Ba ji tian (Morinda officinalis)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 1,2-Dihydroxy-3-methylanthraquinone, 1,3,8-trihydroxy-2-methoxy-anthraquinone, 1,6-dihydroxy-2,4-dimethoxyanthraquinone, 1,6-dihydroxy-2-methoxyanthraquinone, 1F-fructofuranosylnystose, 1-hydroxy-2-methoxyanthraquinone, 1-hydroxy-2-methylanthraquinone, 1-hydroxyanthraquinone, 2,4-ethylcholesterol, 2-hydroxy-1-methoxy-anthraquinone, 2-hydroxymethyl-3-hydroxyanthraquinone, 2-methoxyanthraquinone, 2-methyl-anthraquinone, arabinose, Ba kich, ba-ji-tian (Chinese), beta-sitosterol, bois douleur, canarywood, cheese fruit, fructan, galactose, galacturonic acid, hagekiten (Japanese), hai ba ji (Chinese), Hawaiian noni, heptasaccharide, hexasaccharide, hog apple, Indian mulberry, Indian noni, luoling (Chinese – Singapore, Taiwan), mengkudu (Malay), menkoedoe, monotropein, mora de la India (Spanish), Morinda officinalis How., morinda root, Morindae radix, morindolide, morofficinaloside, mulberry, nhau, noni, noni juice, nono (French – Tahiti), nonu, nystose, pa chi t’ien (Chinese), pa kit tian (Chinese), p’agukch’on (Korean), pau-azeitona (Portuguese), physcion, rotten cheese fruit, Rubiaceae (family), rubiadin, rubiadin-1-methyl ether, ruibarbo caribe (Spanish), scopoletin, succinic acid, Tahitian noni juice, ura, wild pine, wu ning (Chinese – Singapore).

  • Selected combination products: Equiguard™ (Morinda officinalis, Epimedium brevicomum Maxim., Schisandra chinensis Baill., Ligustrum lucidum Ait., Cuscuta chinensis Lam., Psoralea corylifolia, and Astragalus membranaceus Bge.); WKSY (Morinda officinalis, radix aconiti Lateralis preparata, herba Epimedii, Curculigo orchioides Gaertn., Cinnamomum cassia Presl, rhizoma Zingiberis, Codonopsis pilosula, radix Astragali, radix Rehmanniae praeparata, Plastrum testudinis, pericarpium Citri reticulatae, Amomum villosum Lour., and Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.); Er-Xian Decoction (EXD), a Chinese medicine formula, composed of Curculigo orchioides Gaertn., Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., Morinda officinalis, Anemarrhenae asphodeloides Bge., Phellodendron chinense Schneid., and Angelica sinensis Diels.

Background

  • Ba ji tian, also known as Morinda officinalis, has a slightly curved, yellowish-gray root that is odorless and sweet to slightly sour in taste. This root may be stir-fried and eaten, or it may be used as medicine.

  • The root of Morinda officinalis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times. It is believed to strengthen the bones and tendons, as well as treat infertility, missing menstrual periods, blood clots during menstruation, and other sexual health problems. The root may also relieve symptoms of back pain and muscular atrophy, a condition in which muscle wastes away. The fruit of Morinda officinalis is called the noni berry and has gained popularity in the United States and other Western countries.

  • Ba ji tian may have benefits for patients with cancer, depression, fatigue, inflammation, osteoporosis, memory problems, high blood glucose, or kidney disease. However, more studies are needed to confirm the use of Morinda officinalis in medicine. At this time, there is a lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of Morinda officinalis for any condition.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Cognitive improvement

One study suggested that an herbal solution containing Morinda officinalis may improve symptoms of schizophrenia, a mental disorder. Larger, controlled studies for longer durations are needed to evaluate this finding.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, back pain, bedwetting, cancer, depression, diabetes, fatigue, gallbladder disorders, immune system stimulator (immunostimulant), impotence, kidney disorders, muscle weakness, neuroprotective (protects the nervous system), osteoporosis, premature ejaculation, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stress.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for ba ji tian in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for ba ji tian in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to Morinda officinalis, its components, or members of the Rubiaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There is a lack of human studies examining the safety of ba ji tian.

  • Ba ji tian may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Because ba ji tian contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.

  • Use cautiously in people taking agents that affect the immune system, agents that may increase phosphorus or calcium, depressants, and stimulants.

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to Morinda officinalis, its components, or members of the Rubiaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of ba ji tian during pregnancy or lactation.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Ba ji tian may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Because ba ji tian contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.

  • Ba ji tian may also interact with agents that affect the immune system, anticancer agents, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory agents, calcium salts, depressants, osteoporosis agents, and stimulants.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Ba ji tian may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

  • Because ba ji tian contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.

