Morus alba, commonly known as white mulberry is a fast growing medium sized mulberry tree which reaches up to 20 meters tall. Native to Northern China the species is also cultivated in North America, Mexico, and Australia. White mulberry is sweet, but does not have the intense distinct flavor of the red and black mulberry varieties (1). Though a fruiting plant it is most commonly used for the healing compounds found mostly in its leaves and roots.
Cultivation of white mulberry began over 4 thousand years ago in China as a food supply for silkworms, since then it has been used for many other things. Traditional Chinese medicine used parts of the plant to tonify the blood, treat constipation, treat premature grey hair and constipation (2). Usage of white mulberry has been included in historical documents since 659 AD.
The leaves of white mulberry contain several antioxidants including quercetin, as well as polysaccharides and other beneficial compounds like 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ). Antioxidant compounds are found in the leaves and roots of mulberry, these compounds have free radical scavenging properties. Free radicals are believed to be responsible for a wide variety of diseases. Mulberry leaf naturally contains high levels of DNJ a chemical, shown in studies to reduce fat in the blood present in people with hyperlipidemia (3). Furthermore, polysaccharides in white mulberry leaf act similar to prescriptions used for treating diabetes and studies on mulberry and these chemical compounds have shown promising results.
Mulberry is used in Asia as a clinical treatment for diabetes type 2 and clinical studies reflect the merit of this treatment. In one study the powdered leaves of white mulberry seemed to cause the blood sugar levels to drop in people with type 2 diabetes. Over the 4 week period participants that took the supplement everyday saw a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels to the tune of 27% compared to the lesser 7% reduction caused by the medication, glyburide (4). Other studies have shown similar results.
Not only does it have a long history of use, Mulberry is backed by several credible studies that have reflected these healing abilities. Mulberry leaf tea is a very enjoyable and easy way to implement the healing qualities of the herb, try some today!
1. “Morus alba.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2017, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
2. “White Mulberry Uses, Benefits & Dosage – Drugs.Com Herbal Database.” , Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
3. Kojima, Yoshihiro, et al. “Effects of Mulberry Leaf Extract Rich in 1-Deoxynojirimycin on Blood Lipid Profiles in Humans.” Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, The Society for Free Radical Research Japan, Sept. 2010, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
4. “WHITE MULBERRY: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings.” WebMD, WebMD, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.