Wikipedia describes “Noni”–
“Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores….The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval and reaches 4-7 cm in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted….” (source)
Doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? No matter, for the enterprising individual. Package something attractively, and make a host of vauge, inflated claims incorporating buzzwords like “health,” or “natural” or “environment,” and you can sell damned near anything. Particularly in America.*
Which is exactly what the Noni-fruit millionaires did, creating a stench above and beyond the smell of the Noni fruit itself. The stench of “snake-oil cures” and those who promote them for vulgar profit.
The same exaggerated health claims which made the Noni millionaires were made about sarsaparilla in the late 19th century, but sarsparilla’s chief application at present is as the flavoring agent for sarsaparilla soda and, of course, root beer, which is made (the real stuff) from the roots of the sarsaparilla plant.
Panacea turned pop. That’s funny.