  • Ba ji tian may decrease the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.

  • Ba ji tian may also interact with anticancer herbs and supplements, antidepressant herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, calcium, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, osteoporosis herbs and supplements, phosphorus, and stimulants.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Chang, M. S., Kim, W. N., Yang, W. M., Kim, H. Y., Oh, J. H., and Park, S. K. Cytoprotective effects of Morinda officinalis against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress in Leydig TM3 cells. Asian J Androl 2008;10(4):667-674. View Abstract
  2. Choi, J., Lee, K. T., Choi, M. Y., Nam, J. H., Jung, H. J., Park, S. K., and Park, H. J. Antinociceptive anti-inflammatory effect of Monotropein isolated from the root of Morinda officinalis. Biol Pharm Bull 2005;28(10):1915-1918. View Abstract
  3. Cui, C., Yang, M., Yao, Z., Cao, B., Luo, Z., Xu, Y., and Chen, Y. [Antidepressant active constituents in the roots of Morinda officinalis How]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi 1995;20(1):36-3. View Abstract
  4. Hsieh TC and Wu JM. Ethanolic extracts of herbal supplement Equiguard (TM) suppress growth and control gene expression in CWR22Rv1 cells representing the transition of prostate cancer from androgen dependence to hormone refractory status. International Journal of Oncology 2008;32(1):209-219.
  5. Kim, I. T., Park, H. J., Nam, J. H., Park, Y. M., Won, J. H., Choi, J., Choe, B. K., and Lee, K. T. In-vitro and in-vivo anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of the methanol extract of the roots of Morinda officinalis. J Pharm Pharmacol 2005;57(5):607-615. View Abstract
  6. Li, J., Zhang, H. L., Wang, Z., Liang, Y. M., Jiang, L., Ma, W., and Yang, D. P. [Determination content of the antidepressant extraction and analysis the trace elements from Morinda officinalis]. Zhong.Yao Cai. 2008;31(9):1337-1340. View Abstract
  7. Li, N., Qin, L. P., Han, T., Wu, Y. B., Zhang, Q. Y., and Zhang, H. Inhibitory effects of morinda officinalis extract on bone loss in ovariectomized rats. Molecules. 2009;14(6):2049-2061. View Abstract
  8. Li, Y. F., Gong, Z. H., Yang, M., Zhao, Y. M., and Luo, Z. P. Inhibition of the oligosaccharides extracted from Morinda officinalis, a Chinese traditional herbal medicine, on the corticosterone induced apoptosis in PC12 cells. Life Sci 1-10-2003;72(8):933-942. View Abstract
  9. Li, Y. F., Liu, Y. Q., Yang, M., Wang, H. L., Huang, W. C., Zhao, Y. M., and Luo, Z. P. The cytoprotective effect of inulin-type hexasaccharide extracted from Morinda officinalis on PC12 cells against the lesion induced by corticosterone. Life Sci 8-13-2004;75(13):1531-1538. View Abstract
  10. Li, Y. F., Yuan, L., Xu, Y. K., Yang, M., Zhao, Y. M., and Luo, Z. P. Antistress effect of oligosaccharides extracted from Morinda officinalis in mice and rats. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2001;22(12):1084-1088. View Abstract
  11. Qiao, Z. S., Wu, H., and Su, Z. W. [Comparison with the pharmacological actions of Morinda officinalis, Damnacanthus officinarum and Schisandra propinqua]. Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi 1991;11(7):415-7, 390. View Abstract
  12. Soon, Y. Y. and Tan, B. K. Evaluation of the hypoglycemic and anti-oxidant activities of Morinda officinalis in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Singapore Med J 2002;43(2):077-085. View Abstract
  13. Wu, Y. J., Shi, J., Qu, L. B., Li, F. F., Li, X. J., and Wu, Y. M. [Determination of antioxidation of the extract from Chinese medicine Morinda officinalis How by flow injection chemiluminescence and spectroscopy]. Guang.Pu.Xue.Yu Guang.Pu.Fen.Xi. 2006;26(9):1688-1691. View Abstract
  14. Zhang, H. L., Li, J., Li, G., Wang, D. M., Zhu, L. P., and Yang, D. P. Structural characterization and anti-fatigue activity of polysaccharides from the roots of Morinda officinalis. Int J Biol Macromol. 4-1-2009;44(3):257-261. View Abstract
  15. Zhang, Z. Q., Yuan, L., Yang, M., Luo, Z. P., and Zhao, Y. M. The effect of Morinda officinalis How, a Chinese traditional medicinal plant, on the DRL 72-s schedule in rats and the forced swimming test in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2002;72(1-2):39-43. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.