Mulberry is a term associated with a group of plants that are extensively used in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medications. The herb has been used in many clinical trials to study its benefits and potential side effects. Mulberry plants have different colored fruits such as white, red and black.
The fruits of Mulberry are used to make pies and teas. They are also used in alcoholic beverages. In the market, mulberry extracts are marketed in tablet and capsule forms. The wood of the White Mulberry plant is used to make tennis rackets and hockey sticks.
What is White Mulberry?
White Mulberry is botanically known as Morus Alba and it belongs to the Moreaceae family. Other common names of this herb are – Chinese White Mulberry, Mon tea, Moral Blanco, Morus Indica, Morin Chin Sang and Common Mulberry. White Mulberry is predominantly seen in China.
As an herb, White Mulberry is a small to medium sized shrub that can also be called a tree. The leaves of the herb are ovate and the flowers are small greenish in color. The fruits of the herb are white to pink in color.
How does it work?
The chemicals present in White Mulberry help in breaking down sugar component in the gut for easy absorption. For this reason, White Mulberry is used for treating type 2 diabetes. The herb has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, neuroprotective, adaptogenic and hypolipidemic actions in the human body. The following compounds were identified in White Mulberry – kuwanon G, Albanol A, Moracin M, steppogenin-4-O-β-D-glucoside and mulberroside A.
Following are the health benefits of White Mulberry:
The leaves of White Mulberry are used in the treatment of diabetes. In the market, powdered leaves of the herb are sold. The leaves of the herb can lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the roots of the herb are used to treat diabetes as well.
However, the leaves of White Mulberry are more popularly used for its antihyperglycemic activities. The herb has been studied extensively in laboratories using chronic diabetic rats. In a study, it was shown that taking the powdered extract of White Mulberry leaves for a period of four weeks could reduce the fasting blood sugar level by 27%.
The cholesterol lowering effects of White Mulberry were studied only in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. In a study, it was observed that the leaves of the herb could reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels by 12 and 23% respectively. The herbal leaves could also increase the HDL levels by eighteen percent. Another study using diabetic rats showed that the herb could restore the vascular reactivity in the animals.
The bark of the White Mulberry tree can be used to treat the following infectious conditions – sore throat, cold, cough, fever and wheezing.
Premature Grey Hair
In Traditional Chinese Medication, the fruits of the White Mulberry tree are used to reduce premature greying of hair.
The root bark of the White Mulberry tree has a compound known as Albanol A. This compound has been studied extensively for its promising actions against leukemia. Another glycosylated stilbenoid present in the herb has been studied for its actions against gout and hyperuricemia.The roots of the herb can also be used against stress. The leaves of White Mulberry when taken internally can help solve the following – constipation, edema, headache, red eye, nose bleeds, spasms, high BP and dizziness.
To solve issues related to diabetes and cholesterol, take one gram of the powdered herbal extract thrice daily.
The following side effects are associated with White Mulberry herbal supplementation:
The pollen from the Mulberry tree can bring out allergic reactions in those allergic to pollen grains. The sap and leaves of the White Mulberry may also lead to skin irritation in some. There are also reports of allergic reactions like wheezing, hives and swelling with the internal usage of mulberry based herbal products.
Mulberry is rich in potassium. Those with kidney problems often have excess potassium in their body. Therefore, taking mulberry based herbal products might complicate kidney issues in people suffering from kidney disorders.
It is not yet clear whether Mulberry can protect or destroy liver cells. However, one study using the tree bark of Mulberry found that the herb could lead to early liver cell death and liver damage.
Other Side Effects
Unripe Mulberry fruits may cause stomach problems and hallucination.
White Mulberry is a popular herbal plant, the leaves of which are most commonly used in herbal remedies. The fruits of the White Mulberry plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaf of the herb is most often eaten as a vegetable.
White Mulberry may interact with diabetes related medications.