Key Historic Figures

Dr. Ralph Heineke

In 1936, Ralph Heineke graduated from Cornell University with a particular interest in plant physiology. He later received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. In 1950, Heineke moved to Hawaii to work for the Dole Pineapple Company.

While in Hawaii, Dr. Heineke became interested in the health benefits of noni. He is often considered the father of Western noni scientific research, contributing greatly to our understanding of the many ways noni fruit promotes good health.

In 1953, based on his work with noni, Heineke received a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for xeronine as a new alkaloid.

John J. Wadsworth

John Wadsworth is known as the father of the superfoods movement. His career has spanned from food scientist and top-tier corporate executive to a disruptive innovator in the food supplement industry.

In 1994 Wadsworth introduced the world to noni and the idea of superfoods. John discovered noni in the Tahitian islands, researched and experienced firsthand the fruit’s amazing properties, and introduced its benefits to the world in both juice and supplement form. Since then, the idea of superfoods has taken off and many others have followed in his footsteps.

Dr. Afa Palu

Afa Palu earned a pre-medical degree from BYU Hawaii with an emphasis in Chemistry and went on to earn a master and PhD from BYU in Botany with an emphasis in Plant Molecular Genetics and Educational Leadership and Administration. Palu’s work as a health advisor helped Pacific islanders learn to reduce diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

Palu’s research into the molecular, chemical and biological benefits of the noni plant on human health and development has contributed greatly to our understanding of how this plant aids in promoting good health for a variety of body systems.

Dr. Annie Hirazumi-Kim

Dr. Anne Hirazumi-Kim lives and works in Hawaii. She has been studying noni for over a decade. Dr. Hirazumi-Kim earned her bachelors degree with high honors in chemistry and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology the University of Hawaii in 1997. Dr. Hirazumi-Kim served at Leahi Hospital, studying the mechanism by which the noni fruit works in animals.

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