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Re: [IP] noni juice <long>

At 05:36 PM 4/20/2001 email @ redacted wrote:
 >I have heard many things that noni juice is good for, my mom used to 
drink it
 >to help her arthritis.  Don't know about the effects on D though, but I 
 >like to know if anyone finds out anything about it!

Hearing things that something is good for and having this scientifically 
demonstrated are two different things. See below for more information.


>1) Tahitian Noni Juice is just the latest in a long history of snake oil 
>remedies. This movement, like those before it, has all of the features of 
>a quack remedy with a contemporary flavor. I will review the 
>characteristic features of the marketing of such quack remedies and 
>indicate for each characteristic how the Noni-juice phenomenon fits the 
>mold exactly. 1) Reliance upon testimonials rather than clinical research: 
>Testimonials are the bread and butter of snake oil salesmen. Skeptics and 
>scientists place little value in such testimonials because they do not 
>control for the natural history of disease or the placebo effect, among 
>other such factors. The Noni-juice literature is filled with such 
>testimonials, mostly with vague claims about improved health and vigor and 
>increased energy.
>One Noni website even admits that one purpose of the testimonial is to 
>evade FDA regulations about unsubstantiated health claims: "The FDAlikes 
>us to be careful what we say about health products so that we don't 
>inadvertently make misleading health claims. So rather than telling you 
>what we noticed, I have included here an official fact sheet from Morinda 
>called Tahitian Noni Testimonials." - from Tahitian Noni Home Page
>2) Vague use of the term "natural," conveying a mystical belief in its 
>virtue: The modern herbalism movement plays upon people's fear of toxins, 
>chemicals, and all things unnatural, without ever clearly defining these 
>terms. They have fostered the notion that all things natural must 
>therefore be good and healthy. Most natural plants are in fact poisonous, 
>whereas all foods contain naturally occurring "chemicals," by any possible 
>definition of the term. The Noni fruit literature proclaims it is a 
>"natural fruit juice," and that "The noni plant flourishes in the lush and 
>unspoiled islands of French Polynesia, harvested by native folk."
>3) Based upon special knowledge: Snake oil remedies are often also spouted 
>as being, paradoxically, either a product of the latest cutting edge 
>technology, or ancient time-honored wisdom, and sometimes even both 
>simultaneously. Noni fruit literature also plays upon both of these 
>perceived virtues, proclaiming the juice to have "been used for 2000 
>years."The same literature goes on to say that "researchers have 
>discovered scientifically what the traditional Polynesian healers have 
>always known."
>4) Vague reference to scientific research coupled with unsubstantiated 
>interpretations or extrapolations from basic science research: Phrases 
>like "studies have shown," or "scientific research indicates"are 
>frequently found among such health fad literature. Actual studies are 
>rarely properly referenced. When they are, they typically refer to 
>preliminary basic research concerning small details of the molecular 
>properties of the substance in question, followed by wild speculations 
>about the ultimate clinical implications of this research. Never are there 
>blinded clinical studies demonstrating real health benefits of the alleged 
>remedy. Here again, Noni fruit falls right in line. The literature 
>contains a great deal of reference to Dr. Ralph Heinicke whose research 
>has allegedly discovered the "active ingredient" in Noni-fruit, a newly 
>discovered alkaloid which he named xeronine. Although his research has not 
>even progressed beyond the mere identification of the molecule (Dr. 
>Heinicke himself writes: "Many years of research are still required to 
>demonstrate convincingly how xeronine functions at the molecular level in 
>a cell.") he feels free to speculate about the pharmacological effects of 
>xeronine and their ultimate health implications.
>What must be recognized is that, due to the complexity of mammalian 
>biochemistry and physiology, it is impossible to speculate with any 
>confidence about the ultimate effects of a newly discovered molecule on 
>overall health,or even a particular disease process. For example, many 
>hundreds of candidate drugs identified as promising based upon basic 
>science research are studied for every one that ultimately proves 
>clinically useful.
>5) Exaggerated health claims: Snake oil hype often both exaggerates the 
>impact of the particular substance on overall health and claims that the 
>remedy is good for a wide range of health problems. Such claims should 
>always be met with high levels of skepticism, for it is very unlikely that 
>a single substance could benefit many different diseases with varying and 
>different causes. Dr. Heinicke claims for Noni fruit that it is good for 
>"high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, arthritis, gastric ulcers, 
>sprains, injuries, mental depression, senility, poor digestion, 
>atherosclerosis, blood vessel problems, addiction, relief for pain and 
>many others."Testimonials broaden these claims, adding that Noni fruit 
>juice gives energy, provides longevity, and even treats cancer, among 
>other claims. This should be a very familiar list of diseases to anyone 
>familiar with snake oil literature.The same claims are made for honey bee 
>products, DHEA, ozone therapy, chelation therapy, and most other 
>alternative health cures. Other Noni literature exclaims, in typical 
>prose, that "Noni is one of the most important natural health discoveries 
>in recent decades."
>6) Multi-level marketing: Many snake-oil products are now being sold 
>through multi-level marketing, which is a scheme in and of itself.Such 
>companies are organized in a pyramid fashion, with revenues trickling up 
>the pyramid to the few at the top. In order for those in the lower tiers 
>to make money they would have to sponsor even lower tier salesman, 
>requiring a geometric increase that quickly saturates the market, imposing 
>ultimate limits. Another benefit of multi-level marketing is that 
>customers, converted by the propaganda and testimonials, and their own 
>anecdotal experience, to the virtues of the product, become zealous and 
>sincere salesmen. As ever more customers become salesmen, lured by the 
>promise of easy profits, and a genuine desire to spread the news of what 
>they perceive as an amazing discovery, money flows to the top of the 
>pyramid. Noni once again fits the mold. The Morinda corporation, the major 
>marketer of Noni fruit juice, is a multi-level marketing company. Their 
>literature promises "Tahitian Noni is a network marketing product from 
>Morinda which provides an outstanding opportunity to have your own 
>business as an Independent Morinda distributor." As a distributor you can 
>purchase Noni fruit juice by the case, at $120 dollars for four 32 oz 
>bottles. You can then sell these at the going rate of $40 a bottle, or 
>$160 dollars a case. If you are lucky, you may just be able to pay for 
>your own habit.

source: http://www.theness.com/altmed.html
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