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Bankoro noni.jpg
Fruits the bankoro tree


From the Republic of the Philippines
Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry

Morinda littoralis Blanco

Local names: Apatot (Ilk.); apatot-nga-basit (Ilk.); bangkudo (Bis., Tag.); bangkuro (C. Bis.); bankoro (Tag., Mag.); bankuro (Tagb.); bankuru (Tag.); galongog (Sub.); lino (Bis., Tag.); nino (Sul., Tag., Bis.); rukurok (Kuy.); taeng-aso (Tag.); tumbong-aso (Tag.); Indian mulberry (Engl.).

Bankoro is found chiefly along or near the seashore throughout the Philippines. It also occurs in India to Polynesia.

This is an erect, smooth shrub or small tree 3 to 10 meters in height. The leaves are broadly elliptic to oblong, 12 to 25 centimeters long, and pointed or blunt at the tip. The peduncles are leaf-opposed, solitary, and 1 to 3 centimeters long. The flowers are not bracteolate and form dense, ovoid, or rounded heads, and are 1 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter. The calyx is truncate. The corolla is white and about 1 centimeter long; the limb is 5-lobed and 1 centimeter in diameter. The fruit is fleshy, white or greenish-white, ovoid, and 3 to 10 centimeters in length.

According to Burkill the fruit, which smells like decaying cheese, is eaten in Indo-China with salt. The bark of the roots is used for cleansing the hair and sometimes for cleaning iron and steel. The tree is used in Malaya and Siam as a support for pepper plants. Heyne says that the young leaves may serve as a vegetable in Java.

Wehmer records that the root0bark contains a crystal glucoside, morindine (C27H10O15), and coloring-matter, morindine. The fruit contains volatile oil (morinda oil). Wehmer quotes Van Romburh, who distilled a chemically curious volatile oil from the fruit containing 90 per cent of n-capron and n-capryl acids, and also paraffin, fatty acid, ethyl-alcohol, etc. Guerrero states that in the Philippines the fruit is used as an emmenagogue. The leaves, when fresh, are applied ulcers to effect a rapid cure. The sap of the leaves is anti-arthritic.

According to Nadkarni the roots are used in India as a cathartic. Ridley, calls a decoction of the bark a coarse, strong astringent and adds that it is used by the Malaya for ague. Dewere writes that in the Congo the bark is reputed to be a febrifuge because of the presence of morindine. Degener states that the leaves and bark of the stem are pounded, cooked, and strained. This liquid is then drunks a tonic. It is a reputed medicine against tuberculosis in Hawaii. Burkill and Haniff state that it is not uncommon throughout the Malaysia to heat and apply the leaves to the chest or to the abdomen for coughs, enlarged spleen, nausea, colic, and fever. Nadkarni, Dymock, Crevost and Petelot, and Dey regard the leaves as deobstruent and emmenagogue in Indo-China. Dymock adds that in Bombay the leaves are used as a healing application to wounds and ulcers and are administered internally as a tonic and febrifuge. Nadkarni adds that the charred leaves made into a decoction with a little mustard are said to be a remedy for infantile diarrhea; with aromatics, the decoction is given in dysentery. The expressed juice of the leaves is applied to relieve pain in gout.

According to Burkill the over-ripe fruit is used as an emmenagogue both in Malaya and in Cochin-China. Gimlette and Burkill state that the juice is recommended for leucorrhoea and sapraemia. It is also recommended by Rumpf for dysuria, and the fruit for diabetes. Heyne reports that the fruit is sometimes used internally in various preparations for swollen spleen, liver diseases, beriberi, hemorrhage, and coughs. Ochse says that in Java the seeds are removed from the ripe fruit; the pulp is mashed with sugar; and the mixture is drunk as a slightly laxative preparation. Degener says that the over-ripe fruit is used also as a poultice and in treating diseases of the kidney. Nadkarni remarks that in India, the fruit is also used as an emmenagogue and a deobstruent. The unripe berries, charred and mixed with salt, are applied successfully to spongy gums. The juice of the fruit made into a syrup and used as a gargle relieves sore throat.

Photo Gallery of Bankoro or Noni