Mauritius: The Noni Fruit or ‘Bois Tortue’
Along the beach in Albion, the one that leads to the lighthouse and where rocks and pebbles entangle, I noticed several shrubs growing wild, their size ranging from 3 to 8 meters. From their scientific name Morinda Citrifolia or Nonis, these plants originate from Asia or Australia.
Tirolo, an elderly man, fisherman by profession, who was sitting close to one of them explained the following: these are sessile and compact flowers, and the shrub produces a fruit whose skin looks like a turtle shell and which gives off a quite unpleasant smell. Initially of green color, it turns transparent upon reaching maturity. Traditionally, all parts of this plant are used: leaves, brambles, barks, flowers and fruits.
Over 40 traditional remedies are manufactured around the world. Slightly oiled and heated, the leaf is used to treat body pain and rheumatism. Tirolo has himself made decoctions to use as an antidote against poisonous fish.
The ability of the Noni to adapt is extraordinary at ground level, as it can grow in coral sand, like it does over here in Albion, on volcanic basalt, near brackish water ponds or even in spots with high salinity level.
Noni in Mauritius is in great demand. It is part of this category of plants that we should consider replanting to enjoy its benefits, as Nature here grants us with its best smile.