give the fruit its powerful effects. These compounds are responsible for influencing cell health, cell regeneration, antibacterial defenses, cancer prevention, and tissue and organ health.

Studies have shown that Kura stimulates the immune system and promotes the growth of white blood cells. It inhibits the growth of tumors by increasing and stimulating T-cells in the immune system. Kura also helps regulate proper cell function. Cells also show an increased ability to absorb and use vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. But the most stunning effect is that damaged cells, under the influence of the fruit, have actually regenerated themselves.

Kura also contains Scopoletin. The reason this is important is because Scopoletin binds to Serotonin, a very important chemical in the human body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has a crucial role in treatment of disorders, mainly those found in the central nervous system. These include anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, sleep disorder, stroke, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, muscle contraction, pain, migraine, nausea, endocrine regulation, temperature regulation, appetite control and sexual behavior.

The medicinal effects usually reach their peak after a few weeks of a daily dosage. To help maintain general health, 2 tablespoons are recommended to be taken daily. To aid in the treatment of a health condition, 3 to 4 tablespoons are recommended. In the United States, Kura juice has also been extracted and made into pills that are sold as an herbal remedy.

By Robert Churney Jr.

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