The root, leaves, bark and fruit of the white mulberry ( Morus alba ) are used in alternative medicine as a laxative and antiseptic, as well as to lower cholesterol levels and better control diabetes . Specifically in traditional Chinese medicine , white mulberry acts on the meridians of the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen, helping to treat everything from anemia and constipation to preventing colds, flu, cavities, and premature labor. gray hair.
This species of tree is native to China, but is widely cultivated in many parts of the world, including the United States, Mexico, Australia, Turkey, Iran, and Argentina. White mulberry is available as an oral supplement, tea, and powder.
Also know as
- Chinese mulberry
- Egyptian mulberry
- Monday tea
- Russian mulberry
- San Zhe (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
What is white mulberry used for?
Long used in herbal medicine, white mulberry is often touted as a natural remedy for a wide range of common and unusual conditions, including:
- Dental cavities (cavities)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Muscle and joint pain
- Throat pain
The white berry contains many compounds that are believed to have health effects. The fruit of the tree, for example, is rich in anthocyanins , a plant compound known to have antioxidant effects.
The bark and roots contain a powerful antibacterial compound known as Kuwanon G, which is unique to the white mulberry .
Whether these and other compounds have medicinal value is controversial. In truth, there is not much evidence to support the use of white mulberry in the treatment of any medical condition.
That said, there is growing evidence that whiteberry extracts can help treat certain metabolic and dental disorders.
Several animal studies show that white mulberry can help fight diabetes. These include a 2013 study published in the journal Experimental and Therapy Medicine , in which diabetic rats given varying doses of white mulberry anthocyanins experienced decreased blood glucose levels .
Interestingly, glucose normalization was better achieved with lower doses (125 milligrams per kilogram of body weight) than with higher doses (250 milligrams per kilogram of body weight). For reasons that are not fully understood, blackberry slows insulin production with little to no side effects or liver health effects.
A similar study, published in the journal Advances in Medical Sciences , reported that people who consumed skim milk with mulberry leaf extract had slower absorption of simple carbohydrates (sugars and starch) than people who received natural skim milk. This effect may explain how whiteberry extracts prevent blood sugar spikes after meals .
There is some evidence that blackberry can help control blood cholesterol levels. White mulberry leaf extract, taken three times a day before meals, reduces total cholesterol , triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol in 23 adults with dyslipidemia (abnormal blood lipids), according to a 2011 study published in Phytotherapy Research .
The effect was often progressive. For example, triglyceride levels fell from 10.2% at week 4 to 12.5% at week 8 and to 14.1% at week 12. At the end of the 12-week study, total cholesterol was reduced by an average of 4.9% and LDL cholesterol was reduced by 5.6%. %, and "good" HDL cholesterol increased by an impressive 19.7%.
Although the results were positive, they were limited by the fact that there was no control over the study (participants received a placebo , not white berry extract).
Similar results were seen in animal studies conducted in 2013, in which whiteberry extracts not only improved lipid and glucose levels, but also reduced body weight in obese mice fed a high-fat diet. This suggests that blackberry may also help treat obesity and metabolic syndrome .
Large-scale human studies are needed to confirm these results.
The antimicrobial effects of white mulberry may help prevent cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis , according to a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences .
Mulberry root extract is capable of suppressing a number of bacteria commonly associated with gum disease ( Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecalis ), the researchers said. It turned out that this did not happen by killing them, but by interfering with their replication cycle.
At higher concentrations, the extract was also able to suppress Candida albicans, a fungus associated with oral thrush and vaginal yeast infection.
The study findings were partially confirmed by a 2018 study published in the Journal of Biological Science , in which scientists from Thailand developed a chewing gum with white mulberry leaf extract .
According to the researchers, chewing gum has a strong antimicrobial effect against S. mutans (the main cause of cavities), reducing not only the number of bacteria, but also the acidity of saliva, which contributes to the destruction of tooth enamel. .
Selection, preparation and storage
White berries are commonly sold as an oral supplement or dried powder. They can be easily found online, in health food stores, or in specialty nutritional supplement stores. Whiteberry tea and tea bags are also available.
There are no recommendations for the correct medicinal use of white mulberry. As a general rule, never exceed the recommended dosage stated on the product label. This can increase the risk of side effects.
White mulberry powder can be mixed with milk, juice, yogurt, or protein shakes. Unsurprisingly, the fruit extract has a pleasant nectar flavor, while the root and leaf powders have a slightly bitter nutty flavor.
Food additives are not strictly regulated in the United States. To ensure quality and safety, choose products that are certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
While whiteberry supplements, powders, and teas can be safely stored at room temperature, discard any food that has expired or shows signs of spoilage or mold.
Possible side effects.
Little is known about the long-term safety of white mulberry. Side effects are common with higher doses and can include mild diarrhea, dizziness, constipation, and bloating. Allergies are rare but can occur.
Due to its effect on blood glucose levels, blackberry should be used with caution in people taking diabetes medications , including insulin. Combined use can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar ( hyperglycemia ), characterized by tremors, dizziness, sweating, fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.
The same can be applied to taking white berries along with medications used to treat high blood pressure. This combination can cause hypotension ; A rapid drop in blood pressure can cause fatigue, dizziness, clammy skin, blurred vision, nausea, and fainting.
To avoid interactions, tell your doctor about all the medications you take, whether they are prescription, over-the-counter, diet, herbal, or recreational.
The safety of white mulberry for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers has not been established. Given the lack of research, it is best for people in these groups to avoid whiteberry foods.
Is it okay to eat fresh white berries?
Yes. The white mulberry, harvested at the peak of maturity, is especially tasty. They are white to light purple in color and have a sweet honey flavor. Harvested berries have a short shelf life (three to five days) and are best kept loose in the refrigerator.
However, freshly harvested pieces of white mulberry should be avoided. Mulberry contains a milk juice called latex, which can cause an upset stomach when ingested or contact dermatitis when applied to the skin. This is especially true if you are allergic to latex. Even unripe white berries can cause an upset stomach, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.
Fresh (and dried) whiteberries can be purchased from specialized growers.